Bird Watching

Bhutan is a paradise for the Bird watchers. On the world scale, the country is recognized as forming the major part of an area of especially high biological diversity known as the Eastern Himalayan ' Hot spot'. Over 580 bird species have been recorded in Bhutan so far and many more species are likely to occur. This is a large number for the size of the country.

There are ten bird species in Bhutan, which have been identified as globally threatened by Bird life International. These include the Black-necked Crane, one of the World's rarest and least known cranes, which traditionally winters in Bhutan, the Rufous-necked Hornbill, Blyth's Tragopan, Blyth's King fisher, Ward's Trogon, chestnut breasted Partridge, white bellied Heron, Wood snipe and Pallas's Fish Eagle. In addition, Bhutan is also home to winter visitors which breed farther north, such as migrant thrushes and for many breeding summer migrants including cuckoos and flycatchers. Most of Bhutan's resident birds are Altitudinal migrants, which move up and down the mountains depending on the season and weather conditions.

Bhutan may also be internationally important for 114 species, which may have significant breeding population in the country. These birds have breeding ranges, which are restricted to an area encompassing the Himalayas, northeast India, northern south East Asia and southwest china.


15 Days Bird Watching Tour

Day 01: Arrival at Paro. Transfer to hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Paro.
Day 03: Drugyel Dzong to Sharna Zampa (6 hours trek) Altitude: 2,870 meters.
Day 04: Sarna Zampa to Thangthangka (7 hours trek) Altitudde: 3,630 meters.
Day 05: Thangthangka to Jangothang (6 hours trek) Altitude: 4,090 meters.
Day 06: Acclimatization and exploration in Jangothang.
Day 07: Jangothang to Dhumzo (7 hours trek) Altitude: 3,800 meters.
Day 08: Dhumzo to Thombu Shong (5 hours trek) Altitude: 4,180 meters
Day 09: Thombu Shong to Sarna Zampa (5 hours trek) Altitude: 2,870 meters.
Day 10: Sarna Zampa to Drugyel Dzong. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Paro to Thimphu. Thimphu sightseeing.
Day 12: Thimphu > Punakha > Wangdi
Day 13: Wangdi to Gangtey.
Day 14: Gangtey to Paro.
Day 15: Paro departure.

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Annual black necked crane festival

Bhutan is an important wintering ground for the stately Black necked cranes, one of the world's most threatened cranes. Each year, Phobjikha valley plays host to more than 230 threatened cranes adding another precious intrinsic value to its rich bio-diversity. It is now a known feature that the cranes fly every year to Bhutan around the 3rd week of October. The local folks with the onset of winter having minimum work mark the arrival of the thrung thrung in the valley as a time for leisure. They stay in the valley until around the first week of March foraging for bamboo tuber, insects, grains, etc. The number of these black necked cranes is declining every year. This is because of the drainage of their marshy habitat in some places and recent changes in traditional farming methods which have resulted in reduced availability of food for the cranes and partly because of the threats in their breeding areas. Total protection is given to the cranes in Bhutan and there are wardens at their main wintering areas in Phobjikha valley and at Bumdiling. The Royal Government has ensured that the cranes are undisturbed in Bhutan. The Back necked crane is important in local folklore and there are myths, legends and songs about the bird. The cranes are famous for their spectacular and beautiful dances in which they bow, leap into air and toss vegetation about whilst uttering loud bugling calls.

The Black Necked Crane Festival is held every year in the month of November in Phobjikha valley with the following objectives:

  1. Raise awareness and the involvement of the public in activities that can lead to the conservation of the cranes.
  2. Foster and encourage understanding related to all phases of conservation of the rare and endangered black necked cranes and their critical habitat among the local population and visitors.
  3. Enhance opportunity for the tourists to learn more about better appreciate the local areas, natural and cultural heritage.
  4. Design, co-ordinate and advance community involvement in the organization of the festival, which will eventually contribute to conservation of the black necked crane and economic development of the local community.
  5. Raise funds for ecologically sustainable economic development of the Phobjikha community and to change the attitude of the local community towards the conservation of the rare and endangered black necked cranes.

Note: We will inform you as soon as the program schedule has been finalized and printed.

