Birding Tour in Bhutan

Bhutan Birding Tour

Nestling in the heart of the Himalayas and protected by a complex geography of high mountains and deep valleys, Bhutan is certainly one of the most mysterious countries in the world (Dompnier,1999). The intriguing yet profound tale of the transformation of this traditional kingdom, without losing out on its traditional normsand values while embarking on a modern course of development in the last half a century has been both a story of sustainable and progressive development in harmony with its natural environment.Small and landlocked, to the north lies the great Tibetan plateauand to the south, the tropical Indian plains and jungles.Today, the proportion of land under forest cover is 72.5%, including shrub forest (2008). The need to live in harmony with ratherthan against nature has never been illustrated better. When GlobalWarming is now an accepted universal “Inconvenient Truth,” the need to preserve, conserve and respect the air we breathe. Bhutan is considered a Birding paradise for BIRD Lovers.

Bhutan Birding Tour Facts

  • Tour Duration: 12 Days
  • Tour Guide: Professional Birding Guide
  • Meals: All Inclusive
  • Trip Type: Birding and Cultural.
  • Transport: Private Tour
  • Hotel Type: 3 Star Premium

Bhutan Birding Tour Cost

  • Tour Cost Per Person for a Solo traveler  would be US$ 3890 PP
  • Tour Cost in twin sharing basis is US$ 3520.00
  • Tour Cost above 2 pax would be US$ 3190.00 Per Person

Bhutan Birding Tour Highlight

  • Find Satyr Tragopan at Dochula Pass.
  • Explore the Cultures of Bhutan.
  • Enjoy the best of Farm House visits.
  • Enjoy the amazing mountain Flights.
  • Bhutan is home to 26 endangered birds.

Bhutan Birding Festival from 13 to 15 November 2023

Don’t miss this birding festival in the Birding hub of Zhemgang. The festival will feature bird watching hikes, local cuisine, fly fishing and river rafting among others.

Bhutan Birds for bird watching tour in Bhutan
Photo Courtesy RSPN BHUTAN

Bhutan Birding Tour Itinerary

Day 01 Arrival at Paro International Airport

Your Guide from Tour will receive you at the airport and brief you about the program. Paro is one of the beautiful wide valley in western Bhutan with lots of modern development. It is the only International airport in the country.

Day 02: Thimphu Tour

Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan with lots of touristic places to explore. It lies at an altitude of 2300m above sea level. Thimphu has population of about 100000 from all walks of life. All major offices in Bhutan is located in Thimphu. Your day begins with visit to national memorial chorten built in 1974 in memory of 3rd King of Bhutan. The chorten is just 10 minutes drive from main Thimphu city. You could see many locals circumbulating the monastery, it is believed that more you circumbulate more your sins are forgiven. You can also visit the simply Bhutan museam just 10 minutes drive from the chorten. The museam offers the live local dance and music with local whisky. The museam also offers you to experience the chance to shoot archery the national game of Bhutan. After lunch visit Largest Bhudha Statue over looking Thimphu valley. Car will be parked below the steps. You need to climb 282 steps before reaching the huge statue. Most of the artifacts are painted in gold color. You can also visit inside the temple. Evening on your own.Over night in Hotel.

Day 03 Thimphu Bird Watching Begins

Your Bird watching tours begins in Thimphu. It is 45 minutes drive from main city to the forests above Dodina (2575m) below Cheri Lhakhang on the trail towards Shodu, Thimphu Valley (Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park). You can see the Oak forests in Noethern Thimphu where Spotted Laughing thrush, Fire-capped Tit, and Yellow-bellied Flower picker thrives. Back to Hotel in the evening.
Zhemgang Birding Festival
Photo Courtesy: RSPN BHUTAN

Day 04 Thimphu to Punakha

Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. Dochula offers the grandest 360degree view of 10 popular Mountain Ranges. There is also hiking routes which explore the mountains of Dochula. Further drive down to the valley visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “ Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. Lunch at Punakha.Bird Watching at Mo Chhu Valley and Rimchu to the Jigme Dorji National Park:Here warm broad leaf forests are the habitat of the rare Whitebellied Heron, White-gorgoted Flycatcher and the Yellow-ventedWarbler. Best times are November to early May.

Day 05 Birding at Wangdiphodrang(Mo Chhu Valley to Wangduephodrang (1300m)

The river just north of Wangduephodrang is an excellent area for
water fowl and migratory birds like the Bar-headed Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, and the rare White Bellied Heron and Common Kingfisher. Evening at Hotel.

Day 06 Wangdiphodrang to Damji(Damji to Gasa (1700m / 2430m - 1-day trek):

Damji is 2 hours drive from Punakha. The place is covered with warm broadleaf forests and home to the Black-tailed Crake and the Grey-sided Laughing Thrush. Evening at Camping in Damji.

