Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers and ornithologists. Over 670 species of birds have been recorded and many more are yet to be discovered. Around 50 species of the known birds are winter migrants. These include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings. The partial migrants to Bhutan include cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, warblers and flycatchers. The country harbors more than 16 species of vulnerable birds. They are the Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Grey bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogaon, Blyth’s King Fisher, Rumped Honey Guide, Purple Cochoa, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Red headed Parrot Bill, Chestnut breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark Rumped Swift, Rufous necked Hornbill, Grey crowned Prinia and the Beautiful Nuthatch all of which breed in Bhutan.
Bhutan is also home to ten species of birds that are in danger of extinction, including the Imperial Heron, which is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world and the rare black-necked crane, which breed in Tibet and then migrate over the Himalayas to Bhutan to spend their winter.
The country is an important wintering ground for the rare Black necked crane. They can be spotted in Phobjikha in Western Bhutan, Bumthang in Central Bhutan and in Bomdeling in Eastern Bhutan. They migrate to these winter roosting places in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March.
Flora and Fauna
Bhutan in the midst of the Himalayas prides itself in its biological diversity and the richness of flora and fauna. This has been possible because of its forest cover that is intact and the great altitudinal and climatic ranges of its location. Today, Bhutan boasts of ten protected areas covering 16,396.43 square kilometers, that is more than a quarter of the country’s total area.
Within its biodiversity realm, Bhutan contains more than 60 percent of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas. It also boasts of about 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, magnolias, orchids, blue poppy (the national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, daphne, giant rhubarb, pine and oak are also common sights that fill up the vegetation.
You can also come across a wide range of animals. Snow leopard, blue sheep, red panda, tiger, takin, marmot and musk deer are some of the species found in the high altitude while the Tiger, leopard, goral, gray langur, Himalayan black beer, red panda, sambar, wild pig, and barking deer are found in the temperate zones. The tropical forests in the south is a haven for tigers, clouded leopards, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalo, golden languor, gaur, swamp deer, hog deer, horn bills, amongst others.
You can experience this magnificent flora and fauna of Bhutan through sightseeing tours or by going further on trekking or hiking where trekking trails and routes leads through beautiful forests to high mountains and across clean rivers. Roads in Bhutan are also carved through the rich forests so anyone travelling through these roads can experience the intact nature of Bhutan.