Directory of the name of the places for bird watching

Currently accepted official spellings of names of the places for Bird watching are given in the following alphabetically arranged list, together with the approximate altitudes in metres, and drainage's in which the localities are situated. These localities, grouped under West, Central and East Bhutan follow the alphabetical list.

Recent officially accepted spellings are given in roman types, and the older alternative ones in Italics.

Locality Altitude (in meters) Drainage
Balfai [Bulfai, Balfi]
2475-2575 Manas (Dangme Chu)
(c6 km NW of Gomchu)
[Barsong, Bar Song]
2286 Manas
Barshong 3606 Wang Chhu
Batase 1220-1524 Rong Chhu (Aie Chhu, Mao Chhu)
(c5 km S of Paro)
2280 Paro Chhu
(c23 km N of Byakar)
3333 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Borbila 336-366 Darranga
Boomdang (=Bumthang)
(8 km N of Panakha)
1646 Mo Chhu
(c20 km S of Tongsa on Shemgang road)
2600 Mangde Chhu
Bulfai (=Balfai)
Bumthang: the general area drained by the Chamka Chhu, Tang Chhu & Upper Bumthang Chhu
Bumthang Tang (=Tangaru) Tang Chhu
Byakar 2743-3350 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Chable Khola
(c6 km N of Batase)
2000 Mangde Chhu
Chacoma La
(c20 km SW of Punakha)
3322 Wang Chhu
Chamarchi (=Samchi)
Chamsa (NW of Punakha on Laya road) 3600 Mo Chhu
Chapcha (=Chapchha)
Chapchha [Chapcha] 2438-2743 Wang Chhu
Chapeda (or Chimakothi) 2500 Wang Chhu
Chasam 823 Manas
Chasilakha 1860-1950 Wang Chhu
Cheli La (=Chilai La)
(15 km SW of Tongsa on Wangdu Phodrang road)
2392 Longjbi Ne Chhu
(Mangde Chhu)
Chhyothen Kora
[Chorten Kora]
1920 Kulong Chhu
Chilai La [Cheli La, Cholai La] 3658-3810 Ha Chhu/Paro Chhu
Chimakothi [Chima Kothi] 2224 Wang Chhu
Chinche La
(18 km NE of Lingjhi Dzong)
4430-4877 Mo Chhu
Cholai La (=Chilai La)
Chorten Kora (=Chhyothen Kora)
Chungkar 1829-1981 Nera Amal
Damthang [Damtang] 3050 Ha Chhu (Wang Chhu)
[Dewothong, Diwangiri]
366-823 Nera Ama/ Darranga
Dewothong (= Deothang)
Diwangiri (=Deothang)
Dochu La [Dokyong La] 3048-3363 Wang Chhu/ Mo Chhu
Dolam Kingchu
(20 km NW of Thimphu)
3322 Wang Chhu
Donga La 3810 Kuri (Kuru) Chhu/ Kulong Chhu
Donga Pemi 3200 Kuri Chhu
(8 km N of Thimphu)
2545-2560 Wang Chhu
Drugyel Dzong
[Dukye Dzong]
2590 Paro Chhu
Dukye Dzong (=Drugyel Dzong)
Fongmi [Phongmi] 1661 Gamri Chhu (Manas)
Gamri Chhu [Gamri Chhu] 2119-2393 Manas
Gangla Pokto
(20 km WSW of Tongsa)
2403 Longjhi Ne Chhu (Mangde Chhu)
Ganglakha 1860-2200 Pa Chhu
Gasa 2727-3140 Mo Chhu
Gaylephug [Hatisar] 244-274 Aie (Mao Chhu)
Gedu 1829-2438 Wang Chhu
Gomchu 2240-2317 Gom Chhu (Manas)
(5 km NE of Lingjhi Dzong)
3658 Mo Chhu
Gyetsa 2970-3050 Kagang Chhu (Bumthang)
Ha Dzong 2774 Ha Chhu (Wang Chhu)
Ha La 4267 Ha Chhu/ Amo Chhu
Hatisar (= Gaylephug)
Hongka [Honka] 1768 Wang Chhu
Honka (Hongka)
Jerichu (Kha Ling)
Jirichu (=Kha Ling)
(20 km NNW of Naspe)
4242-4300 Kangra Pizum Chhu (Bumthang)
(13 km ENE of Wangdu Phodrang)
1666 Tang Chhu (Mo Chhu)
Kaling (Kha Ling)
Kamji 1372 Padzeka Chhu
Kanglung 2042-2286 Manas
Kangra Pizum Chhu 4090 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Kasala (=Khosela)
Kha Ling
[Kaling, Jirichu, Jeerichu]
2134 Jiri Chhu (Manas)
Khairbani 183 Wang Chhu (=Raidak)
Khaktang [Khak Thang] 3200 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Kharbandi [Kharbari] 305 Torsa (=Amo Chhu)
Kharungula 2393 Jiri Chhu
Kheri 1097 Manas
Khosela [Kasala, Kosela] 1575 Mangde Chhu
Kosela (=Khosela)
Langsaran 1134-1250 Nera Ama Ri
Laya 3939-4115 Mo Chhu
Laya-Gasa trail
(30 km NW of Punakha)
3353-3480 Mo Chhu
