Bhutan Bird Route Tour

Starts from Samdrup Jongkhar, Eastern Bhutan and ends in Paro, Western Bhutan

Satyr Tragopan
Satyr Tragopan

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Himalayan Wedge-billed Babbler
Himalayan Wedge-billed Babbler

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Yellow-rumped Honeyguide
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide

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Satyr Tragopan
Satyr Tragopan

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Tour overview

From:  2 - 18 April 2023

17 days

      16 nights in twin bed hotels

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      1-12 people

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      350 bird species

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      Subtropical to subalpine habitats

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      150-3,822m/492-12,539ft elevation

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      Moderate pace tour

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      Mountain zigzag roads

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      1-30 °C (33.8-86°F)

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Objective: The objective is to take you to birds in various habitats during the spring breeding season.

Bird Type: We will encounter birds of restricted-range of Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area in Bhutan, IUCN Red List bird species, highly sought after birds and local bird species that are less frequently sighted. Himalayan Wedge-billed Babbler, one of the two endemic birds of the Eastern Himalayas, is one of the highlights on this route too.
Bird Habitat: The tour passes through tropical/subtropical evergreen and mixed forests at 150m/492ft, temperate broadleaved deciduous forests and subalpine conifers shrubs at 3,436masl/11,272ft. The habitats consist of five Important Bird Areas (IBA), protected parks, biological corridors and important non-protected areas, which are exceptionally diverse habitats and healthy birdlife.
Habitat Location: The habitats are in 7 districts of varying diversity. The tour begins from Samdrup Jongkhar, Eastern Bhutan and ends in Paro, Western Bhutan. 
Bird No:  We expect to encounter about 350 bird species along this trail.  
Birding Season: One of best birding seasons in Bhutan.
Bird Detail: The bird species in detail are in the detailed itinerary below.

Tour price starts from US$5,400 per person

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Tour Outline
Detailed Itinerary
Bird Family
Price and Service
Tour Advice

Day 1. Arrival at Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 2. Birding in Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 3. Samdrupjongkhar to Trashigang

Day 4. Trashigang to Mongar

Day 5. Mongar to Lingmethang to Yongkala

Day 6. Day 7. Birding in Yongkala

Day 8. Yongkala to Bumthang

Day 9. Bumthang to Trongsa

Day 10. Trongsa to Tingtibi

Day 11. Birding in Tingtibi

Day 12. Tingtibi to Trongsa

Day 13. Trongsa to Punakha

Day 14. Birding in Punakha

Day 15. Punakha to Paro

Day 16. Birding in Paro

Day 17. Depart for home

Day 1.Arrival at Samdrup Jongkhar

After receiving you at the Guwahati Airport, Assam in India, we drive to your hotel at Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan. We are in Important Bird Area (IBA) 21in Bhutan. It is a small town with characteristics of a tropical climate in Bhutan that borders Assam, India. Towards the evening, birding around the hotel is amazing as we are likely to encounter a rarely seen IUCN Red List near threatened Blyth’s Kingfisher(rare). Other bird species we could see are Asian Fairy Bluebird, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, White-tailed Robin, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Green-billed Malkoha, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Great Tit, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher and Emerald Dove. 

Night:Hotel Menjong (160m/525ft), Samdrup Jongkhar

 

Day 2.Birding in Samdrup Jongkhar

Early in the morning, we drive along the Bangtar road looking for all the four species of Hornbills (Rufous-necked, Great, Wreathed, and Oriental Pied). Except for Oriental Pied Hornbill, the other three attractive and beautiful birds are under IUCN’s vulnerable statusat present. Another highlight of birding in this stretch is watching for restricted-range bird species of Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA), which Bhutan is a part of this Endemic Bird Area. While Beautiful Sibia is restricted-range bird, vulnerable Dark-rumped Swift(rarity) is one of the restricted-range birds and also threatened species in IUCN Red List. 

 

Other birds to look out for along the trails are Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Silver-breasted Broadbill (rarity), Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Slaty-backed Forktail, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Woodpeckers (Grey-headed, Fulvous-breasted and Rufous), Barbets (Great, Golden-throated, Blue-throated), Hooded Pitta, Black-naped Monarch, Common Iora and Ashy Wood Pigeon.

