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Bird Watching Regions North Bengal and Sikkim

About the Trek

In addition to the myriad list of destinations for bird and butterfly watching in Sikkim, North Bengal also quite a few destinations to this list. Since both these places are located within a close proximity to each other, any such tours can be easily extended and equally enjoyed over the two states.

Given below are some of the most popular and scenic destination for bird and butterfly watching in Sikkim and North Bengal:

Sikkim

1. Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary :

Located in the lap of the gorgeous Singalila Range of Western Sikkim, the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a destination, where nature flourishes at its best. The verdant outlook and the untouched ambience of this sanctuary serves as a home to several species of birds.

To name a few, there are Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Parrotbills, Common Rosefinches, White-Browed Rosefinch, Kalij Pheasants, White Browed Shortwings, Lesser Browed Shortwings, Satyr Tragopan, Beautiful Fire-capped Tit and others.

2. Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary :

Located in the South Sikkim district in the state, this scenic sanctuary is around 65km from Gangtok and is one of the ideal destinations for bird and butterfly watching in Sikkim. Spreading around 35 square kilometre, this wildlife protected area is known for its rich and diverse flora and avifauna species.

While the fascinating height of the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary; around 17,00m, adds to its opulent beauty, the lower vicinity of the picturesque Rangit River valley attracts several species of birds and butterflies to this sanctuary. On a whole, it serves as the home to 200 different species of local and migratory birds.

Among all these species, the most Satyr Tragopan; one of the rare and endangered Pheasant species of Eastern Himalayas, is the major attraction. Adding more, there are other exotic and rare species like Fire-tailed Myzornis, Streaked Spiderhunter, Puff-throated Babbler and Great Sultan Tit.

Other commonly found species include Grey Treepie, Black Bulbul, Green Magpie, Farmhouse are the Great Himalayan Barbet, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon and several others. Along with these exotic birds and a fascinating range of butterflies, one can also spot Red Panda; also known as the ‘Firefox’ or the state animal of Sikkim, in the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary.

3. Yuksom, Khecheopalri and Pelling :

The captivating beauty and appeal of Yuksom, Khecheopalri and Pelling makes them three of the must to visit places in Sikkim. Located in the West Sikkim District, these three destinations, besides being the origin of several trekking routes in Sikkim, also serve as ideal bird and butterfly watching destinations throughout the state.

Well, each of these places has its own range of colourful and exotic bird species. In Yuksom, one can spot birds like Yeow-rumped Honey, Bulbul, Maroon Oriole, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Short Billed and Grey Chinned Mine Vets, Thrushes, Nuthatch, Crimson Breasted Woodpecker and several others.

The scenic Khecheopalri Lake in Khecheopalri village is known for its avifauna species like Black Necked Grebe, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Migrant Ducks, Blue Winged and Scaly Laughing Thrush, WhitenapedYuhina, Emerald Cuckoo, Baer’s Pchard and lot more.

Coming to Pelling, one can enjoy spotting some of the rarest species like Indian Cuckoo, Grey Headed and Bay Woodpecker, Striated Bulbul, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, Grey Sided and Greater Necklaced Laughing Thrush, Lesser Yellow Nape, Hoary Throated and Rusty Fronted Barwing, White throated Needletail, Black Eagle and several others.

4. Lachen, Thangu and Gurudongmar Lake :

Situated at a height of 2,750m above the sea level, Lachen (locally known as the ‘Big Paa’) is one of the most beautiful town in Sikkim. The gateway to the Chopta Valley and the scenic Gurudongmar Lake, this Sikkimese town is known for its pictorial beauty and rustic cultures. On the other hand, Thangu and Gurudongmar Lake are two of the closest destinations to Lachen; the latter being located at an astounding height of 17,800ft.

5. Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary:

Located around 30km from Gangtok and in the East Sikkim district, the FambongLho Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across 51 square kilometre and forms a part of the scenic Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim. It is one of such sanctuaries that has some of the quaint villages within its premises and serves as an ideal bird and butterfly watching destination in Sikkim.

On a tour to this magnificent sanctuary, you can easily spot and witness avifauna species like Rufous-Headed Hornbill, Hill Partridge, Black-Eared Shrike Babbler, Satyr Tragopan, Rusty-Fronted Barwing, Yellow-Browed Tit, Red-Headed Bullfinch, Fire-Tailed Myzornis, Scaly Laughingthrush, Crimson-Browed Finch, Chestnut-Crowned Warbler Bar-Throated Minla, Red-Tailed Minla, Streak-Breasted Scimitar Babbler and lot more.

6. Khangchendzonga National Park :

While talking about bird watching or butterfly tours in Sikkim, the Khangchendzonga National Park cannot be ignored at all! Home to avifauna species like Himalayan Cutia, Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Sarlet Finch, Blood pheasant, Snow Pigeon, Rufous-Backed Sibia along with several other local species can be sighted in this national park.

Moreover, since this park is located between the trekking trails of Yuksam and Dzongri, it attracts a large number of nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, nature photographers, bird and butterfly watchers from different parts of the world.

North Bengal

1. Lava – Neora Valley:

Two of the true paradise for the bird and butterfly watchers, the Lava and Neora Valley are located 1,600m and 2,700m. The semi-evergreen forests of these regions are ideal destinations, where one can have a glimpse of a myriad list avifauna species.

While some of these species are local to the regions, some visits during the favourable seasons only. On a usual tour to these two valleys, one can spot Crimosn-Breasted, Bay &Darjeeling Woodpeckers, Golden-Throated Barbet, Rufous-Throated Partridge, Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Black-Faced Warbler, &Laughingthrush, Chestnut-Crowned Warbler, White-Tailed Robin, Fire-Breasted Flowerpecker, Fire-Tailed Sunbird, Maroon-Backed Accentor, Yellow-Browed Tit, Brown Wood Owl, striated bulbul and several others.

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