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Assam

Duck
White-winged (Wood) Duck Asarcornis scutulata ©Dick Daniels - Creative Commons Website

Birding Assam

Assam, the land of mystique blue hills and valleys interspersed by hundreds of rivers and wetlands serve as a rare refuge for diverse life forms. The rare biological diversity of this beautiful province of the Indian subcontinent results from the unique conjunction of four different Biomes (Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest, Sino-Himalayan Subtropical Forest, Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest and Indo-Gangetic Plain) in one place - Assam. This means that it harbours numerous endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna, which has made this little known area a Global Biodiversity Hotspot.

Assam is home to more than half of about 1200 varieties of avifauna recorded in the Indian subcontinent and also provides shelter to 3107 species of flowering plants, 192 species orchids, 185 species of reptiles, 190 species of mammals and hundreds of species of insects & butterflies.

Besides its widely visited protected areas, Bird life International has notified about 20 different Important Bird Areas in Assam and several others have already added to the proposed list.

Being associated with the GREEN GUARD (a non government organisation working in Assam for nature and natural resource conservation for more than a decade) I personally had the privilege to study birds in poorly known, and at times less-explored, areas of Assam. One such area is Deobali Jalah, (Jalah in Assamese stands for Wetland) which is a proposed Important Bird Area covering an area of around 15sq. km., and which lies between Latitude 26o15' N and longitude 92o32' E Nagaon district of Central Assam.

Studies undertaken so far in this particular area has enabled us to list as many as 109 species of birds including 10 types of Red Data Book species such as Asian Open bill Stork Anastomus oscitans, Lesser Adjutant Stork Leptotilos javanicus, Greater Adjutant Stork Leptotilos dubious, White Eyed or Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca, Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri, Red-necked or Red headed Falcon Falco chicquera, Swamp Francolin or Swamp Partridge Francolinus gularis, Manipur Bush Quail Perdicula manipurensis, Jerdon's Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni, Bristled Grass Warbler Chaetornis straitus. Fairly recently, Java Munia or Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora previously unrecorded from the Northeastern region of India, also has been sighted in the Deobali area.

Contributor

Pranab J. Patar

Coordinator, GREEN GUARD-nature organisation

Morigaon - Assam

pronab_2k@yahoo.co.in

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 935

(As at december 2018)

State Bird: White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata

Endemics

However, there are seventeen species with very restricted ranges which are mostly within Assam's borders. They are: Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus, Blackish-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla humei, Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei, Striped Laughingthrush Garrulax virgatus, Brown-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax austeni, Streak-throated Barwing Actinodura waldeni, Grey Sibia Heterophasia gracilis, Beautiful Sibia Heterophasia pulchella, Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre, Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris, White-napped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri, Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii, Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii, Manipur Bush Quail Perdicula manipurensis No Recent Record., Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator, Broad-billed Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni, Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering India as a whole - please see the main India page of Fatbirder

An Amateur's Guide to Birds of Assam

By Jayaditya Purkayastha | EBH Publishers | 2015 | Hardback | 129 pages, colour photos, colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9789383252695

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Kaziranga National Park

(A Checklist) | By Anwaruddin Choudhury | The Rhino Foundation | 2003 | Paperback | 50 pages, 4 plates with 6 colour photos and 2 colour maps; b/w illustrations |

ISBN: 9788190086639

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Assam

By Anwarddin Choudhury | The Rhino Foundation | 2000 | Hardback | 240 pages, colour photos, illustrations, maps |

ISBN: 9788190086615

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Threatened Birds of Assam

By Asad R Rahmani & Anwaruddin Choudhury | Oxford University Press | 2013 | Paperback | 165 pages, 80 colour photos and illustrations, 17 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780198090533

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

BS WS Pani Dihing

Information

Satellite View

It s a 33.93-square-kilometre (13.10 sq mi) wildlife sanctuary located in Sivasagar district, Assam. It is 22 km (14 mi) away from Sivasagar town. As many as 267 species of birds including 70 species of migratory birds have been identified and recorded at Pani Dihing.

