Follow That Bird
- sydney's birding company

Bhutan -
Land of the Thunder Dragon
Trip Report

hornbill, great
Great Hornbill by Andrian O'Neill
Our group assembled at Bangkok Airport at 3:30 am in various states of sleep deprivation. After several hours in the air and a stop off in India we arrived at the most beautiful airport in the world and the only one in Bhutan at Paro. Here we met my good friend Karma and our reliable and trusted driver Tshering. We were soon enjoying some great birds with superb views of Ibisbill, Hoopoe and skulking Black-tailed Crake whilst towards the end of the day a rare Yellow-rumped Honeyguide was an excellent finishing touch.

After a good nights sleep we set out to enjoy the Buddhist kingdom's superb forest birding at Dochu La, a site with 128 stupas. Many colourful species perched up at eye-level with constant new sightings keeping all on their toes and wrapping their linguistic skills around entirely new bird words like minla and fulvetta to mention a few. Some highlights included a dazzling pair of Eurasian Hobbies, a frustrating Indian Blue Robin and a knockout Hoary-throated Barwing. We descended to Punakha and made a journey out to a site for one of the world's rarest birds. We were in luck and had a superb audience with the gentle giant known as the White-bellied Heron. It even swallowed a fish for us. Back to the hotel and a bit of spotlighting turned up a concerned Collared Scops-Owl whose chick had tumbled out of the nest. A rescue plan was hatched and the chick was returned to its nest after being set up in a box overnight.

Up early and off to Tashitang a stunning forested location with a powerful Himalayan river thundering through. Plenty of good birds to take in, ranging from the jewel-like Small Niltava to shy Slaty-backed Forktails. In the afternoon a visit to the Punakha Dzongıs inner sanctum is always a humbling experience with Karma's specialist interpretation bringing the complexity of Tantric Buddhism to life. In the late afternoon we explored Chir Pine woodland around the hotel and spotted a pair of Kalij Pheasants, an excellent Grey-bellied Cuckoo whilst on dusk we had a super view of Grey Nightjar.

Our next day saw us exploring to a new site in the Hebisa district. Spectacular waterfalls and incredible volumes of water descending the river were simply mesmerising. We were not to be disappointed as we found some exceptional birds on this day. Three outstanding trip highlights came in the form of Spot-winged Starlings, Tickell's Thrush and at least five Yellow-bellied Flowerpeckers; all great Bhutan rarities and Himalayan specialties. Termites on the wing on this day made for an "all you can eat buffet" for the many insectivorous birds. Many shy species kept flying out in front of us seizing their protein rich parcels. A perched Mountain Hawk-Eagle in the scope was also notable showing off his fine crest.

In Wangdi early the next morning we were serenaded by Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babblers. On the drive to breakfast we found Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babblers with chicks. In the afternoon we had cosmic views of the incredible Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler, a scarce bamboo specialist. It had to be scimitar-babbler day. Not to be outdone though the bush-warblers put in some stiff competition with two special skulkers giving wonderful views: the Aberrant and rather bizarre songful Brown. Also not to be forgotten a superb pair of Scaly Laughingthrushes we scoped buried in a dense bush preening each other. We arrived into our spectacular hotel in Trongsa surprised to find a pair of Golden Langurs on the wrong side of the Mangde Chu River.

From Trongsa we journeyed to Shemgang. It was another day of rich-birding. A Silver-eared Mesia put on a performance worthy of an Oscar. A very responsive Red-faced Liocichla gave several views but was typically skittish. Late in the afternoon we encountered our first male Rufous-necked Hornbill-quite a bird. After some re-arranging we settled into our basic but comfortable guest-house for the night.

sunbird, mrs goulds
Mrs Goulds Sunbird by Adrian O'Neill
The following day we journeyed to Tingtibi to explore some giant bamboo forests. It was arguably the best day's birding of the entire trip. It seemed there was always something to look at. We kicked off with the localised White-throated Bulbul, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler and flocks of Striated Yuhina. We graduated to Yellow-bellied and Rufous-faced Warblers and then all hell broke loose when we found a mixed flock with both Indian White-hooded Babblers and the almost mythical Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill present. A pair of pocket-sized Collared Falconets made for a beautiful sight, the bizarre Blue-bearded Bee-eater made a welcome appearance and then there was the world's tamest Great Hornbill.