Night:Hotel Menjong (160m/525ft), Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 3.Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang via Morong and Narphung—180km, 6hrs 30min 

We drive early in the morning, leaving behind the humid tropical vegetation and moving deeper into higher subtropical elevation (about 1,700m), to watch White-crowned Forktail (Locally rare). Higher up the elevations, we stop at Morong, which is another amazing birding spot and an Important Bird Area (IBA) 21for Beautiful Nuthatch(the most sought after specie), Rufous-backed Sibia, Laughingthrushes (Bhutan, White-crested, Striated), Spot-winged Grosbeak, Accipiters like Shikra, Northern Goshawk, Besra, Raptors such as Mountain Hawk Eagle, near threatened Rufous-bellied Eagle, Black Eagle, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Short-billed Minivet, Drongos (Hair-crested, Bronzed).  

 

At the end of this Important Bird Area, we enter the temperate broadleaved forests vegetation and pass through villages and sparse settlements. Occasionally stopping along the roads for pristine nature, rolling hills, mountains, birds, we drive to Trashigang, which is located in the subtropical climate with mixed forests.  

Night:Druk Deothjung (1,210m/3,979ft), Trashigang

 

Day 4.Trashigang to Mongar—91km, 3hrs 30min 

In the morning, we continue towards Monger keeping our eye on Spot-winged Starling, Himalayan Bulbul, Red-rumped Swallow, and Eurasian Golden Oriole. 

 

Our next stop is at Kori La Pass for Fire-tailed Myzornis (one of the most sought after specie), Golden-naped Finch, Niltavas (Large, Rufous-bellied), Olive-backed Pipit, Grey-winged Blackbird, White-tailed Nuthatch, Warblers (Ashy-throated, Grey-hooded), Striated Bulbul and Green-tailed Sunbird. 

Night:Wangchuk Hotel (1,600m/5,249ft), Mongar

 

Day 5.Mongar to Yongkala—35km, 2hrs 30min 

We resume our journey through Chir Pine forest and stop for birding at Lingmethang stretch for possible species such as Black-tailed Crake in the marshland. Some of the target species in this stretch are Crested Bunting, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Crimson Sunbird, Common Buzzard, Rufous-breasted Accentor and Scaly-breasted Munia. 

 

Towards the evening, we explore along the Lingmethang riverside for Tawny Fish Owl (the most sought after specie),IUCN Red List endangered Steppe Eagle, Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Ashy Bulbul and Silver-eared Mesia.

Night:Trogon Villa (1,600m/5,249ft), Yongkala

 

Day 6. and Day 7.Birding in Yongkala 

We have reached cool broad-leaved forest of Phrumsengla National Park, Important Bird Area (IBA) 16, which is one of the best birding stretches in Bhutan.

Early in the morning, we drive along Yongkala-Namling road for restricted-range bird species of Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area(EBA), which Bhutan is a part of this Endemic Area. 

 

While these birds are the restricted-range, some of them are also threatened species in IUCN Red List. Vulnerable Chestnut-breasted Partridge, near threatened Ward’s Trogon (the most sought after specie), near threatened Rufous-throated Wren-babblerare not only under IUCN Red List, they are also the restricted-range birds of the Endemic Area. The other restricted-range birds like Hoary-throated Barwing, and Yellow-vented Warblerare also in this habitat.

 

Another important highlight of this birding trail is to look out for the endemic bird Himalayan Wedge-billed Babbler(rarity to only find in this habitat). While it is a restricted-range bird of the Endemic Area, it is also near threatened of IUCN Red List, and more importantly, it is one of the two endemic birds of Eastern Himalayas found in Bhutan. The other endemic bird Cachar Wedge-billed Babbler is found in the habitats of North Eastern India in Mizoram state.

 

Additionally, along this trail, we look for other equally important birds are Flycatchers (Pygmy Blue, and Snowy-browed), Rufous-throated Partridge, a majestic and vulnerable Rufous-necked Hornbill, Lesser Shortwing, Wren Babblers (Pygmy, Long-billed, and Scaly-breasted), Parrotbills (Black-throated, Grey-headed, and Greater Rufous-headed), Himalayan Cutia, Fulvettas (Golden-breasted, Yellow-throated, Nepal, and Rufous-winged), Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, White-browed Piculet, Small Niltava, Tesias (Grey-bellied, and Slaty-bellied), Sivas (Bar-throated, Blue-winged), Rusty-fronted Barwing,  Blanford’s Rosefinch, Scarlet Finch and Brown-throated Treecreeper.

