07 September 2020

Plumes of Paradise: Endemic Birds To See In Dharamshala

Visiting Rakkh with a pair of binoculars in hand? Or looking for a fun outdoors challenge? Try identifying these 3 magnificent bird species that are endemic to the Himalayas.

The Kangra Valley is home to a massive selection of bird life, with a documented 200 odd individual species, including migrants. Rakkh resort in Palampur is located quite conveniently outside urbania, being a resort in Palampur region, thus giving you the perfect opportunity to go on the search for these beautiful avifauna.

While there are around 200 species, there are a few special ones that can be found nowhere else in India, endemic to the Himalayas. In this story, we’ll be talking about a few of them!

The Himalayan Monal

The Himalayan Monal

Chances are, you will have seen a few photographs of this gorgeous bird on the internet. To see it in real life will leave you speechless. The Himalayan Monal is a mid sized bird related to the pheasant family, and is also Nepal’s national bird along with being Uttarakhand’s state bird!   

It has a distribution range across the Himalayas, and while it’s listed as “least common” in the IUCN red list, sighting it out in the open can be a task for it’s a relatively shy bird. But you’ll instantly recognize it from its striking plumage. Primary hues of blue, purple, red, then some orange and even yellow and green along the neck. And then a few crest feathers to complete this apparition.
You’ll likely see the Monal during the early hours of dawn (and not during the evenings) along Palampur’s tea estates, at the peripheries. That is, if they feel like coming out at all!

Himalayan Black Lored Tit

Himalayan Black Lored Tit

A more common friend that you can also possibly sight all around our resort in Palampur, the Black Lored Tit is a passerine bird (a bird family that includes a wide variety of species) related to the Parsus family. Unmistakable with its cute hairdo, yellow eyebrows and black and yellow speckled body, you’ll find them in small social groups, foraging around in the trees, with bright chirpy calls. This Tit uses abandoned nests to start its family, which is a valuable lesson in recycling for us humans!  
The Black Lored Tit is also listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, and has relatives down south that are found in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and Kerala.

Ward’s Trogon

Ward’s Trogon 

Another passerine bird that’s much rarer than the Tit but relatively easier to find than the Monal is the Ward’s Trogon, a relative of the much more popular Malabar Trogon down south, and just as hard to find. The Ward’s Trogon is also listed as “near threatened” on the IUCN Red List, and its threat comes from habitat loss via deforestation, and in some rare cases, poaching.  

Ward’s Trogon is named after the English botanist and explorer Francis Kingdon-Ward. Its feathers are a gorgeous red, with splashes of black and white.
On your visit to Rakkh, our resort in Palampur, try your luck at sighting these marvelous birds, and hopefully get into bird watching yourself!

Featured Image Credits - Tangled up

The Himalayan Monal Image Credits - eBird

Himalayan Black Lored Tit Image Credits - eBird 

Ward’s Trogon Image Credits - eBird 

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