Backtracking the following day started with heavy rain. It gradually gave way and we enjoyed another Rufous-necked Hornbill. Karma made an exceptional discovery in the form of a pair of female Asian Paradise Flycatchers. Other goodies included Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Speckled Piculet and the scarce Grey-headed Parrotbill. A road-killed Macllellandıs Coral Snake appears to be unreported from Bhutan. Our second last day was mostly a travel day. We enjoyed some birding at Pele La in the high altitude fir and bamboo zone. Red-headed Bullfinch was a good sighting. A drake Eurasian Wigeon was a turn-up at the Thimphu Sewage Pond. Good work Rosemary. We made it in good time to Paro and enjoyed an excellent feed of Indian food at the Dechen Hill Cottage.

So to our final day in the Himalayan kingdom-birding at Cheli La-a pass that almost reaches 4000 metres above sea-level. Despite annoying periods of rain we made the most of it and came up with some very good sightings including several smart looking Blood Pheasants and a female Himalayan Monal. We found a fallout of mixed rosefinches and grosbeaks. Our ever reliable camp crew of Tandin (cook), Kinley (assistant cook) and Ugyen (driver and waiter) who had prepared so many wonderful field breakfast, lunches and dinners in so many scenic and altitudinal varied locations did us proud again. It was sad to say farewell. Wildflowers were in good form with pockets of stunning irises, bramble roses and rhododendrons including the tubular Rhodendron fulgens. It was a great day.

So we finished our tour with some 238 birds recorded and a bunch of interesting mammals. Many thanks to Patricia, Phyllis, Jillian, Rosemary and Adrian, for making this special journey to Bhutan with Follow That Bird.

Dion Hobcroft 24 July 2008

Hill Partridge: Heard only on 6 days; a highly elusive species.
Rufous-throated Partridge: Heard only on 2 days.
Blood Pheasant: (12) in three small groups seen at Cheli La.
Satyr Tragopan: Heard below Trongsa on 18 Jun.
Himalayan Monal: (1) female seen at Cheli La.
Kalij Pheasant: (2) at Punakha, (1) Tingtibi and (1) Shemgang.

Gadwall: (2) at Punakha and (1) Wangdi
Eurasian Wigeon: (1) drake at Thimphu on 19 Jun. Good work by Rosemary on this one.

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide: (1) near Cheri on 11 Jun and (1) between Punakha and Pele La on 15 Jun. Both males at Rock Bee hive sites on cliff faces.

Speckled Piculet: (1) at Khoshela gave a great view on 18 Jun.
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker: (2) on 14 and (1) on 17 Jun.
Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker: (2) on 17 Jun near Tingtibi.
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker: (1) seen by Karma on 13 Jun at Punakha.
Darjeeling Woodpecker: (1) near Trongsa on 16 Jun.
Rufous Woodpecker: Heard at Khoshela on 18 Jun.
Lesser Yellownape: (1-2) seen on 4 days.
Greater Yellownape: (1-4) seen on 4 days.
Grey-headed Woodpecker: (1) on both 13-14 Jun. Heard on two other dates.
Bay Woodpecker: Heard on 4 days; typically very elusive.

Great Barbet: (2-10) seen on 6 days and heard on 2 other dates. A common bird.
Golden-throated Barbet: (2-4) seen on 3 days and heard on one other.
Blue-throated Barbet: (1-10) seen on 4 days and heard on one other.

langur, golden
Golden Langur by Adrian O'Neill

Great Hornbill: (2) on 17 Jun near Tingtibi including the very tame one photographed by all. (1) at Khoshela on 18 Jun was a surprise.
Rufous-necked Hornbill: (1) seen on three days around Shemgang. Some good views of this threatened species.

Common Hoopoe: (1-4) seen on 6 days giving everyone great views of this enigmatic species.

Common Kingfisher: (1) at Punakha on 13 Jun.

