The diversity of Bhutan’s avifauna is extraordinary. The wide range of altitudes make climactic conditions suitable to help support many species and biodiversity.
For a land-locked country of 38,394 sq. km (similar to the size of Switzerland), Bhutan has close to 800 species, almost equal to the combined population of 925 species found in all North America. At least 16 species are considered globally threatened and 10 fall within the restricted range according to Bird Life International.
The white-bellied heron is considered as one of the most critically endangered species of birds, and is listed as the rarest of the Heron species. It is so rare if fact, that Professor Peter Frederic PhD, a world-renowned heron expert at the University of Florida, USA had never seen this heron until his visit to Bhutan in 2006. The global population of herons is estimated to be 50 – 200; where Bhutan is believed to have 32. They can be seen along the Phochu and Mochu river basin in Punakha (western Bhutan) and around the Bertiand Mangdechu areas in Zhemgang (central Bhutan). Come and join us for Bhutan Birding Tours.
Another endangered species is the black-necked crane, endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, one of the 15 species of cranes in the
world, and was the last to be discovered. The black-necked cranes migrate to the lower altitudes in Bhutan during autumn and returns to Tibet before monsoon begins in the summer. During the cranes’ migration to Bhutan, they can be seen in Phobjikha in the west and Bumdeling in the east. As of December 2012, 369 cranes were found in Bhutan. Experience yourself and see the Birds of Bhutan by signing up with Bhutan Birding Tours.
The world birding community considers Bhutan one of the ultimate birding destinations in the world. Bhutan is home to a large number of other globally endangered bird species as well, such as the ward’s trogon, blyth’stragopan, Himalayan monal, beautiful nuthatch, chestnut-breasted partridge, rufous-necked hornbill, pallas’s fish eagle and wood snipe.
Among Bhutan’s famous birds is the satyr tragopan, which ranks as the 10th most colorful bird in the world. Another bird that delights the birders is the unusual ibisbill ranked as the 21st most colorful.
That short stretch forest in eastern Bhutan, between Sengor and Yongkola under Mongar Dzongkhag, is unofficially considered the “Birding Capital of the World.” Bhutan is perhaps the last ornithological paradise.