NP BR Dibru-Saikhowa

Information

Satellite View

It is located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts and was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997 with an area of 765 km2 (295 sq mi), including a core area of 340 km2 (130 sq mi) and a buffer zone of 425 km2 (164 sq mi). Birds recorded include greater adjutant, ferruginous pochard, Jerdon's babbler, black-breasted parrotbill, marsh babbler, puff-throated babbler, Jerdon's bushchat, rufous-rumped grassbird, chestnut-crowned bush warbler, lesser adjutant, Sarus crane, Bengal florican, spot-billed pelican and white-necked stork to name a few.

NP Kaziranga

Information

Satellite View

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site and is home to the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world. It is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. Birds such as the lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Baer's pochard duck and lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, and Asian openbill stork migrate from Central Asia to the park during winter. Riverine birds include the Blyth's kingfisher, white-bellied heron, Dalmatian pelican, spot-billed pelican, Nordmann's greenshank, and black-bellied tern. Birds of prey include the rare eastern imperial, greater spotted, white-tailed, Pallas's fish eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, and the lesser kestrel.

NP Nameri

Information

Satellite View

Nameri National Park is a national park in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur District of Assam, India, about 35 km from Tezpur. Nameri is about 9 km from Chariduar, the nearest village. Of the over 300 species a number stand out such as white-winged wood duck, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, rufous-necked hornbill, black stork, ibisbill, blue-bearded bee-eaters, babblers, and many others.

NP Orang

Information

Satellite View

The Orang National Park also known as Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park which is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam, India, covers an area of 78.81 square kilometres (30.43 sq mi). More than 220 species of bird are recorded and many special mammals including rhino and tiger.

NP TR Manas

Information

Satellite View

Located in the Himalayan foothills, it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. The park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog. Manas is famous for its population of the wild water buffalo. The sanctuary has recorded 55 species of mammals and 450 species of birds. It has the largest population of the endangered Bengal florican to be found anywhere.

WS Borail

Information

The sanctuary consists of the North Cachar Reserve Forest and Borail Reserve Forest, which are classified as tropical moist evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. The forest is home to a wide diversity of wildlife.

WS Chakrashila

Information

Satellite View

Conservation drive for golden langur by Nature's Beckon The sanctuary covers an area of 45.568 km2 (4556.8 hectares). It is around 6 km from Kokrajhar town, 68 km from Dhubri town and 219 km from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati. The sanctuary is mainly a hilly tract running north-south and there are two lakes (Dheer Beel and Diplai Beel) on either side, which are integral to the eco-system of the sanctuary. A total of 119 species of birds have been recorded in the Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary. This number includes three globally threatened species.

WS Dehing Patkai

Information

Satellite View

This sanctuary is also a part of Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve. The rainforest stretches for more than 575 km2 (222 sq mi) in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar. Dehing Patkai rainforest harbours about 293 bird species, belonging to 174 genera and 51 families. The majority is resident (63.7%), some are winter visitors (23.1% ), and very few are summer visitors (2.5%). About 10.7% are altitudinal migrants, coming mainly from the higher reaches of the western, central and eastern Himalayas.

WS Laokhowa - Borachapori

Information

Satellite View

It is situated 40 km downstream of the Kaziranga National Park and 30 km northwest of the Orang National Park on the other side of the river Brahmaputra.

WS Nambor - Doigrung

Information

Satellite View

The sanctuary along with Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary (6 km2) and Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary (37 km2) are a part of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Elephant Reserve.

WS Sonai Rupai

Information

Satellite View

A wide variety of birds including white winged wood duck, hornbill, pelican, etc. and various types of migratory birds.

WS WII Dipor Bil

Information

Satellite View

It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, to the south of the main river. It is also called a wetland under the Ramsar Convention which has listed the lake in November 2002, as a Ramsar Site for undertaking conservation measures on the basis of its biological and environmental importance. The beel is a natural habitat to many varieties of birds. 219 species of birds including more than 70 migratory species are reported in the beel area. The largest congregations of aquatic birds can be seen, particularly in winter, with a reported recorded count of 19,000 water birds in a day. Some of the globally threatened species of birds like spotbilled pelican (Pelecanus philippensis), lesser adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus), Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri), Pallas' sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos dubius).

