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Arunachal Pradesh

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius ©Laurence Poh Website

India's easternmost corner Arunachal is also the land of the rising sun for the entire subcontinent. Nature's blessing in the form of breath-taking hills & mountains and a spectacular variety of life has brought a unique identity to this hilly terrain. Forget about the exotic flora & fauna; the geographical features alone barely has any match… from snow capped mountains to typically dense rain forests, from fast moving hilly streams to fully-grown rivers; Arunachal is full of surprises.

This high altitude Eastern Himalayan realm has lots to offer to the tourism industry as a whole. Apart natural heritages, there are other reasons to visit Arunachal – be it culture, be it religious customs, be it tribal ethnicity, be it fairs & festivals, be it temples (Gumpha), be it war monuments, there is a wealth of cultural diversity and monuments to man's past. Arunachal harbours 26 different tribes and communities. Whilst these tribes have certain racial similarities, they can be divided into three broad sections based on their socio-religious sentiments.

And when it comes to birding, Arunachal possesses exceptional richness in avian diversity. Almost every nook & corner of this hill state draws nature lovers from across the globe. A few selected protected areas are worthy of special mention e.g. Namdapha National Park, Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Sessa Wildlife Sanctuary, D'ering Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, etc. Interestingly, the western most parts of the state i.e. Tawang & West Kameng Districts rarely get any attention from the birdwatchers accept for a few serious birders; rather they are visited mostly for their scenic beauty and for their ancient majestic Buddhist monasteries.

From the bio-geographic point of view Arunachl has been crisscrossed by Sino-Himalayan Temperate and Sino-Himalayan Subtropical biomes. There are about 25 notified Important Bird Areas in Arunachal Pradesh. West Kameng and Tawang Districts alone boasts hundreds of avian species including many migratory and endangered ones. One can check out the following treks across the region for magnificent birding experiencse; they are Zemithang, Sangti Valley, Baily Trails, Tawang area, etc.

Nature watching is, of course, all about luck; if one is lucky - one could be amazed by the glimpses of beautiful but endangered birds. Most notable are Sclater's Monal Lophophorus sclateri, Satyr Trogopan Trogopan satyra, Blyth's Trogopan Trogopan blythii, Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus, Spotted Wren Babbler Spelaeornis formosus, Broad-billed Flycatcher-Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin Tarsiger hyperithrus, Greater Long-billed Thrush Zothera monticola, Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, just to mention a few of those which can be found in the areas bordering Bhutan.


Pranab J. Patar

Coordinator, Central Assam, GREEN GUARD-nature organisation

Morigaon, Assam, India


Number of Species

State Bird: Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis


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Useful Information


Bird Species: 195

State Bird

Great Hornbill


Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History


SACON or the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History was formally inaugurated on 5th June 1990 and registered as a society under the Society Registration Act 1860. SACON, an autonomous organization is a national centre for studies in Ornithology and Natural History. The centre was named befittingly after Dr. Sálim Ali in appreciation of his life long services to India's bird life and conservation of natural resources…


Abbreviations Key

D'Ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary


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D’Ering Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary lies on the border area of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the flood plain between the Rivers Siang and Sibya. It is located c. 16 km southeast of Pashighat town. About 80% of the Sanctuary is covered with grassland, and the rest is riverine forest patches with mixed bamboo and secondary forests.

Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve


Satellite View

The Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve is one of the few nature preserves around the world which are untouched from the modern civilization. None of the parts of the BR is approachable by road and has to be approached on foot only. The huge gorges and the innumerable streams make it impossible to use animal transport. The health care and educational system are rudimentary. Other than the traditional agriculture, there is no any significant source of income generation. In short, it is a very difficult place to live in which is one of the deciding factor of having a very sparse population…

Namdapha National Park


Satellite View

Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and is located in Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It is also the largest national park in India in terms of area…