White-throated Kingfisher: (1-2) seen on three days.
Crested Kingfisher: (1) on 12 Jun at Punakha and (1) on 14 Jun near Hebisa.

Blue-bearded Bee-eater: (1) well spotted by Patricia near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo: Heard only on 6 days.
Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo: (1) seen by Dion at Tashitang on 13 Jun. Heard on 4 other days. This population is split as Whistling Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx nisicolor in Rasmussen and Anderton 2005.
Indian Cuckoo: Heard only on 3 days.
Common Cuckoo: Singles seen on 3 days and heard on 2 others.
Oriental Cuckoo: (2) at Dochu La on 12 Jun and heard on 3 other days.
Lesser Cuckoo: Singles seen on 3 days and heard on 3 others.
Grey-bellied Cuckoo: (1) at Punakha on 13 Jun gave a great view thanks to Adrian. Also heard near the White-bellied Heron site on 12 Jun and Wangdi on 19 Jun. A trip highlight for me.
Plaintive Cuckoo: (1) Hebisa on 14 Jun and heard on 16 Jun.
Drongo Cuckoo: (1-4) seen on 3 days and heard on 1 other. This population is split as Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus dicruroides in Rasmussen and Anderton 2005.
Asian Koel: Heard at Punakha on 13 Jun.

Himalayan Swiftlet: (5-20) recorded on 7 days.
White-throated Needletail: (2) on 13 Jun between Punakha and Tashitang.
Fork-tailed Swift: (2-20) seen on 6 days; nesting on cliff faces.

Collared Scops-Owl: (1) adult seen on 2 days at Punakha where a chick had fallen out of a nest. The chick was returned to the nest which contained at least one other.
Collared Owlet: Heard only on 16 Jun.
Asian Barred Owlet: (1) on 14 Jun at Hebisa.

Grey Nightjar: (1-2) at Punakha on 12-13 Jun.

Rock Pigeon: (50-100) seen daily.
Speckled Wood-Pigeon: (4) near Dochu La on 12 Jun; (3) on 20 Jun at Cheli La. A good result for this scarce species.
Oriental Turtle-Dove: (10-50) recorded daily.
Spotted Dove: (5-20) recorded on 8 days.
Barred Cuckoo-Dove: (2-10) recorded on 3 days.
Emerald Dove: (2-4) recorded on 17-18 Jun near Shemgang and Tingtibi.
Wedge-tailed Green-Pigeon: (1-10) recorded on 7 days and heard on 1 other.
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon: (1) on 12 Jun below Dochu La was an interesting record.

Black-tailed Crake: (1) near Paro on 11 Jun was secretive with (1) on 14 Jun at Hebisa walking around the bus and on the road!

Ibisbill: (2) at Paro on 11 Jun; (1) near Punakha on both 12-13 Jun. A good result for this iconic bird.

River Lapwing: (1-8) seen on 5 days.

Oriental Honey-buzzard: (1) on 12 Jun below Dochu La gave a good view.
Crested Serpent-Eagle: (1) on 15 Jun gave a great perched view.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk: (1) on 15 Jun flew over Pele La.
Common Buzzard: (1) at Pele La on 15 Jun and (2) 20 Jun at Cheli La. This population is split as Himalayan Buzzard Buteo burmanicus in Rasmussen and Anderton 2005.
Black Eagle: (1) Paro on 11 Jun, (1) on 17 Jun and (6) on 18 Jun; one attempting to strike a Giant Squirrel at Khoshela on this last date.
Rufous-bellied Eagle: An adult on 16 Jun near Trongsa.
Mountain Hawk-Eagle: (1-2) seen on 3 dates.

bush-warbler, aberrant
Aberrant Bush-warbler by Adrian O'Neill
Common Kestrel: (2) on 11 Jun near Paro and (2) on 13 Jun at Punakha.
Eurasian Hobby: (2) on 12 Jun near Dochu La and (1) hunting over agricultural land below Trongsa on 18 Jun.
Collared Falconet: (2) photographed near Tingtibi on 17 Jun was a trip highlight for me.