Day 07 Damji to Punakha and Gangtey

Home to the endangered Black Necked Crane. The ideal time for viewing is mid to late November during the Thrung Thrung Karma festival which honors the revered birds.

Day 08 Gangtey to Trongsa

Habitat Fir, Rhododendron and Bamboo forests come full bloom in April to May where Brown and Green Parrotbills, Marron-backed Accentor reside visibly. Isisbills and migrant birds flock home to the broad-fields and river areas during March – May and October – November.

Day 09 Trongsa to Bumthang Sightseeing (Forested Road over the Pele La Pass (3390m)

Tour the unique central Bhutan. Bumthang is home to some of the Kingdoms most ancient and preciouys Buddhist sites. The distrcict is divided into four blocks of Chhokor, Chhume, Tang and Ura. The elevation of Bumthang starts from 2400M to 6000 meters. The famouse place to visit during Bumthang tour the Magnificient Jakar Dzong Castle of white bird built in 1677 and 6th century Jampa Lhakhang.

Day 10 Bumthang To Batpalathang Domestic Airport to Paro

After early breakfast drive to the domestic airport from your Hotel. Batpalathang to Paro airport is just about 25 minutes flight.

Day 11 Paro Tiger Nest Hike

Hike the most iconic temple of Bhutan. The temple received more than a thousand guests every day. Also, find more about Paro

Day 12 Paro airport see off

Today we bid farewell to our guest from Paro airport. Our guide and driver will assist you and see you off.

Notes for the Travellers

Before embarking on your birding tour, it is advisable to check the latest travel advisories and consult with a reputable tour operator who specializes in birdwatching tours in Bhutan. They can assist in creating a customized itinerary based on your preferences and provide insights on logistics, accommodations, permits, and other essential aspects of your trip.

Talk to our Our Experts

What to Bring for Birding Tour?

Best Time to Visit Bhutan for Birding Tour

The prime time for birdwatching in Bhutan is during the spring and autumn seasons. The months of March to May and September to November are generally recommended as the best times to spot a wide variety of bird species. During these periods, many migratory birds pass through or settle in Bhutan.

Popular Birding Sights

Bhutan has numerous birding sites that offer exceptional opportunities for birdwatching. Some of the popular sites include:

  • Phobjikha Valley: Located in central Bhutan, this valley is home to the endangered Black-necked Crane and various other bird species.
  • Dochu La Pass: Situated at an elevation of 3,150 meters, this mountain pass is known for its stunning views and bird diversity, including several species of colourful pheasants.
  • Jigme Dorji National Park: The largest national park in Bhutan, it is home to an array of bird species, including the Rufous-necked Hornbill and Satyr Tragopan.
  • Tingtibi-Tali Area: This area in central Bhutan is renowned for its diverse avifauna, including the critically endangered White-bellied Heron.
  • Zhemgang: Located in central Bhutan, Zhemgang offers a chance to spot the rare and elusive Beautiful Nuthatch, as well as other sought-after species like the Ward’s Trogon.

Guided Tours and Local Expertise

Hiring a local birding guide is highly recommended for an enriching experience. Local guides possess in-depth knowledge about the birds, their habitats, and can help you spot and identify various species. They also ensure compliance with local regulations and contribute to the conservation efforts.

Conservation and Etiquette

Bhutan takes conservation seriously, and visitors are expected to adhere to certain guidelines to protect the natural environment. These include avoiding littering, staying on designated trails, and respecting the wildlife and their habitats. It’s also essential to maintain a respectful distance from the birds and refrain from disturbing them.

Cultural Exploration

Bhutan is not only a birding paradise but also a culturally rich destination. Consider exploring Bhutan’s unique traditions, ancient monasteries, and vibrant festivals, such as the famous Paro Tshechu, which can enhance your overall experience.

What is Included in the Cost?

What is Excluded in the Cost?

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26 Endangered Birds found in Bhutan

1. Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri)

2. Black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

3. Sikkim wedge-billed babbler (Sphenocichla humei)

4. Blyth’s kingfisher (Alcedo Hercules)

5. Chestnut-breasted partridge (Arborophila mandellii)

6. Dark-rumped swift (Apus acuticauda

7. Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata

8. Eurasian peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

9. Beautiful nuthatch (Sitta formosa)

10. Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca)

11. Grey-crowned prinia (Prinia cinereocapilla

12. Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis

13. Lesser fish-eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis)

14. Palla’s fish-eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus)  

15. Pallid harrier (Circus macrurus)  

16. Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis

17. Rufous-throated wren-babbler (Spelaeornis caudatus

18. Satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra)  

19. Ward’s trogon (Harpactes wardi)  

20. White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis

21. White-throated bushchat (Saxicola insignis

22. Wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola)

23. Yellow-rumped honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus

24. Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis

25. White-bellied heron (Ardea insignis)  

26. Blackish-breasted babbler (Stachyris humei)