Pakke Tiger Reserve


Satellite View

At least 296 bird species have been recorded from PTR including the globally endangered white-winged wood duck, the unique ibisbill and the rare Oriental bay owl. PTR is a good place to see hornbills. Roost sites of wreathed hornbills and great hornbill can be observed on the river banks. Birds seen in PTR include: Jerdon's baza, pied falconet, white-cheeked hill-partridge, grey peacock-pheasant, elwe's crake, ibisbill, Asian emerald cuckoo, red-headed trogon, green pigeon spp., forest eagle owl, wreathed hornbill, great hornbill, collared broadbill and long-tailed broadbill, blue-naped pitta, lesser shortwing, white-browed shortwing, Daurian redstart, Leschenault's forktail, lesser necklaced laughing-thrush, silver-eared leiothrix, white-bellied yuhina, yellow-bellied flycatcher warbler, sultan tit, ruby-cheeked sunbird, maroon oriole, and crow-billed drongo.

Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary


Satellite View

Arunachal Pradesh as a whole contains 40% of the floral and faunal species in India. The Ziro valley has a good share of this biodiversity. Thirty kilometres from the town of Ziro is the sanctuary.

Trip Reports

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2013 [04 April] - Niels Poul Dreyer

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…Our trip to Arunachal Pradesh (mainly Eagle’s Nest) was a great success. The highlight for me was our sighting of Blyth’s Tragopan, which showed up in the dark forest like a fireball! It has always been a dream of mine to see a male Tragopan. For the Erards, it was also our sighting of the Himalayan Monal at Se-La Pass, plus many other species. It required a lot of effort to see those marvels after many failed attempts…

2013 [05 May] - Erik Klop

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…After several hours waiting at Delhi airport, we finally boarded our delayed flight to Guwahati where we arrived in the afternoon and met with our guide, Peter Lobo. At the outskirts of town we first visited the famous rubbish dump, where we saw several tens of Greater Adjutants as well as Lesser Adjutant, before we continued our long drive to Nameri Tiger Reserve. Driving through the plains of Assam produced roadside birds including Little Cormorant, Indian (Black-billed) Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Yellow- footed Green Pigeon and Oriental Magpie-robin…

2013 [05 May] - Frank Lambert

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…Since we had missed Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush on our first visit to Digboi we returned there on our last morning, and after some time heard one singing. It could not be enticed into close proximity however, but eventually Simon spotted a pair of birds foraging on and near the ground on the other side of a deep ravine and most of us had good views….

2015 [04 April] - James Eaton - Mishmi Hills, Assam & Eaglenest

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This mammoth tour of the Eastern Himalaya lived up to everything it was set up to be –we recorded a total of 508 species (the biggest number on any of our tours to date), but as always in this region, it is quality, not quantity that impressed us most.

2015 [04 April] - Oscar Campbell - Assam & Arunachal Pradesh

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Early April is a slightly in-between time to visit this area; many winter visitors have vacated the plains (including Ibisbill at Nameri) but a few summer visitors are yet to arrive in any numbers. Some key species at EagleNest, including Purple Cochoa and Begun Liocichla (for example) are vocal (sometimes) but not especially responsive compared to later in the month.

2015 [05 May] - Craig Robson - Eaglenest & Beyond

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...At Orang National Park our recent efforts really bore fruit this year, with the sighting of four rare and little known grassland species: Swamp Francolin, Bristled Grassbird, the mega-rare Indian Grassbird, and Slender-billed Babbler.

2015 [05 May] - Pritam Baruah - Lohit Valley, Arunachal Pradesh, India Wakro, Udayak Pass, Hayuliang, Hawai, Walong, Kibithu

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This area has recently become popular for birding ever since it revealed two new additions to the Indian checklist (Yunnan Nuthatch, Black-browed Bushtit) and three species difficult to find elsewhere in India (Godlewski’s Bunting, Derbyan Parakeet, Black-headed Greenfinch). Also, the Spot-breasted Parrotbill, hitherto reliable in India only in Nagaland is a common species in Walong.

2017 [04 April] - EagleNest


...The stops were for the Tragopan and the Trogan - both of them who decided to give us a skip. We, however, got sightings and record shots of Slaty-bellied Tesia and the elusive Rufous-capped Babbler....