(14 km NE of Lingjhi Dzong)
3524-4211 Mo Chhu
Lhuntsi 1372 Kuri (kruru) Chhu
Lingjhi Dzong [lingshi Dzong] 3901-4130 Mo Chhu
Lingshi Dzong (=Lingjhi Dzong)
(6 km N of BRTF Camp, Wangdu Phodrang)
1524 Mo Chhu
Lodrai 295-305 Mao Chhu (Aie Chhu)
Lometsawa 2030 Mo Chhu
Menchuna Chhu
(nr 36 km post on Simthoka Wangdu Phodrang road)
2662 Mo Chhu
(12 km NW of Punakha)
1768 Mo Chhu
Mathangarh 1372-1524 Nera Ama Ri
Morong 1732 Nera Ama Ri
Naningphu 2220-2286 Nera Ama Ri
Narim Thang 4237-4267 Khoma Chhu (Kuri Chhu)
Narphong (Narphung)
Narphung [Narphong] 1688-2007 Nera Ama Ri
(10 km N of Byakar)
3100 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Pang La 2286-3040 Kuri Chhu / Kulong Chhu
Pangjurmane (Panjurmane) 1525 Mangde Chhu
Paro 2440-2521 Paro Chhu (Wang Chhu)
11km NW of Paro 2550 Paro Chhu
Pe Chhu
(32 km NE of Wangdu Phodrang)
2000 Pe Chhu (Mo Chhu)
Pele La 3353 Tang Chhu / Mangde Chhu
Pesar Tsho
(7 km N of Khaktang)
3170-3290 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Phongmi (=Fongmi)
Phuntsholing 240-305 Torsa (Amo Chhu)
Phuntsholing -Thimphu road, nr 13 km post 610-762 Torsa (Amo Chhu)
Pimi 2743 Tang Chhu (Bumthang)
Punakha 1300 Mo Chhu
Putlibir 1980-2134 Wang Chhu
Rani Camp
(14 km SW of Tama on Gelephu Road)
1830 Tama (Mangde Chhu)
Rinchu 1707 Mo Chhu
Ritang 2480 Tang Chhu (Mo Chhu)
Ronglung (=Rongthung)
Rongthung (Ronglung, Rongtong) 1524-1830 Manas
Rongtong (=Rongthung)
Rudo La (=Rudong La)
Rudong La (Rudo La) 3048-4191 Tang Chhu/Kuri Chhu
Sage La
(10 km NW of Paro between Drugyel Dz and Ha Dz)
3810 Paro Chhu / Ha Chhu
Sakden (=Sakten)
Sakten (Sakden, Sakteng) 2700-2957 Gamri Chhu (Manas)
Sakteng (=Sakten)
Samchi (Chamarchi) 305 Rehti Khola (Amo Chhu)
Samdrup Jonkhjar (Darranga) 161-380 Darrang River
Samkhar 1829 Mao Chhu (Aie Chhu)
Sana 2560 Kulong Chhu
Satsalor 914-930 Diu Ri
Sawang 1829 Khoma Chhu (Kuri Chhu)
(nr Goya, 8 km NE of Lingshi Dz)
4115 Mo Chhu
Shakshing 2615 Kulong Chhu
Shamgong (=Shemgang)
Sharithang 3060 Amo Chhu
Shemgang (Shamgong) 1960-2591 Mangde Chhu
Shingbe 3886 Kulong Chhu
(64 km NW of Dengan La, Louri Dist., E.B)
Shoding 3962 Wang Chhu
Simtokha (Simtokha)
Dzong 2438 Wang Chhu
GREF Camp 2375-2408 Wang Chhu
Simtokha-Wangdu Phodrang Road Nr 36 km post 2662 Menchuna Chhu (Mo Chhu)
Simtokha (=Simtokha)
(28 km SSW of Confluence on Ha Road)
2350-2600 Ha Chhu (Wang Chhu)
Tagila (W of Lhuntsi) 2135 Kuri Chhu
Tama 1120-1219 Kama (Mangde Chhu)
Tamji 2713 Mo Chhu
Tang (=Tangaru)
Tangaru (Tang, Bumthang Tang) 2865 Tang Chhu (Bumthang)
Tashigang (Trashigong) 1097-1372 Manas (Dargne Chhu)
Tashi Yangtsi (=Tashiyangche)
Tashiyangche(Tashi Yangtsi, Tashiyangtse, Trashiyangsi) 1950-2013 Kulong Chhu
Tashiyangtse (=Tashiyangche)
Thimphu 2358-2804 Thimphu Chhu (Wang Chhu)
Tinglegang (=Tinlegang)
Tinlegang(Tinglegang) nr Lometsawa 1500 Mo Chhu
Tongsa (=Trongsa) 2270 Tongsa Chhu (Mangde Chhu)
Trashigong (=Tashingang)
Trashiyangsi (=Tashiyangche)
Tsamba (Tsampa)
Tsampa (Tsamba)
(28 km N of byakar)
3800-4030 Chamka Chhu (Bumthang)
Tsanga (=Tsangka)
Tsangka (Tsanga) 1800 Tongsa Chhu (Mangde Chhu)
(5 km NW of Paro)
2510 Paro Chhu (Wang Chhu)
(12 km NE of Lingjhi Dz, nr Chinche La)
3935-4206 Mo Chhu
Wamrong 2100-2438 Nera Ama Ri
Wangdi Potrang (=Wangdu Phodrang)
Wandgo Chhu
(32 km N of Thimphu beween Barshong and Shodug)
2530 Wangchu
Wangdu Phodrang (Wangdi Potrang)
Dzong 1651 Mo Chhu
GREF Camp 1370 Mo Chhu
Yale La 4393-4621 Wang Chhu
Yari La (between Lingjhi Dzong and Laya) 4023-4623 Mo Chhu
Yonpu La 2621-2745 Manas
Yurmu 1348 Mangde Chhu
Yuto La 3390 Mangde Chhu /Kagang Chhu (Bumthang)

