House Sparrow Passer domesticus ©Pheanix Creative Commons Website
Birding Bihar

Bihar, pronunciation is a state in eastern India. Bihar is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size 38,202 sq mi (99,200 km²) and 3rd largest by population. Close to 85 per cent of the population lives in the rural countryside. Almost 58 per cent of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest in India. Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by the country Nepal in the north and by Jharkhand in the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages (once considered to be dialects of Hindi) – Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili or Angika. Ancient Bihar, known as Magadha, was a center of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India’s first empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world’s greatest pacifist religion, Buddhism. Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Patliputra, was an important center of Indian civilization.

Geography: Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile flat land. It is drained by the Ganges River, including northern tributaries Gandak and Koshi originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. The total area covered by the state of Bihar is 94,163 km². the state is located between 21°-58′-10″ N ~ 27°-31′-15″ N latitude and between 82°-19′-50″ E ~ 88°-17′-40″ E longitude. Its average elevation above sea level is 173 feet (53 m). The Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Falgu. The Himalayas begin at foothills a short distance inside Nepal but influence Bihar’s landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. The Himalayan Mountains are to the north of Bihar, in Nepal. To the south is the Chota Nagpur plateau, which was part of Bihar until 2000 but now is part of a separate state called Jharkhand. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area.Bihar is mildly cold in the winter (the lowest temperatures being around 5 to 10 degrees Celsius; 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer (with average highs around 35-40 Celsius; 95-105 Fahrenheit). April to mid June are the hot months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October & November and February & March have pleasant climate.

Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area. The sub Himalayan foothill of Someshwar and Dun ranges in Champaran district another belt of moist deciduous forests. These also consists of scrub, grass and reeds. Here the rainfall is above 1,600 mm and thus promotes luxuriant Sal forests in the favoured areas. The hot and dry summer gives the deduous forests. The most important trees are Shorea Robusta (Sal), Shisham, Cedrela Toona, Khair, and Semal. This type of forests also occurs in Saharsa district and Purnia district. Shorea Robusta (sal), Dispyros melanoxylon (kendu), Boswellia serrata (salai), Terminalia tomentose (Asan), Terminalia bellayoica (Bahera), Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun), Pterocarpus Marsupium (Paisar), Madhuca indica (Mahua) are the common flora across the forest of Bihar.The Ganges River dolphin, or “susu” occur in the Ganga and Brahmaputra, south Asia’s largest river systems. It can now be considered amongst the most endangered mammals of the region.The Ganges River dolphin ranges from 2.3 to 2.6 meters in length. The tail fluke is on average 46 cm in width. females are larger than males. The color of this dolphin varies from lead-colored to black. The undersides are lighter in color. The rostrum is 18 to 21 cm in length and the forehead is steep and rises abruptly from the base of the snout. The dorsal fin is rudimentary and ridge-like, and the ends of the pectoral fins are squared instead of tapered. The neck is visibly constricted and the blowhole is a longitudinal slit. There are 28 to 29 teeth on either side of the jaw. The eye and optic nerve of the Ganges river dolphin are degenerate. The eye lacks a lens and is therefore incapable of forming images on the retina. However, it functions in light-detection. It is believed that the lack of a true visual apparatus in the river dolphin is related to its habitat; the water in which it lives is so muddied that vision in essentially useless.Valmiki National Park, West Champaran district, covering about 800 km² of forest, is the 18th Tiger Reserve of India and is ranked fourth in terms of density of tiger population. It has diverse landscapes, sheltering rich wild life habitats and floral and faunal composition, with the prime pro tected carnivores.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 590

    (As at December 2018)

    State Bird:- House Sparrow Passer domesticus


Abbreviations Key

  • BS IBA Barela Jheel Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The lake attracts many waterfowl in winter but is also home to around 150 resident bird species.
  • BS IBA WII Nakti Dam & Nagi Dam