 

In the following morning, we drive through Yongkala-Tsamang road for vulnerable Beautiful Nuthatch (rarity), Red-faced Liocichla, Laughingthrushes (Blue-winged, Rufous-chinned, and Scaly), Shrike-babblers (White-browed, and Black-eared), Grey Treepie, Flycatchers  (Little Pied, Pale Blue, White-gorgeted, and Ferrugenous), Owlets (Collared, Asian Barred), Mountain Scops Owl, Babblers (Golden, Grey-throated, and Rufous-capped), Golden Bush Robin, Black-throated Sunbird, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Streaked Spiderhunter, Green-crowned Warbler, Black-faced, Rufous-faced, White-spectacled and Grey-cheeked), Yellow-bellied Fairy Fantail and Minivets (Scarlet, and Long-tailed). 

 

Note: After the dusk we will be engaged for few hours in spotlighting for Hodgson’s Frogmouth (rarity) and Oriental Bay Owl (rarity).

Night:Trogon Villa Lodge (1,600m/5,249ft), Yongkala

 

Day 8.Yongkala to Bumthang/Chumey via Thrumsengla pass —180km, 6hrs 30 min 

Today, we will be ascending from broad-leaved forest Yongkala to mixed conifer forest of Bumthang. On the way, we will be stopping for Shrike-babbler (Black-headed and Green), Gould’s Shortwing (locally rare and skulker), and Spotted Laughingthrush.  

 

As we enter the mixed conifer of Bumthang, we will be looking for near threatened Satyr Tragopan(the most sought after pheasant), Blood Pheasant(Ithaginis cruentus tibetanus- subspecies distributed in the eastern region only), Bar-winged Wren Babbler (specialty), Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler, Parrotbills  (Great, & Fulvous), Goldcrest, Gould’s Shortwing, Red Crossbill, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Spotted Nutcracker and Crimson-browed Finch.

 

After the dusk, we will spend some time looking for Himalayan Wood Owl (specialty) around the corner.

Night:Chumey Nature Resort (2,935m/9,629ft), Chumey

 

Day 9.Bumthang to Trongsa via Yotongla Pass—68km, 2hrs 30min 

Early in the morning, we drive up to Tharpaling monastery for Himalayan Monal(a close up encounter), Red-billed Chough, Beautiful Rosefinch, Snow Pigeon, White-winged Grosbeak, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Brown Bullfinch, Altai Accentor, White-browed Rosefinch, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, and White-throated Redstart. 

On the way back, we will be looking for Black-rumped Magpie (local resident) and Great Parrotbill, which we will enjoy the sighting once again.

Night:Yangkhil Resort (2,080m/6,824ft), Trongsa

 

Day 10.Trongsa to Tingtibi—105km, 4hrs 

Today, we will be driving through cool broad-leaved forest and look for species like–White-browed Piculet, Eurasian Woodcock, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Swift, Nepal House Martin, Asian House Martin, White-throated Needletail, Asian Palm Swift, Himalayan Swiftlet, Common Rosefinch, Tibetan Siskin, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch and Rufous-bellied Woodpecker.

Night:Twang Hotel (570m/1,870ft), Tingtibi

 

Day 11.Birding in Tingtibi (Gomphu road)

We are in warm broad-leaved forest already. Early in the morning we drive along the Gomphu road and look for bamboo specialist species; - White-hooded Babbler (rarity), Pale-billed Parrotbill (rarity), Pale-headed Woodpecker (rarity) and Yellow-bellied Warbler. 

Along this part of the trail, the two restricted-range birds of the Endemic Bird Area are Broad-billed Warbler and White-naped Yuhina.Some of the other specialty birds along this road are ICUN Red List vulnerable Great Hornbill, vulnerable Grey-crowned Prinia.

 

Other bird species like Red-headed Trogon, Imperial Pigeons (Mountain, Green), Ashy Wood Pigeon, Green Pigeons (Pin-tailed, Wedge-tailed), Black-hooded Oriole, Yellow-vented Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Yuhinas (Striated, Black-chinned), Cuckoos (Violet, Chestnut-winged), Tesias (Chestnut-headed, Slaty-bellied), Asian Barred Owlet, Brown Hawk Owl, Long-tailed Sibia, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Silver-eared Mesia, Falconets (Collared, Pied (rarity), Amur Falcon, Sooty Falcon, Green Bee-eater, Babblers (Grey-throated, Puff-throated), Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher, Sultan Tit, White-browed Scimitar Babbler and Martins (Eurasian Crag, Plain).

