Birds, Birding Trips and Birdwatching Tours in West Bengal
Birdwatching Tour in West Bengal
West Bengal Birding : Bird Watching & Bird Photography Tours
West Bengal, located in eastern India, is a treasure trove of avian diversity, with over 800 species of birds recorded in the state. While there are many popular birding destinations in West Bengal, such as the Sunderbans, Darjeeling, and the Dooars, there are also several lesser-known areas that are worth exploring. Here are some birding tours in lesser-known birding areas in West Bengal:
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Alipurduar district, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 300 species of birds, including several endangered and rare species. Some of the birds you can spot here include the Bengal florican, lesser adjutant stork, black-necked stork, red junglefowl, white-throated kingfisher, and more.
Neora Valley National Park: Nestled in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Neora Valley National Park is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 265 species of birds recorded here. Some of the birds you can spot here include the Himalayan monal, crimson-breasted woodpecker, white-browed shrike-babbler, blue-fronted redstart, and more.
Buxa Tiger Reserve: Located in the Alipurduar district, Buxa Tiger Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 250 species of birds recorded here. Some of the birds you can spot here include the grey peacock-pheasant, rufous-necked hornbill, brown wood owl, scaly-breasted munia, and more.
Lava and Loleygaon: These two hill stations in the Kalimpong district are located in the Eastern Himalayas and offer excellent birdwatching opportunities. Some of the birds you can spot here include the chestnut-crowned laughingthrush, green-tailed sunbird, scarlet minivet, slaty-blue flycatcher, and more.
Garh Panchakot: Located in the Purulia district, Garh Panchakot is a historical site that also offers great birdwatching opportunities. Some of the birds you can spot here include the black-hooded oriole, Indian pitta, yellow-bellied prinia, white-browed fantail, and more.
Samsing is the Range Office of the Neora Valley National Park, 3kms before Suntalekhola. Some mature broadleaved trees and some scrub surround the Range Office and the Forest Rest House. It is generally good for bee-eaters and orioles amongst other species. Some birds seen here are Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Green-billed Malkoha, Thick-billed Warbler.
At 600m, Bindu is a small village on the border with Bhutan. It is 80kms from Siliguri and has developed based on a hydroelectric (hydel) power project. The River Jaldhaka, forming the India – Bhutan border, provides some good birds and can be viewed well from the barrage. Some birds seen here are Eurasian Wryneck, Crested Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Hodgson’s Redstart, Slaty-backed Forktail, Little Forktail, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush.
Todey is a village one hours drive from Bindu and is situated at an altitude of 1300 – 1500m. It comprises of secondary forest cover and extensive cardamom cultivation. Some birds seen here are Large Hawk Cuckoo, Green Magpie, Large Niltava, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Black-throated Sunbird.
Gajoldoba (Teesta Barrage)
Gazoldoba is an hour’s drive from Siliguri and is a large barrage on the River Teesta. It has an excellent wintering population of ducks, including all regular plus a few unusual species, and a few waders. It was a good place to see migrating and wintering raptors, plus grebes. Some birds seen here are Common Shelduck, Falcated Duck, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Lesser Sand Plover, Northern Lapwing, Osprey, Western and Eastern Marsh Harriers, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes.
Karmi Farm is a small private property owned by a British expatriate . The farm is located about 2½ hours drive from Darjeeling via Bijonbari. It is at an altitude of 1500m and has moderate broadleaved tree cover and cardamom plantations. It hosts some good birds such as Grey-throated Babbler and Speckled Piculet and is a very pleasant, relaxing place to stay. Particularly recommended is the homemade tongba, a mild alcoholic drink made from millet and drunk from a bamboo tankard! Some birds seen here are Speckled Piculet, Northern Goshawk, Black Eagle, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Yellow-browed Tit, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Blue-winged, Chestnut-tailed and Red-tailed Minlas, Nepal House Martin, Fire-tailed Sunbird.
Kalijhora is a small area of forest on the northern edge of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, at an altitude of 300m. It is one hours drive from Bagdogra. A small Forest Rest House and a PWD bungalow are the only places to stay nearby. Its a good place to see several lowland forest species. Some birds seen here are Oriental Pied Hornbill, White-rumped Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Black Stork, Grey-backed Shrike, Maroon Oriole, Short-billed Minivet, Brown Dipper, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, White-rumped Shama, Hill Myna, Yellow-vented Warbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Crimson Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter.
These are just some of the lesser-known birding areas in West Bengal that you can explore. With so many species of birds to spot and such beautiful natural surroundings, West Bengal is a birdwatcher’s paradise.