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State of Uttarakhand

Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea ©Mic Clark Website

The land of Celestial Beauty, Uttarakhand, offers picturesque breathtaking panoramic views of the western Himalayas: magnificent glaciers, majestic snow-clad mountains, gigantic and ecstatic peaks, valleys of flowers and dense forests. This abode of the Gods includes many shrines and places of pilgrimage.

This relatively new state was carved out of Uttrar Pradesh (UP) state and became the 27th state of the Republic of India on the 9th of November 2000 as Uttaranchal but recently changed the name to Uttarakhand. It lies in the western Himalayan ranges at 77o 34' E - 81o 02' E and 28o 53' N - 31o 28' N, being bordered by Tibet in the north and Nepal in the east, while the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttrar Pradesh lie on its west and south, respectively. Besides, the state occupies a land area of 51,125 Sq. km of which over 90% is hilly and less than 8% is plain with an altitudinal variation from 250m up to 7,816m (Nanda Devi peak). Forests cover 63% of the land mass, constituting various vegetation types: alpine, sub-alpine, moist temperate, sub-tropical, tropical moist deciduous and tropical dry deciduous forests, along the altitudinal gradient from the highest to lowest altitudes respectively.

This rich multitude of forest habitats supports an enormous diversity of bird life. Over 600 species have been recorded from this small state, which include residents, summer migrants from peninsular India and as far as north Africa, passage & winter migrants form the Palaearctic region & vagrants from adjoining areas. Although forested areas all over the state offer plenty of scope for bird watching, favourite birders' destinations are a number of large protected areas such as Nanda Devi, Corbett National Park, Valley of Flowers and Rajaji National Parks; Kedarnath, Govind and Ascot Wildlife Sanctuaries; Dehra Dun valley and adjacent hills; and various other mountain trek routes: Harikidun, Yamnotri, Gangotri, Nagatibba, Dudatoli, etc. that are some of the best places to watch birds.

Top Sites

Dehra Dun Valley

Satellite View

Dehra Dun valley & the adjacent hills of Mussoorie, Dhanaulty & Chakarata, lies in the lower Garhwal Himalayas being covered with forests over more than 50% of its land area and has a very rich birdlife. The check list of this area has more than 600 species of birds of which about 25 are globally threatened (& more than 450 species found in the valley alone). The place being equal and in some respects better than Corbett for birdwatching being open through out the year. It is 50km west of Corbett and linked to Delhi by road (7h) train (6h) and air (1.5h)

Contributor

Number of Species

State Bird: Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus

Useful Reading

Birds of Northern India

by Richard Grimmett and Tim Inskipp - Helm Field Guides 2003
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713651679

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Anytime Tours

Tour Operator

e.g. Corbett National Park, Pangot (Nainital), Sat Tal, Chambal, Bharatpur, Ranthambhor NP - This tour is designed for fast pace birding in northern region of India. This has proven to be an extremely productive tour. This tour can be customized. Best time: November to April…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Joint Adventures

Tour Operator

India is a paradise for bird watching with a wide variety of migratory and resident species. Birdwatching is a hobby and a great pastime for all ages and has grown in leaps and bounds all over the world. Some of the birding destinations that we have lined up for you are Delhi, Keoladeo National Park Bharatpur, Dudhwa National Park, Corbett Park and the Kumaon region of the Himalayas…

Jungle Lore

Tour Operator

Our tours will appeal to the serious birder as well as to the beginner or intermediate bird watcher and some are suitable for the non-birding spouse. A spectacular variety of Himalayan birds and wildlife is spotted in some of these most exotic locales. The itinerary focuses on the Central Himalayas at Binsar, Nainital, Betalghat and Corbett National Park. Fatbirder recommended

Kumaon Exploration

Tour Operator

We aim to give our guests an exciting and memorable time in the forests and mountains of Kumaon and Garhwal. We offer you comfortable jungle lodges, a friendly personal service, and unrivalled local knowledge. Our guides speak good English, are experienced naturalists, and are familiar with the requirements of foreign guests. Most of our itineraries include a stay at one or both of our associated jungle lodges, Camp Corbett and Mountain Quail Camp. Both lodges are ideally situated for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hill walking or simply having a relaxing time away from the crowds…

Trip Reports

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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.