Map of Bird Distribution

Bird Watching Map

Barshong Batase Balfai
Bongde Bongsam Barshone
Botoekha Bubja Borbila
Chacoma La Byakar Chasam
Chamsa Chable Khola Chhyothen Kora
Chapcha Chendebi Chungkar
Chapeda Gangla Pokto Deothang
Chasilakha Gaylegphug Dib La
Chilai La Gyetsa Donga La
Chimakothi Juitang Donga Pemi
Chinche La Khosela Fongmi
Dochu La Khaktang Gamri Chhu
Dolam Kinchu Lodrai Gomchu
Dotanang Mangdechu Kanglung
Drugyel Dzong Naspe Kha Ling
Ganglakha Pangjurmane Kharungula
Gasa Pe Chhu Kheri
Gedu Pele La Langsaran
Goya Pesar Tsho Lhuntsi
Gugula Pimi Mathangarh
Ha Dzong Rani Camp Morong
Ha La Ritang Naningphu
Hongka Rudong La Narim Thang
Jujam Samkhara Narphung
Kamji Shemgang Pang La
Khairbani Tama Rongthung
Kharbani Tangaru Sakten
Kharbandi Tongsa Samdrup Jongkhar
Laya Tsampa Sana
Lemthang Tsangka Satsalor
Lingjhi Dzong Yurmu Sawang
Loyasya Yuto La Shakshing
Lomestsawa Shingbe
Menchuna Chhu Tashigang
Misichin Tashiyangche
Paro Wamrong
Phuntsholing Yonpu La
Sage La
Wangdo Chhu
Wangdu Phodrang
Yale La
Yari La