White-bellied Heron: (1) near Punakha on 12 Jun swallowed a fish. Always a highlight to see this critically endangered dinosaur heron.
Cattle Egret: (1) near Paro on 11 Jun; (30) near Punakha on 12 Jun with (2) on drive to Tashitang on 13 Jun. Several in breeding plumage. My first Bhutan sightings of this largely cosmopolitan species. Split as Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus in Rasmussen and Anderton 2005

Orange-bellied Leafbird: (1) seen on 2 days but some great views of this colourful species.

Grey-backed Shrike: (1-20) seen on 6 days: common in high altitude agricultural country.
Long-tailed Shrike: (2-4) seen on 7 days: common in lower altitude agricultural country.

Grey Treepie: (2-10) seen on 7 days
Spotted Nutcracker: (2-20) seen on 4 days; notably common at Cheli La.
Yellow-billed Blue Magpie: (3-10) seen on 4 days with several great views. One pair seen behaving like oxpeckers.
Common Green Magpie: (1) on 16 Jun at Shemgang.
Eurasian Jay: (1-5) seen on 4 days with most near Trongsa.
House Crow: (5) seen on both days in the streets of Thimphu with (1) Punakha.
Large-billed Crow: (2-10) seen daily
Red-billed Chough: (1-10) seen in the Paro and Cheli La area on two days.

Maroon Oriole: (1-3) seen on 3 days
Slender-billed Oriole: (1-3) seen around the hotel in Punakha. A good sighting of a scarce bird.

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike: (2-4) seen on 4 days.
Grey-chinned Minivet: (1-10) seen on 3 days.
Long-tailed Minivet: (2-4) seen on 6 days; most common minivet in high altitude coniferous forest.
Short-billed Minivet: (1) male at Hebisa on 14 Jun gave a good perched scope view.
Scarlet Minivet: (4-10) seen on 5 days. Most common Minivet in subtropical forest.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike: (1-5) seen on 3 days typically in mixed flocks.

Ashy Drongo: (1-20) seen daily; common on edge of broadleaf forests.
Bronzed Drongo: (10) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Hair-crested Drongo: (1-4) recorded on 3 days.

Yellow-bellied Fantail: (2) on 12 Jun near Dochu La.
White-throated Fantail: (2) on 16 Jun near Shemgang.

scops-owl, collared
Collared Scops-owl by Adrian O'Neill
Asian Paradise Flycatcher: (2) females at Khoshela on 18 Jun at 1330 m asl. My first Bhutan record.

Brown Dipper: (1) on 15 Jun between Wangdi and Pele La

Blue-capped Rock-Thrush: (1-20) seen on 7 days.
Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush: (1-2) on 16-17 Jun in Shemgang area.
Blue Whistling Thrush: (10-20) seen daily: a common bird.
White-collared Blackbird: (1-2) around Paro and Dochu La. (20) at both Pele La and Cheli La including many recent fledgelings.
Grey-winged Blackbird: (1-5) seen on 6 days.
Tickell's Thrush: (1) probably feeding chicks at Hebisa on 14 Jun was a great record and my first for Bhutan.
Lesser Shortwing: Heard only at Shemgang on 16 Jun.
Dark-sided Flycatcher: (1-2) recorded on 4 days including an adult feeding a fledgeling on 19 Jun at Pele La.
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher: (4) on 12 Jun at Dochu La and (3) on 15 Jun near Pele La.
Snowy-browed Flycatcher: (1) female in bamboo on 15 Jun between Wangdi and Pele La.
Little Pied Flycatcher: (2) on 15 Jun at Pele La and (1) 17 Jun near Shemgang.
Ultramarine Flycatcher: (3) on 12 Jun at Dochu La.
Large Niltava: (1) showed well in the scope on 16 Jun near Trongsa. Heard on 3 days.
Small Niltava: (4) at Tashitang on 13 Jun gave great scope views.
Pale Blue Flycatcher: Heard only on 3 days.
Blue-throated Flycatcher: (1-2) seen on 3 days plus heard on 1 other.
Verditer Flycatcher: (1-20) seen on 6 days: a crowd favourite.
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher: (3-5) seen on 2 days including three fledgelings sitting on one bamboo twig near Tingtibi on 17 Jun. Heard on 5 days.
Orange-flanked Bush-Robin: (2) males seen at Cheli La; also heard on 15 Jun. Split as Himalayan Red-flanked Bush-robin Tarsiger rufilatus by Rasmussen and Anderton (2005).
Oriental Magpie-Robin: (2-10) seen on 8 days mostly in agricultural areas.
Indian Blue Robin: (1) male showed well briefly on 12 Jun at Dochu La in response to playback. Heard on 2 other days.
Blue-fronted Redstart: (3) an adult with a pair of fledgelings at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
White-capped Water-Redstart: (1-6) seen on 3 days mostly at the higher passes on small streams.
Plumbeous Water-Redstart: (1-10) seen on 7 days.
White-tailed Robin: Heard only on 3 days; typically very secretive.
Slaty-backed Forktail: (3) at Tashitang on 13 Jun including a fledgeling.
Little Forktail: (4): two pairs including one with a nest at a favourite waterfall on 16 Jun.
Grey Bushchat: (2-6) seen on 7 days.