2008 [02 February] - John van der Dol

Report

Kaziranga, Nameri Tiger Reserve(Assam), Dirang and the Sangti Valley and Eagle’s Nest (Uranachal Pradesh) NE India…

2013 [02 February] - Sunil Kumar - Corbett, Pangot, Naintal & Sattal

Report PDF

List

2013 [04 April] - Sumit Malik - Sattal

Report

…We were now looking at a seventy odd flock of White Throated Laughing Thrush. These birds are in huge numbers here in Himalayan regions. And they also stay in large flocks….feeding on the forest floor. We left Alan and his group and went further ahead. My wife suddenly stooped down and waved at me not to move ahead…she, like I told earlier has developed her sense of sight (more so for the wildlife) so well that hardly anything (mostly critters) go un-noticed by her…

2013 [05 May] - Sumit Malik - Pangot

Report

…Short of time, we now started heading back to Vinayak and explore it. Vinayak is mid-way between Pangot & KunjKharak and one can see a variety of bird species here. We saw quite a few of them like the Khalij Pheasant, Rufuous Bellied Niltava, Chestnut Bellied Rock Thrush, Spot Winged Tit, Green Backed Tit, Great Tit and around seven varieties of Woodpeckers, the Rufous Bellied, Streaked Throated, Slaty Headed, Himalayan, Great spotted, Rufous, and the Brown Capped Pygmy Woodpecker….

2015 [05 May] - S S Cheema - Sattal & Pangot

Report

Sattal literally means ‘Sat Tal or seven lakes’. The lakes are freshwater and interconnected. These lakes are set among the Oak and Pine forests and I am told that they are one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted lakes of India.

2017 [01 January] - S S Cheema - Dehradun

Report

...Finally, it was nine and we drove to the Botanical Gardens - our first pit stop. We spent almost one and a half hours there. The birding was great - the first sightings were three varieties of Thrushes. So three of us concentrated on one each and all of us missed the other two. Tickell's, a scaly thrush (ID yet to be confirmed) and Black-throated Thrush. After this there was not stopping - one after other the birds gave us good sightings....

Places to Stay

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Abbott Mount Cottage

Accommodation

This historic hamlet of Abbot Mount is situated at an altitude of about 7,000 ft above sea level in the eastern part of the Kumaon Hills near the small town of Lohaghat in Champavat District. Abbott Mount was founded by and named after Mr. John Harold Abbott of Jhansi. An English businessman who wanted to start a hill station for the European community at the turn of the 20th century. Unlike many Indian hill stations Abbott Mount has changed little since its inception. There are only thirteen secluded cottages spread over this private hill. There is a picturesque church set amidst the forest and and a ancient cricket pitch with an unsurpassed view of the mountains…

Corbett Hideaway

Accommodation

The burnt red of the cottages forms a restful backdrop to verdant environs. Sloping tiled roofs, cool stone floors with throw rugs, block wood furniture and other details allow maximum comfort while continuing the illusion of being in the wilds. The accent is clearly on nature. The 40 guest rooms have a clever area separation, for sleeping and for living, as in a suite. You get a sense of miles of extra space. Double roomed suites are available for groups and families…

Jungle Lore Birding Lodge

Accommodation

A holiday at the Birding Lodge entails jungle walks through lush oak and pine woods, an encounter with wild ghoral, lammergeiers, woodpeckers and much more…

Mountain Club Hotel - Bhimtal

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Our property Mountain Club at Bhimtal is located in a dense oak and pine forest that has numerous birding trails…

Pangot Woodside Retreat

Accommodation

Pangot Woodside Retreat -is set amidst an Oak and Rhododendron Forest 14 kms from Nainital, at a height of 6,300 feet above sea level on the Kilbury road at a quaint village - Pangot…

