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Bhutan – Thunder Dragon Birding

Punaka Dzong
The Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas has developed an outstanding reputation as an incredible birding destination and general natural historian paradise. The reasons for this are many.

Firstly over 650 species of birds are found in Bhutan: as many species as are regular in Australia found in an area the size of Tasmania. Famous birds include the spectacular pheasants ranging from Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant and Kalij Pheasant; hornbills including the awesome Great Hornbill and rarely seen Rufous-necked; an outstanding array of barbets, woodpeckers, raptors, babblers, rosefinches and so much more. Global rarities that are often encountered include the Ibisbill, Ward’s Trogon, the ultra rare White-bellied Heron, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Beautiful Nuthatch and the enormous Tawny Fish Owl.

Maroon Oriole by Neil Fifer
The second major reason why Bhutan has emerged as a popular destination is the thriving culture of the wonderful people. As devout Buddhists all wildlife is protected: nothing is hunted and this leaves an abundance of wildlife. The people are remarkably cheerful, helpful, humorous, incredibly practical and ever so friendly. You feel really welcome as a guest in their country.

The third major reason why Bhutan has become popular is you feel you are in one giant national park. The whole country is extensively forested from conifers like the Blue Pine and Chir Pine to extensive subtropical broad-leafed evergreen jungles. Spectacular flowering events include
Pure Golden Langur by Karma Tshering
rhododendrons, primulas and azaleas. Habitats range from 4000 metres to 300 metres above sea-level. This enormous altitudinal range provides an enormous variety of habitats used by different birds. Bhutan has spared itself from the widespread habitat destruction that has adversely affected many of its neighbours. Birds and animals that are rare or extinct elsewhere in the region survive with flourishing populations in Bhutan.

A fourth major reason is the mammals. Although always more cryptic than the birds on many previous travels to this incredible country I have been lucky enough to see some very special Asian mammals. This includes Himalayan Black Bear, Dhole, Leopard Cat, Golden Langur, Serow, Goral, Hodgson’s Giant Flying Squirrel and have heard both Tiger and Leopard whilst camping at night!

Blue Whistling Thrush by Neil Fifer
My final reason is the scenery. The Himalayas are the greatest peaks on earth. Bhutan is nestled right in there. Waterfalls, gushing Himalayan torrents, spectacular forestscapes are right where you are in the field. The country is just stunning.

I hope you can join FTB on a Thunder Dragon Birding Trip to Bhutan.

Written by Dion Hobcroft

Contact us for a Itinerary.

$AU 14330.00 per person twinshare/double/single

For Bookings:
Please phone Follow That Bird to check if seats are available then fill in the booking form and mail with the deposit or full payment to Follow That Bird, 3/59 Central Road, Avalon, NSW 2107. Your place on the tour is not guaranteed until we receive the payment.

Follow That Bird aims to provide a high standard of interpretive guiding on each trip to make your birdwatching holiday a special one. With small groups, attention to personal service and lots of good fun, we’re sure you will enjoy your time with us.

If you have any unanswered questions, please phone Follow That Bird on 02 9973 1865

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  
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Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer