2nd May 2021


Top Bird Watching Sites in Himachal Pradesh

Surrounded by many high-altitude mountains and brimming with lakes and rivers, Himachal Pradesh enjoys a varied topography which makes the region rich in flora and fauna. The dense forest cover here is a mix of tropical to coniferous, providing a perfect home to myriad migratory and rare birds. Some of the rarest pheasants can also be witnessed in Himachal Pradesh, and the place is a bird watcher’s paradise for nature seekers and bird lovers.

Here are the top five birdwatching spots in Himachal Pradesh.

Dharamsala - The upper Dharamshala region is the place where one can find a number of colourful and rarely seen birds which are immensely beautiful. The dense forest cover here is rich in birdlife and boasts of a rich mix of local and migratory birds. Common woodshrike, bulbul, Indian grey hornbill and woodpeckers are the prime residents of these forests and reside here throughout all the seasons. Our resort in Himachal Pradesh is located in Dharamsala and the upper Dharamsala region is a short drive from there. Relax and rejuvenate at our resort in Dharamsala and bird watch the most beautiful of migratory birds during the day. Dharamshala is located in the Kangra Valley and is the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile in India. While lower Dharamshala is a hustling and bustling commercial area, the upper reaches are quieter and is the site of the Dalai Lama Temple. Colorful stalls selling woollens, Tibetan jewellery and momos line the narrow yet beautiful streets. The dense forests around Dharamshala have a really rich birdlife. Dharamsala boasts a dense and rich mix of local and migratory birds such as Yellow-footed Green-pigeon, Common Woodshrike, Bay-backed and Long-tailed Shrike, White-eared Bulbul, Red-breasted and Taiga Flycatcher, Indian Grey Hornbill, Yellow-crowned and Indian Pygmy Woodpeckers and more. The most popular birding spots for bird lovers in Dharamsala are the upper reaches of town, in the area around McLeodganj, Naddi-Guna and Bhated river. A number of birds can also be spotted in the shady woods of the Church of St. John in the wilderness there and the cemetery beside it.

A kingfisher bird perching on a wooden stick.

Pong Dam Wetlands, Kangra - Pong Dam is counted as one of the top bird watching sites in India. Set in the Kangra district, the dam was built in 1975 on the incredible Beas River. In 1983, the region was declared a bird sanctuary and is also one of the country's twenty five Ramsar sites. The beautiful little hamlets around the wetland are ideal for birdwatchers and bird lovers. Bird species such as babblers, warblers, kingfishers and moorhens can be easily spotted here, prancing in and above the water. Besides some exotic birds like Pallas's and Caspian gulls can also be seen in the region which is beyond magnificent.The surrounding villages of Jawali, Dhameta, Dada-Siba, Nagrota-Surian, Haripur, Guglara, Harsar, and Nandpur provide ample opportunities to an obsessed birdwatcher. The biogeography of the area includes five main types of avian habitats which are the mudflats and mud spots along the receding shoreline that are home to lapwings, egrets, grey and purple herons. The open deep water that is suitable for mainly grebes and cormorants and the swamps for species like warblers, munias, babblers, kingfishers, moorhens and herons whereas the dry sand banks devoid of vegetation that is preferred by stone curlews and pratincoles, and the shallow water where ducks such as pintails, shovellers, gadwalls and widgeons. Pong Dam Wetlands in Kangra is a two hour drive away from our resort in Himachal Pradesh.

Pin Valley National Park - This absolutely beautiful national park is home to a number of cold desert bird species, as the temperatures here remain below zero. During summers, the rivers and lakes in the region remain semi-frozen and the gorgeous ibex bird can be spotted here along with numerous other animal and bird species. The rare mountain bird species like Himalayan snowcocks, snow partridge, kestrels, snow pigeons and golden eagles can be spotted in their natural habitat which is beyond stunning and a sight worth seeing. Lammergeiers, golden eagles and vultures are the main birds of prey. Astonishingly, the common house sparrow is also a regular in these chilly climes which is quite remarkable. Note that the park can only be reached by the tough Pin Parvati Pass trek.

A magpie bird in flight mode

If you wish to give the icy forests of the Pin Valley National Park a miss, the area around the Dhankar Lake is your best bet for birding in the Lahaul and Spiti region. Situated at an altitude of 4136 meters, the bluish green lake offers breath-taking vistas of the surrounding landscape and is reachable by a 2 hour hike from Dhankar Monastery. Species like Lammergeier, Desert Wheatear, Twite, Himalayan snowcock, Sulphur-bellied and Tickell's leaf warbler can be spotted here and are a treat for any bird lover's eyes. Migratory birds like Temmick's Stint, Black-winged stilt and the Garganey also make an appearance occasionally.

Pin Valley National Park is at a distance of 149 kilometers from our resort in Dharamsala.

Great Himalayan National Park - The biggest national park of Himachal Pradesh is probably the best place to witness a wide range of exotic and home bird species. With undisturbed forests, the wilderness here is just unexplored and serene. One can spot birdies such as the yellow-billed blue magpie, Himalayan black bulbul, white capped redstart, and brown dipper among others and is a feast to the eyes of any bird watcher. This national park is a seven hour drive away from our resort in Himachal Pradesh.

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary - The sanctuary in Chail is another stunningly beautiful spot for birdwatchers. Chir pheasant and Khalij pheasants are a common sight here in this national park. With some luck, you might also be able to capture a russet sparrow, green-backed and golden eagles on your camera, which may make your bird watching dreams come true.

Despite being located just 45 km from Shimla, Chail has none of the overwhelming crowds of the state capital. The Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a number of animals like European red deer, ghoral, flying squirrel and the Himalayan black bear which are really beautiful animals. Birds like the Cheer pheasant and the Khaleej pheasant are also very common. You can also spot species like russet sparrow, wire-tailed swallow, green-backed and great tit and blue whistling thrush among other birds. The golden eagle makes a majestic appearance against the blue skies here. A number of enduring trekking trails pass through Chail. The wooded hills surrounding the town are a great option for long hikes and bird watching remarkably.

Narkanda is the starting point of the great Hatu Peak trek. All along the trail, you can spot a number of beautiful bird species like Indian blue robin, brownish-flanked bush warbler, Himalayan griffon, large hawk cuckoo, black and yellow grosbeak, spotted nutcracker, greenish and lemon-rumped warbler, ultramarine and Asian brown flycatcher, Eurasian blackbird.

A robin bird perching and silently observing and enjoying the weather.

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Ghamrota Village Post Office Ballah ,Tehsil Palampur, District Kangra, Jiun, Himachal Pradesh 176061