Bird Watching

Sikkim is considered as a hot spot for the biodiversity in the Himalayan region.

Sikkim is rich in fauna and it’s considered as a paradise for the bird watcher. Its population extends to almost to 550 species. The climate varies from the tropical heat of the valley to the alpine cold of the Himalayan region. The altitudinal zone of vegetation from tropical, sub tropical, temperate to alpine. In some places only 10 to 15 km in direct line separate the warm valley from perpetual snow. The telescoping of terrain has created marked altitudinal zonation in the humidity, rainfall, climate and vegetation. This factor is responsible for the great variety and abundance of the resident bird life, making this area arguably one of the richest area of its size in anywhere in the world.

West Sikkim offers great birding opportunities. Barsey, located at 3300m, on a massive ridge covered with protected forests of Silver Fir, hemlocks, magnolia, and Rhododendrons is one of the best birding areas in Sikkim.



Around Pemayangste and the nearby village of Pelling there are several excellent birding sites and hikes. Some important species like the Maroon-Backed Accentor, Red-faced Liocichla etc are found around these forests.
The Khecheopheri Lake hosts migrant ducks and occasionally some rare species such as Black-necked Crane, Black-tailed Crane and many others.
For those who are enthusiastic about trekking in the high Himalayas, the best way to see higher altitude birds is to take the 10 day Dzongri Trek. Some of the birds seen on this trip are Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Brown Parotbill, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Cutia, Sapphire flycatcher, White browned Bush Robin, Grandala, Rufous - breasted Accentors, White winged and collared Grosbeaks, Spot-winged Rosefinch.




In South Sikkim is the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary starts from 2000m, with a sub-tropical forest, gradually taken over by moist temperate forest at around 2500-3000m and then sub-alpine conifer forests at altitude higher than 3000m. Rabongla to Maenam top is about 12km and a further 1km trek will take one to Bhaledhunga, a cockscomb shaped stone. Important birds in this trek include Satyr Tragopan, Kalij pheasant, rusty-bellied Shortwing, Minivet, Yuhina, flycatchers etc.


Tholung Valley, in North Sikkim is also a treasure house of birds. It is located in the shadow of the 6888 meters high Siniolchu, and the 5200 meters Lamo Anden, this is virtually an uninhabited valley. Over 67 species were recorded in this region from Little Cormorant, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Common Kestrel, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant, Spotted Dove, Grey Headed Parakeet, White Rumped Needletail, Himalyan Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Lesser Yellownape, Black Drongo, Long tailed Shrike and more.