Common Myna: (5-50) seen on 8 days.
Chestnut-tailed Starling: (2-4) seen on 3 days.
Spot-winged Starling: (6) adults on 14 Jun at Hebisa gave the appearance they were nesting. One pair were frequently sallying out to collect aerial insects and then dropping out of site to a large dead tree. The pair exhibiting this behaviour was still present 8 hours later. Not known to breed in Bhutan; a scarce and poorly known species. One of my trip highlights.

White-tailed Nuthatch: (2-4) seen on 4 days giving great views.
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch: (1-10) seen on 3 days giving great views.
Beautiful Nuthatch: Heard only near Shemgang calling in a big valley.

Eurasian Treecreeper: (1) at Pele La on 15 Jun.

Rufous-vented Tit: (1-4) seen on 3 days.
Coal Tit: (1) at Pele La on 19 Jun.
Grey-crested Tit: (4) at Pele La on 15 Jun and (6) Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Green-backed Tit: (2-10) seen daily
Yellow-cheeked Tit: (2) Shemgang on 16 Jun.
Yellow-browed Tit: (2) Dochu La on 12 Jun and (1) Pele La on 15 Jun.
Sultan Tit: Heard only at Shemgang.

barbet, blue-throated
Blue-throated Barbet by Adrian O'Neill
Black-throated Tit: (2) on 15 Jun.
Rufous-fronted Tit: (10) Pele La on 15 Jun and (5) Cheli La on 20 Jun.

Nepal House Martin: (10-100) seen on 5 days including watching them at their nest cliffs.

Striated Bulbul: (2-4) seen on 4 days our first at Hebisa on 14 Jun.
Black-crested Bulbul: (2) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Red-vented Bulbul: (10-50) seen on 8 days.
White-throated Bulbul: (3) Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Ashy Bulbul: (2-10) seen Shemgang and Trongsa 17-18 Jun.
Mountain Bulbul: (2) Tashitang and (2) Tingtibi
Black Bulbul: (5-50) seen daily

Hill Prinia: (1) on 12 Jun at base of Dochu La and (1) on 18 Jun near Trongsa. Split as Black-throated Prinia Prinia atrogularis by Rasmussen and Anderton 2005.
Striated Prinia: Best views of (1) at Khoshela on 18 Jun.

