Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane ©Aseem Kumar Kothiala 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.

  • Pranab J. Patar

    Morigaon - Assam |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 937

    (As at April 2020)

    State Bird: White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata

  • There are no endemic species. 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
  • iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

  • 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
  • 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
  • The Birds of Assam

    | By Anwarddin Choudhury | The Rhino Foundation | 2000 | Hardback | 240 pages, colour photos, illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9788190086615 Buy this book from
  • 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

Abbreviations Key

  • BS WS Pani Dihing

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite View
    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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite View
    A wide variety of birds including white winged wood duck, hornbill, pelican, etc. and various types of migratory birds.
  • WS WII Dipor Bil

    InformationSatellite 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
  • 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
  • 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] - Julian Thomas - Bhutan & Kaziranga

    ...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.
  • 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.
  • 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] - 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

    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
  • 2019 [05 May] - James Eaton - Nagaland, Eaglenest, Assam and Mishmi Hills

    PDF Report
    This mammoth tour of the Eastern Himalaya lived up to everything it was set up to be – we recorded a total of 495 species, a huge total considering nearly all wintering birds had dispersed northwards already but as always in this region, it is quality rather than quantity that impressed us most.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Shashank Dalvi - Nagaland, Assam and Mishmi Hills

    PDF Report
    This short custom tour targeted, not just Asia's, but some of the world's least-known and most sought-after birds. It took us across three different states of northeast India, where we snaked our way through some fantastic habitats by way of some of the most poorly maintained roads in the country.
  • 2023 [12 December] - Aseem Kumar Kothiala

    Tucked away in South Assam, there is a forest named Dosdewa. Some rarities for India come here, including the Asian Stubtail.
Places to Stay
  • Bansbani Lodge Manas

    Bansbani Lodge is near the entrance of Manas National Park, one of the top birding sites of Assam
  • Chang Bungalows - Diburgarh

    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

    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

    The Critically Endangered and Endangered Birds of Assam
  • National Parks of Assam

    Annotated list...

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