Night:Twang Hotel (570m/1,870ft), Tingtibi

 

Day 12.Tingtibi to Trongsa—105km, 4hrs 

On the way back, you will be looking for restricted-range and IUCN Red List vulnerable Dark-rumped Swift, Kalij Pheasant(Lophura leucomelanos melanota), Woodpeckers (Grey-capped Pygmy, Fulvous-breasted), Yellownapes (Greater, Lesser), Eurasian Wryneck, Speckled Piculet, Nightjars (Savana, Long-tailed), Cuckoos (Drongo, Indian), Minivets (Grey-chinned, Short-billed), Drongos (Greater Racket-tailed, Lesser Racket-tailed), Prinias (Striated, Rufescent, Hill Prinia, Black-throated, Grey-breasted) and Bulbuls (Red-whiskered, Black-crested).

Night:Yangkhil Resort (2,080m/6,824ft), Trongsa.

 

Day 13.Trongsa to Punakha—138km, 4hrs 30 min

As we drive towards Punakha, we will be stopping on the way for Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Brown Parrotbill, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Kalij Pheasant(Lophura leucomelanos lathami), Laughingthrushes(Chestnut-crowned, White-throated), Red-billed Leiothrix,  White-browed Shrike-babbler, White-browed Fulvetta, Green-tailed Sunbird, Eurasian Jay, Yuhinas (Stripe-throated, Whiskered), Little Forktail, IUCN Red List near threatened Bearded Vulture andGriffon Vulture. 

Night:Meri Puensum Resort (1,340m/4,396ft), Punakha.

 

 

Day 14.Birding in Punakha 

Early in the morning, as we drive through Gasa highway (Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park), Important Bird Area (IBA) 1, we expect to see species like Spotted Elachura(a monotypic species), Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Maroon Oriole, Mountain Bulbul, White-bellied Erpornis, Black-chinned Yuhina, Black-throated Sunbird, Forktails (Spotted, Black-backed), Treecreepers (Hodgson’s, Rusty-flanked), White-tailed Nuthatch and Thrushes (Plain-backed, Long-tailed, Scaly).

 

During the afternoon birding, we will drive along the Pho Chhu river, Important Bird Area (IBA) 8, for critically endangered White-bellied Heron, vulnerable Greater Spotted Eagle, endangered Pallas’s Fish Eagle, and near threatened River Lapwing. The vulnerable waterfowls Common Pochard and near threatened Ferruginous Duckare also seen in this habitat. 

 

Along the river, while birding for other birds like Brown Dipper, Kingfishers (Crested, Common), Osprey and White-browed Wagtail, we will encounter bird spices of waders: Sandpipers (Common, Green), Timminck’s Stint, Plovers (Little-ringed, Long-billed) and waterfowls, which are migratory. They are Mandarin Duck, Northern Pintail, Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Bar-headed Goose and Eastern Spot-billed Duck.

Night:Meri Puensum Resort (1,340m/4,396ft), Punakha.

 

Day 15.Punakha to Paro—125km, 3hrs 30min

On our way to Paro, we will be looking for IUCN Red List near threatened Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (rarity), Little Bunting, Slender-billed Oriole, Flycatchers (Ultramarine, Little Pied, Dark-sided, Rufous-gorgeted, Verditer), Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, White-browed Shortwing, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Plain Mountain Finch, Tits (Rufous-fronted, Black-throated), Bush Warblers (Brown-flanked, Grey-sided, Aberrant, Chestnut-crowned), Bush Robins (Rufous-breasted, White-browed), Himalayan Bluetail, Blue-fronted Robin (rarity), Cuckoos (Lesser, Large Hawk, Oriental, Eurasian), Maroon-backed Accentor, Scarlet Finch and Speckled Wood Pigeon.

Night:Tashi Namgay Resort (2,250m/7,382ft), Paro.