Chestnut-headed Tesia: Heard only
Slaty-bellied Tesia: (1) seen poorly on 18 Jun near Trongsa
Grey-bellied Tesia: (1) on 13 Jun at Tashitang
Aberrant Bush-Warbler: (1) gave a great view at Pele La on 15 Jun.
Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler: Heard only at Pele La.
Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler: (1) at Dochu La on 12 Jun. Heard on 4 days.
Grey-sided Bush-Warbler: (1) at Pele La on 15 Jun.
Brown Bush-Warbler: (1) in dwarf bamboo at Pele La on 15 Jun gave a great view.
Common Tailorbird: (2) on 14 Jun and (1) on 17 Jun.
Buff-barred Warbler: (2) at Pele La on 15 Jun and (2) Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Ashy-throated Warbler: (2) at Pele La on 15 Jun.
Lemon-rumped Warbler: (1) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Large-billed Leaf-Warbler: (5) at Dochu La on 15 Jun and (2) Pele La on 15 Jun. Heard on 3 days.
Greenish Warbler: (2) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Blythıs Leaf-Warbler: (2-10) seen on 4 days and heard on a further 2 days.
Yellow-vented Warbler: (1-4) seen on 4 days
Grey-hooded Warbler: (2-10) seen on 4 days.
Golden-spectacled Warbler: (1-3) seen on 3 days.
Whistler's Warbler: (2) on 15 Jun seen between Wangdi and Pele La. Identified by the broader eye ring and more prominent wing bar.
Chestnut-crowned Warbler: (1) near Shemgang on 18 Jun.
Rufous-faced Warbler: (5) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun gave great views.
Yellow-bellied Warbler: (4) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun gave great views.

White-throated Laughingthrush: (2-20) seen on 6 days.
White-crested Laughingthrush: (5-10) seen on 3 days and heard on 1 other.
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush: Heard only near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Striated Laughingthrush: (2-6) seen on 6 days.
Rufous-necked Laughingthrush: (6) at Khoshela on 18 Jun gave great views.
Spotted Laughingthrush: (3) below Cheli La gave a good brief view.
Blue-winged Laughingthrush: Heard only at Shemgang and Tingtibi.
Scaly Laughingthrush: (2) at Pele La gave a great scope view.
Black-faced Laughingthrush: (4) at Pele La on 19 Jun and (4) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush: (3) at Pele La on 19 Jun.
Streaked Laughingthrush: (1-2) seen on 5 days one bird feeding chicks. Now split as Bhutan Laughingthrush Trochalopteron imbricatum by Rasmussen and Anderton (2005)
Red-faced Liocichla: (2) at Shemgang on 16 Jun gave a good view.
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler: (2) in hotel grounds at Wangdi were seen well with (2) at Khoshela on 18 Jun. Heard on 3 days.
White-browed Scimitar-Babbler: (1) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler: (2) on 15 Jun had recently fledged chicks.
Slender-billed Scimitar-Babbler: (2) on 15 Jun at Pele La gave megaviews.
Pygmy Wren-Babbler: (1) seen poorly near Trongsa on 18 Jun.
Spotted Wren-Babbler: Heard only on 2 days.
Rufous-capped Babbler: (2) on 15 Jun gave a great view.
Golden Babbler: (1) on 13 Jun at Tashitang. Also heard at Shemgang.
Grey-throated Babbler: (2) gave good views in a mixed flock near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
sunbird, green-tailed
Green-tailed Sunbird by Adrian O'Neill
Silver-eared Mesia: (1) on 16 Jun at Shemgang gave a stellar view. Also (2) near here on 18 Jun.
White-browed Shrike-Babbler: (1) male on 15 Jun gave a good view with (2) nest-building near Trongsa on 18 Jun.
Green Shrike-Babbler: (1) at Dochu La on 12 Jun was a good sighting.
White-hooded Babbler: (10) 0n 17 Jun near Tingtibi gave great views. Split by Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) as the Indian White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus.
Hoary-throated Barwing: (1) at Dochu La on 12 Jun gave a super view.
Blue-winged Minla: (2) on 16 Jun and (2) on 18 Jun near Trongsa.
Chestnut-tailed Minla: (1-4) seen on 3 days.
Red-tailed Minla: (4) at Dochu La on 12 Jun gave a great view.
White-browed Fulvetta: (2-4) seen on 3 days.
Nepal Fulvetta: (1-6) seen on 4 days.
Rufous-winged Fulvetta: (1) at Pele La on 15 Jun was our only sighting.
Striated Yuhina: (20-30) seen on both days in Shemgang area.
White-naped Yuhina: (1) below Shemgang on 16 Jun was a good sighting.
Whiskered Yuhina: (1-5) seen on 5 days.
Stripe-throated Yuhina: (1-10) seen on 3 days.
Rufous-vented Yuhina: (1-4) seen on 4 days.
Black-chinned Yuhina: (2-6) seen on 4 days.
White-bellied Yuhina: (1) on 14 Jun and (3) below Shemgang on 16 Jun.
Oriental White-eye: (2-10) seen on 8 days. A recent genetic review showed white-eyes should be incorporated in the Afro-Asian babbler family Timalidae.
Rufous Sibia: (2-10) seen on 8 days and heard on the other 2.
Brown Parrotbill: (1) below Dochu La on 12 Jun gave a magic view with (3) on 15 Jun at Pele La.
Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill: (4) near Tingtibi both in pairs in mixed flocks associated with White-hooded Babblers gave good views on the 17 Jun. Interestingly some birds showed the black spot above the eye whilst others did not-perhaps a dimorphic feature. A rare bird and new for my world list! My personal trip highlight.
Grey-headed Parrotbill: Karma did well to get us on to this scarce species at Khoshela on 18 Jun.