Riverine Woods - Corbett

Accommodation

Riverine Woods, earlier known as Van Ghat River Lodge was established in 2003. A fishing and wildlife conservation lodge was set up on the bank of the Ramganga River near the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttaranchal, Northern India. The resort, fully aware of its surroundings and responsibilities to the community, has provided employment opportunities for a number of local people, and through this arrangement, has established some of the best managed Mahseer fishing beats in the state. As a direct consequence of the improved fish stocks, the surrounding ecosystem has dramatically improved, with the return of otters and turtles - creatures which have not been seen for some years…

Saat Tal Camp

Accommodation

Situated a safe distance from Nainital (22kms) (Uttaranchal, India), Saat tal gets its name from the seven lakes in its vicinity. The camp is located amidst three of these lakes and a dense cover of Oak forests…

Solluna Wildlife Resort Corbett

Accommodation

This resort comprises of 18 cottages and staying here exposes one to a world of leisure, hospitality and first-class service. In the morning, you may be awakened by the chirps of the birds and the scents of the flowers. These cottages, surrounded by rich variety of flowers are traditional in looks but are replete with modern amenities…

Tiger Camp

Accommodation

If you are looking for a visit with a difference to the Corbett National Park you must stay at Tiger Camp. We take you through the wilds, we make you meet the local naturalists who have lived in harmony with the wilds, letting you experience the life in the jungles of terai. Of course we look after your basic requirements and provide comforts too. Fatbirder Recommended

Wild Brook Retreat

Accommodation

Wild Brook Retreat is set amidst the beautiful valley of Nalani in the foothills of Himalayas, only 24 km from Haridwar. Surrounded by virgin forests and jungle streams…

Reserves

Askot Wildlife Sanctuary - Pithoragarh

Information

Satellite View

The wild species of fauna include snow tiger, leopard, bharal, thar, kakar, black and grey himalayan bear and different types of pheasants and other birds. The wild vegetation comprises of kunj, kail, khersu, fir, bhoj patra, darkunja, raijal etc…

Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary

Information

Satellite View

At the Assan Bird Sanctuary 53 species of water birds are observed out of which 19 are Himalayan migratory birds which halt here during October and November on their way to southernIndia and while late February and March on their way back to home….

Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary - Dhalipur Lake

Website

Satellite View

The Asan Barrage, popularly known as Dhalipur lake, was created in the year 1967 as a result of the construction of Asan barrage at the confluence of the river Yamuna & Asan through Dhalipur power house. Asan Barrage is famous for bird watching…

Corbett National Park

Website

Satellite View

Jim Corbett National Park, situated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is a perfect holiday destination. Mainly known for its successful tiger conservation project, Corbett is home of great variety of wildlife creatures. Bird watching, elephant safari, canter safari and many more activities can be enjoyed at this exquisite wildlife conserve. To experience nature in its truest state, you ought to visit incredible Jim Corbett National Park…

Corbett National Park

Website

Satellite View

The Corbett Tiger reserve has quite a history. It is India's First National Park and one of the finest, notable for its individualistic scenic charm and magnificent submontane and riverine vistas, and also for its richly varied wildlife, still interestingly in the process of change, and the site of the launching of project Tiger…

Jim Corbett National Park

Information

Satellite View

Jim Corbett National Park—named after the hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment—is the oldest national park in India. The park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park. Situated in Nainital district of Uttarakhand the park acts as a protected area for the critically endangered Bengal tiger of India, the secure survival of which is the main objective of Project Tiger, an Indian wildlife protection initiative…

Raja Ji National Park

Website

Satellite View

In all 49 species of mammals belonging to 42 genera in 21 families and nine orders have been reported . According to census done in 1999 there are 445 Elephants, 32 tigers, 177 leopards besides thousands of other wild animals in the park…

Sanctuaries & National Parks

Website

In order to preserve this gift of wildlife and enable visitors to have a privileged view of the same, the state of Uttaranchal has created special areas, National Parks and Sanctuaries…

Blogs

Harshit Singhal - Birding in India

Blog

A Young birder emerging from the valley of DehraDun and ready to revolutionalize what you think about birding…

Other Links

Checklist

Website

List with status…

Delhibird - The Northern India Bird Network

Website

Site guide, recent sightings, photo gallery, checklists and more…