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Tragopan Tours

Tour Operator

Kaziranga National Park is situated in the floodplains of river Brahmaputra and is known for its three big mammals, Indian Rhinoceros, Wild Water Buffalo and Asian Elephant. Other speciality mammals of Kaziranga are Swamp Deer and Hoolock Gibbon. Birdlife is diverse and we will be looking for Bengal Florican, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pied Falconet, Great Myna, Finn’s Weaver, White-throated Bulbul, and Black-backed Forktail.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [11 November] - Mike Nelson - Bhutan & Assam

Report

…It was time for a scrumptious lunch at our base in Paro – the beautiful Ugyen Phendeyling Resort & Meditation Center. After lunch, a visit to the nearby river delivered a group of Rufous-breasted Accentors but the strong winds were not in our favor. We also enjoyed further views of Plumbeous and White-capped Water Redstarts – both common species that always impress. In the later afternoon it was time for another attempt at Ibisbill…

2013 [04 April] - Niels Poul Dreyer

PDF Report

…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 [04 April] - James Eaton

PDF Report

…At a large waterbody, up to 200 Temminck’s Stints were busy feeding on the muddy margins with a range of other waterbirds and an impressive Pallas’s Fish Eagle circled and flew just over our heads. In the skies Himalayan Griffons were floating by, with a few huge Greater Adjutants mixed in. The park now has a silly new rule, with only two hours allowed inside the ‘Western Range’, though we managed to stretch this by a further 30 minutes we could do no more…

2013 [05 May] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

…A few Lesser Adjutants were also present for comparison, while a swirling mass of kites seemed to comprise mostly Black-eared, with lesser numbers of resident Black, and there were also three young Steppe Eagles. We headed off for Nameri along the southern route, taking lunch on the outskirts of Nagaon, before crossing the Brahmaputra River south of Tezpur. A birding stop by the Brahmaputra brought two Ferruginous Pochards, a single Eurasian Curlew, a Brown-headed Gull and a small group of Bank Mynas amongst many other birds…

2013 [05 May] - Erik Klop

PDF Report

…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

PDF Report

…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….

2014 [04 April] - Hannu Jannes - Northeast frontier

PDF Report

…Some of the more memorable bird highlights of the tour included White-bellied Heron, Greater Adjutant, Jerdon’s Baza, Changeable, Mountain and Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagles, the critically endangered Slender-billed and White-backed Vultures, Pied Harrier, Pallas’s and Grey-headed Fish Eagles, Oriental Hobby, a heard only Sclater's Monal, Swamp Francolin, White-cheeked Partridge at its roost, Grey Peacock- Pheasant, Watercock, great views of a male Hodgson’s Frogmouth, memorable encounters with Dark- rumped Swifts, five species of hornbill including some really obliging Rufous-necked Hornbills, a lovely male Ward’s Trogon…

2015 [02 February] - David Stanton - North Bengal, Sikkim & Manas National Park

PDF Report

...I had high expectations from this trip, especially with regards as to seeing Flycatchers, Thrushes and Laughing Thrushes. This was not to be. Numbers of birds however were very impressive, with feeding parties of over a hundred.

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

PDF Report

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] - Josh Engel - Bhutan and Kaziranga

PDF Report

In the modern world, it's difficult for a place to retain an air of mystery. Yet Bhutan, with its unclimbed peaks, rumors of yetis, revered monarchy, and vast forests is one such place. In birding terms, this means that virtually every tour makes an interesting discovery or two, while taking in the fascinating culture, beautiful scenery, tasty food, and of course the abundant and diverse birdlife

2015 [04 April] - Julian Thomas - Bhutan & Kaziranga

Report

...Several additional bird species were seen around the lodge, the best being a superb adult male Montagu’s Harrier, with a supporting cast of Shikra, Hoopoe, Greater Coucal, Grey Francolin, Silverbill, Purple Sunbird, Common Kingfisher, Moorhen, Grey-crowned Sparrow larks and Rufous-tailed Larks, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Tailorbird, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Spotted Owlet, Indian Robin and Rosy Starlings.