Mrs. Gould's Sunbird: (4) at Dochu La and (4) at Cheli La.
Green-tailed Sunbird: (1-20) seen on 5 days.
Black-throated Sunbird: (1-3) seen on 3 days.
Crimson Sunbird: (1) male on 17 Jun near Tingtibi.
Streaked Spiderhunter: (2-6) seen on both days in the Shemgang area.

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker: (1-6) seen on 3 days including several dazzling males.
Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker: (4) at Hebisa on 12 Jun gave repeat megaviews. One of the trip highlights for me to see this scarce bird so well.

Russet Sparrow: (2-20) seen on 7 days.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow: (10-20) seen every day.

White Wagtail: (1-10) seen on 3 days.
Olive-backed Pipit: (1-4) seen on 4 days.

White-rumped Munia: (40) at a bamboo seeding event near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
Scaly-breasted Munia: (2-5) seen on 2 days at Punakha.

Yellow-breasted Greenfinch: (2-10) seen on 6 days: quite common.
Dark-breasted Rosefinch: (2) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
Common Rosefinch: (4) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.
White-browed Rosefinch: (1) male at Cheli La on 20 Jun. Split as Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch Carpodacus thura in Rasmussen and Anderton (2005).
Red-headed Bullfinch: (2) at Pele La on 19 Jun and (4) at Cheli La on 20th.
Scarlet Finch: (2) males flew over breakfast on 16 Jun near Trongsa.
Collared Grosbeak: (2) at Cheli La on 20 Jun. Also heard at Pele La.
Spot-winged Grosbeak: (1) female at Dochu La on 12 Jun and (10) near Tingtibi on 17 Jun.
White-winged Grosbeak: (3) at Cheli La on 20 Jun.

Crested Bunting: (1-10) seen on 4 days.


Assamese Macaque: (1-20) seen on 6 days.

Hanuman Langur: (30) seen on 14 Jun at Hebisa.
Golden Langur: (2-30) seen on 4 days in the Trongsa-Shemgang area.

Goral: (2) on steep cliffs at Hebisa on 14 Jun gave a good scope view.

Himalayan Striped Squirrel: (1-5) seen on 5 days.
Hoary-bellied Squirrel: (1-4) seen on 3 days.
Red-bellied Squirrel: (2) on 17 Jun below Shemgang.
Orange-bellied Squirrel: (1-2) seen on 3 days.
Giant Squirrel: Singles seen on 3 days giving a great view.


Calotes: (1) a gravid female was seen at Hebisa on 14 Jun looking like it was prospecting for a nesting site. This is an Agamid lizard.

Macllelland's Coral Snake: (1) road killed at Khoshela on 19 Jun at 1330 m asl. Not recorded in Bhutan in my literature search. Easily identified by the white band over the crown and black and red banded body.


Rasmussen, P. C. & Anderton, J.C. 2005 Birds of South Asia, The Ripley Guide. Vols. 1 and 2. Smithsonian Institute and Lynx Edicions, Washington D.C and Barcelona.

by Dion Hobcroft guiding for Follow That Bird

Follow That Bird   Phone: 61 2 9973 1865
Fax: 61 2 9973 1875
3/59 Central Road
Avalon NSW 2107
Sydney Australia
- sydney's birding company  
Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer