Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan kingdom and it is one of the 10th biological hotspots in the world. We are proud of the rich diversity in flora and fauna which is far greater than that of North America. This includes 700 species of birds some of which are exceedingly rare and on the verge of extinction. Bird lovers will increasingly agree that Bhutan is the birding capital of the Himalayas.Species on the verge of extinction include the Imperial Heron, the White Bellied Heron and the Black Necked Crane, which migrates to the warmer valleys of Bhutan in winter from the Tibetan Plateau. Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Grey Bellied Tragopan, Satyr Tragopan, Yellow Rumped Honey guide, Grey Crowned Prinia, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Chestnut Breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Kingfisher and Rufous Necked Hornbill are some of the endangered bird species that breed in Bhutan.
With four distinct seasons, birds in Bhutan vary from all year residents to breeding birds to migrant bird. Winter migrants are about 50 which include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings. Cuckoos, flycatchers, swifts and bee-eaters are partial migrants.
Violet Cuckoos and Wild Jungle Fowl are quite common. Occasionally, you can see the Great Pied Hornbill with its bright yellow and black casque (helmet) on top of its massive beak. Some other species are waterfowl and wading birds, song birds, game birds and swift.
DAY 01: Arrive Paro
Pinehill Bhutan Travels tour guide will receive you at the Paro airport and drive you to your hotel. In the afternoon you will visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) and Ta Dzong (national museum). In the evening, stroll along the Paro River and spot some river birds. Overnight in Paro.
DAY 02: Paro
The day starts with a drive to Chele la, the highest road mountain pass in the country, and later to Drugyel Dzong to the north of Paro valley.
The birds that commonly flock these are Common Sandpiper, Crested Kingfisher, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, , Grey Wagtail, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Kalij Pheasant, Ibisbill, , White Wagtail, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Spotted Nutcracker, Yellow-browed Tit, Black Eagle, Himalayan Buzzard Grey-crested Tit, Rufous-fronted Tit, Common Hoopoe, Nepal House Martin Black-throated Tit, Plumbeous Water Redstart,Brown Dipper, White-capped Water Redstart, Crested Serpent Eagle etc. Overnight in Paro.
DAY 03: Paro – Punakha (125 km)
You drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s old capital passing through some of the kingdom’s most fertile river valleys. The first stop is at Dochu La (pass) at 3,050 meters which is another marvelous spot. On a clear day, the snow-capped eastern Himalayan range can be seen from here. The 108 stupas of the Druk Wangyal Chorten is perhaps the highlight of the area.
In Punakha and Wangduephodrang valleys, birds commonly spotted are Collared Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Himalayan Cutia, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Golden-breasted Fulvetta, White-browed Fulvetta, White-browed Bush Robin, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Brown Bullfinch, Red-headed Bullfinch, Chestnut-tailed Minla (Bar-throated Siva), Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Plain Mountain Finch, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, Black-throated Parrotbill, Himalayan Bluetail, Little Bunting, White-bellied Heron, Spotted Nutcracker, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Slaty-backed Forktail, Spotted Forktail, Eurasian Jay, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Streaked-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Common Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Crested Kingfisher, Grey Treepie etc. Call the day off at a hotel in Punakha.
DAY 04: Birding in Punakha – Gasa
The Punakha to Gasa trail is exciting. Along the route, you will see White-bellied Heron, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Black-throated Yuhina, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Striped-throated Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Jungle Owlet, Asian-barred Owlet, Osprey, Lesser Fish Eagle, Great Cormorant, Black-throated Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, Grey-bellied Tesia, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Straited Yuhina, Scarlet Minivet, Long-tailed Minivet, Grey-chinned Minivet, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, , Bay Woodpecker, Chestnut-headed Tesia and Slaty-bellied Tesia.
Some other species are Asian Koel, Grey-hooded Warbler, Large Niltava, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Buff-barred Warbler, Small Niltava, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Great Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Golden-spectacled Warbler, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Yellow-bellied Fantail, White-throated Fantail, Lesser Shortwing, Himalayan Cutia, Green Shrike-babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Spotted Wren Babbler, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Speckled Piculet, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-tailed Nuthatch, Maroon Oriole, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Hoary-throated Barwing, Blue-fronted Robin and Pygmy Wren Babbler. Overnight stay in Punakha.
DAY 05: Punakha – Gangtey/ Phobjikha (70 km)
The journey starts from Punakha towards Phobjikha through the black mountain region. The Phobjikha valley hosts the nesting ground for the endangered Black-necked Crane in winter.
Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan. The valley houses beautiful bird species like Great Parrotbill, Alpine Accentor, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Green-tailed Sunbird, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Scaly Thrush, Tickell’s Thrush, Fire-capped Tit, Amur falcon, Ward’s Trogon, Blue Rock Thrush, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Scarlet Finch, White-tailed Nuthatch, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Red-headed Bullfinch etc. Overnight stay in hotel, Phobjikha.
DAY 06: Phobjikha – Thimphu (130 km)
Start the day by visiting the crane observation and information centre. Then drive back to Thimphu. On the way, at Pelela (3,300 m) you will see the Great Parrotbill, Himalayan Griffon, Brown Parrotbill, Himalayan Monal and Spotted Laughingthrush.
The lunch spot is at the magnificent Dochula pass. Upon reaching Thimphu, take a stroll around the city. Overnight in Thimphu.
DAY 07: Departure
Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We hope to serve you again with our other exciting tour packages in the future.