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

PDF Report

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

PDF Report

...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 [11 November] - Bhutan & Assam

PDF Report

We arrived on our short flight from Paro in Bhutan over the Himalayan foothills in a hot, humid, and grimy Guwahati...

2016 [12 December] - Tim & Carol Inskipp

PDF Report

Illustrated checklist

2017 [05 May] - James Eaton

PDF Report

This mammoth tour of the Eastern Himalaya lived up to everything it was set up to be – we recorded a total of 455 species, but as always in this region, it is quality, not quantity that impressed us most.

2017 [12 December] - Sujan Chatterjee

PDF Report

...On our last day in Kaziranga we went for a walk in the tea garden behind our lodge. The walk turned out to be very successful. The dew-drenched morning gave us Rufous Piculet, Green Magpie, both racket-tailed Drongos, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Rufous-fronted Babbler and Golden-fronted Leafbird. Later we came back for a late and leisurely breakfast.

2018 [03 March] - Martin Pitt

PDF Report

Ever since I had been to Nepal in 1997, I had wanted to return to the Himalayas. The choice of location was the only challenge and so was the mix of target species. In addition, my wife wanted to see One-horned Rhino. She had not been with me in Chitwan when I had seen them.

2018 [04 April] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

2018 saw a completely new Birdquest itinerary for this remote northeast corner of the Indian subcontinent. Our epic journey lasted nearly a month, and saw us amass a huge total of 530 species.

2018 [04 April] - David Hoddinott

PDF Report

The following morning, we set off after breakfast. Excitement mounted as we travelled to the famous Kaziranga National Park.

2018 [04 April] - India Nature

PDF Report

The state of Assam and West Kameng district of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh present the opportunity to explore a cross-section of this bird-rich environment with relative ease, as the hills climb steeply out of the Brahmaputra floodplain. Our comprehensive birding tour begins at little over 100m asl in hot and humid submontane swamp forests before ascending into the Himalayas where we explore the higher reaches of the hills up to the arctic cold of one of the highest motorable passes in the entire Himalayan chain at a little over 4000m asl.

2018 [05 May] - Phil Gregory

Report

The inaugural Field Guides NE India/Kaziranga trip proved adventurous, with some great birds and mammals and spectacular scenery, but beset by some unusually poor weather in the mountains.

2018 [05 May] - Sam Woods

PDF Report

The latter, very quickly put the name of Eaglenest into the minds of many birders worldwide. More remarkably still, this significant scientific find led the Indian government to abandon a massive road building project in the area, in favor of conserving massive tracts of forest with the establishment of the huge Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. Where the military had set up camps following the brief invasion by China in 1962, now provides a road to access and bird the area, and perfect spaces for semi-permanent camps, which allow extended stays in the area, and the

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Bansbani Lodge Manas

Accommodation

Bansbani Lodge is near the entrance of Manas National Park, one of the top birding sites of Assam…

Chang Bungalows - Diburgarh

Accommodation

Accommodations in tea-plantation bungalows at Diburgarh, organise trips to good birding sites of Assam like Dibru-Saikhowa National Park which is important site for endangered birds like White-backed and Slender-billed Vultures, White-bellied Heron, Greater Adjutant, White-winged Wood Duck, Bengal Florican, etc, and for numerous other birds, Digboi, etc. Also, arranges trips to Arunachal sites.

Wild Grass Resort - Kaziranga National Park

Accommodation

This is one of the top lodges at Kaziranga National Park with birding guides, library and other facilities. A good number of birds come into the property itself…

Other Links

Assam Birds

Website

The Critically Endangered and Endangered Birds of Assam…

National Parks of Assam

Website

Map of all sanctuaries…