    InformationSatellite View
    The Nagi Dam (791 ha) and Nakti Dam (332 ha) are two sanctuaries so close to each other that they can be taken as one bird area. Nagi is c. 7 km from Jhagha in the district Jamui, and Nakti is a further c. 4 km from Nagi, occupying similar habitat. These notified sanctuaries are surrounded by rocky hillocks, formed by the damming of streams. Both these waterbodies are quite deep, with a clear water surface. These dams were built to supply water to local farms. There are cultivable lands adjacent to both the waterbodies. Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus, Indian Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus, Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus and Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata can be found in the drier areeas and in winter the dams can attract 20,000 waterfowl,
  • BS Kanwar Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    The Kanwar Taal or Kabar Taal Lake located in Begusarai district of Bihar, India, is Asia's largest freshwater oxbow lake. It is approximately three times the size of the Bharatpur Sanctuary.
  • NP Betla

    InformationSatellite View
    Betla National Park is a national park located on the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in the Latehar district of Jharkhand, India. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife. Birds include the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white-necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, pied hornbill, wagtail, harial, dove, drongo, crested serpent-eagle, forest owlet, papeeha, and other birds usually found in dry deciduous forests. The Kamaldah lake attracts several varieties of water birds including the common whistling, cotton teal, knob-billed duck, snipe and geese.
  • NP WS TR Valmiki

    InformationSatellite View
    At present 241 bird species have been reported from VTR. Some of the interesting birds of VTR are Nepal kaleej pheasant, three-toed quail, flycatcher, grey shrike, green willow warbler, tree pipit, white eye, green barbet, waders, ibises, storks, pitta, plovers, snipes, pied hornbill, emerald dove. Mammals include Tiger, Rhinoceros, Black bear, Leopard, Wild dog, wild buffalo, wild boar etc. There are several species of deer and antelopes found in VTR which are barking deer, spotted deer, Hog deer, Shambhar, Blue bull. In places the park shares a border with Chitwan NP, Nepal.
  • WS Bhimbandh

    InformationSatellite View
    Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Bihar in the south west of Munger district near Jamui district. 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.
  • WS Gautam Budha

    InformationSatellite View
    Gautam Budha Wildlife Sanctuary (also spelled Gautam Buddha) is a wildlife sanctuary located in Gaya district of Bihar state and Koderma district of Jharkhand state in east-central India. The refuge covers portions of the Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests and Chota Nagpur dry deciduous forests ecoregions. Fauna include tigers, leopards, wolves, sloth bears, chitals, chinkaras, and many species of birds.
  • WS Hazaribahg Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    An abundance of wild animals is a very pleasant sight. Wild bear, Nilgai, Chital and Kakar can be seen at dusk and dawn, gambolling and enjoying themselves in the waters of the lake. The tiger and panther, exclusive attractions at this sanctuary demand extreme patience from the viewer. Hazaribagh perhaps holds more Sambhars than any other area of comparable size. The 1970 census has established the presence of 14 tigers, 25 Panthers and 400 Sambars.
  • WS Kaimur

    InformationSatellite View
    Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Kaimur District of Bihar, near the town of Bhabhua. It is the largest sanctuary in the state and occupies an area of about 1342 km2.
  • WS TR Palamau

    InformationSatellite View
    There are good motorable roads inside the park that offer the motorists a close view of the wild in the dense forests. Providing excellent opportunities for observing the animals, without causing any disturbance, There are two towers and a tree top tower. There are around 150 bird species in the park as well as Tigers, elephants leopard and may other mammals.
Other Links
  • Birding in Patna and around….

    I will start this with a note that I was scheduled to do a halt at Patna and wanted to tap into the birding community at Patna to guide me. Facebook and online search did not yield any strong communities. Then I searched for individuals who posted bird pictures from Patna. I contacted a couple of them but got no response. This leads me to believe that there are no strong birding presence around here. All the same the trees and the location of this city (on banks of river Ganges) could not be without birds of so much variety…
  • Subhash P Gupta - Birds in Bihar

    An attempt towards digitization of Avian world of Bihar.

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