 

Day 16.Birding in Paro (Birding at Chele La pass and back to Paro)—34km, 1hr 30min

During the early morning drive to Chelela pass, we focus our attention on pheasants once again—Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus cruentus, which is a subspecies found in western region of Bhutan), near threatened Satyr Tragopan, Collared Grosbeak (rarity), Alpine Accentor, Olive-backed Pipit, Red-headed Bullfinch, Dark-rumped Rosefinch, Yellow-bellied Fairy Fantail, Indian Blue Robin, Large-billed Warbler, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Tits (Grey-crested, Rufous-vented, Coal, Yellow-browed) and White-bellied Redstart(rarity).

 

In the afternoon, we will bird along the Pa Chhu (Paro river). Highlighted species in this stretch are Ibisbill (specialty), Brown Dipper (rarity), Solitary Snipe (rarity), Wallcreeper (specialty), Black-tailed Crake, Redstarts (Plumbeous, Hodgson’s, White-capped), White Wagtail, and Rosy Pipit.

Night:Tashi Namgay Resort (2,250m/7,382ft), Paro.

 

Day 17.Depart for home

Accipitridae

Aegithalidae

Aegithanidae

Alaudidae

Alcedinidae

Anatidae

Apodidae

Ardeidae

Artamidae

Bucerotidae

Burhinidae

Campephagidae

Caprimulgidae

Certhiidae

Charadriidae

Chloropseidae

Ciconiidae

Cinclidae

Cisticolidae

Columbidae

Coraciidae

Corvidae

Cuculidae

Dicaeidae

Dicruridae

Emberizidae

Estrildidae

Eurylaimidae

Falconidae

Fringiliidae

Glareolidae

Hemiprocnidae

Hirundinidae

Ibidorhynchidae

Indicatoridae

Irenidae

Jacanidae

Laniidae

Laridae

Meropidae

Monarchidae

Motacillidae

Muscicapidae

Nectariniidae

Oriolidae

Paridae

Passeridae

Phalacrocoracidae

Phasianidae

Picidae

Pittidae

Ploceidae

Podargidae

Podicipedidae

Prunellidae

Psittacidae

Pycnonotidae

Rallidae

Ramphastidae

Recurvirostridae

Regulidae

Rhipiduridae

Rostratulidae

Scolopacidae

Sittidae

Strigidae

Sturnidae

Sylviidae

Threskiornithidae

Timaliidae

Troglodytidae

Trogonidae

Turdidae

Turnicidae

Tytonidae

Upupidae

Zosteropidae

Package price and services for the duration of the tour

Price*** for the Dragon Birds Birding Tour is below:

1 Person                                                 US$ 8,200

 Per person for 2 people                        US$ 6,200

 Per person for 3 people or more           US$ 5,400

Note: ***The price of birding tours is slightly higher than other types of tours due to the overtime birding guide services, higher vehicle mileage, additional energy consumption due to frequent and repetitive movements to spot birds in their habitats, continuous additional operational backstops, etc.

Services from package price

    The package price covers

 

  • Twin bed sharing accommodation in 3 star registered hotels with Bhutan's Tourism Council 

  • Three meals during your tour

  • All ground transports with a designated driver

  • Competent english speaking tour guide 

  • Fees for sightseeing and landmarks as per the itinerary

  • US$65 Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) for government, which finances free education, free medicines, free social services etc 

  • Standard SUV is included as per the Minimum Daily Rate.  (In case you wish to have Toyota SUVs for your maximum comfort for the mountain roads, we can arrange them for you at an additional price - consult us.)

The package price does not cover

  • Your Travel insurance

  • Your health insurance

  • One time visa fees

  • Airfares

  • Domestic flights

  • Bank transfer fees

  • Single room supplements

  • Extra activities not mentioned in the itinerary

  • Alcohol and beverages

  • Personal laundry and calls etc

Clothes, medical kit, inoculation and insurance

 

Clothes

For spring season, bring light cloths, comfortable walking shoes, sunshades, windproof jacket, light sweaters etc.

Emergency Medical kit

However, we have basic emergency medical kit, we request you to bring anti-diarrhea tablets and dissolvable powder to drink, antibiotic tablets for emergency purpose, water cleansing tablets, paracetamol, band-aid etc.

 

Inoculation

Hepatitis A and B inoculations as required by your medical doctor.

            

Insurance (mandatory)

Health/Medical Issuance and Travel insurance are mandatory.