Home India Birding Destinations Birding in Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh Birding

Birding in Arunachal Pradesh means birding right in the middle of an ecological hotspot. Proximity to the Himalayas and bountiful natural resources make Arunachal Pradesh in the north-eastern tip of India a biodiversity haven with an irresistible pull for any nature lover out to do the best birding tours of India.

Arunachal Pradesh is naturally gifted with a huge expanse of green cover, comprising of tropical forests, temperate forests, pine forests, and subalpine forests. As many as ten rivers cut through the mountainous terrain of this hilly state to create five river valleys. These forests and rivers support an incredible variety of flora and fauna, and particularly impressive is the bird diversity of Arunachal Pradesh.

Of about 1300 different species of birds found in India, a whopping 889 species can be spotted in Arunachal Pradesh alone, making it an ideal haunt for birding in Himalayas.

It is in Arunachal Pradesh that one gets to see a whole range of resident and migratory birds of Northeast India. The Arunachal Pradesh birding tour is crammed with sightings of the gorgeous hornbills, larks, storks, herons, vultures, falcons, partridges, quails, finches, warblers, sunbirds, bulbuls, cuckoos, magpies, thrushes, swallows, prinias, plovers, flycatchers, robins, parakeets, cormorants, owls and what not.

Just a short stroll into the woods on our birding tour of Arunachal Pradesh may throw up eye-popping sights: like the Great Hornbill – the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh – perched regally on a high branch, or a chirpy bunch of Shrike Babblers flitting from tree to tree, or a hidden Bugun Liocichla – endemic but endangered – making its presence known through its melodious fluty call, or a pair of Fire-Tailed Sunbirds hovering erratically over flowers to hunt for nectar.

Arunachal Pradesh birding trip abounds with opportunities. The whole region teems with bird habitats and exploring them involves an adventure of sorts. 25 important birding areas have been already identified in Arunachal Pradesh and some of these are so isolated and off the beaten track, that a birder may have to hike many a mile to reach the birding spot.

Take, for instance, the Dihang-Dibang Biosphere Reserve which spans the districts of Dibang Valley, Upper Siang and West Siang. This Reserve is not connected by roads or railways and the only way to reach it is on foot. But all the footslog is duly rewarded when one sees the rich and rare wildlife of the reserve, unspoilt by human interference. Birding in this pristine setting is an experience in itself, and sighting of some rare birds like Sclater’s Monal and Blythe’s Tragopan is added bonus.

When it comes to the sheer variety and number of birds, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary tops the list as the prime birding destination in Arunachal Pradesh. Spread over an area of 218 square km, Eaglenest is home to 454 species of birds. This is where Bugun Liocichla was discovered in 1995. This is where one still gets to see 65 varieties of Old World Flycatchers, 46 types of thrushes, 31 kinds warblers, 25 flycatchers, 20 hawks, 14 finches, 10 pheasants, 7 kingfishers, 5 herons, 3 cormorants and many more different species of birds to keep your binoculars and fieldscopes busy. And we, at India Birding Tours, are happy to say that Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary has been the centrepiece of many successful Arunachal Pradesh birdwatching tours organized by us over the years.

Rivalling the avifauna diversity of Eaglenest is Namdapha National Park, the fourth largest national park in India, and also the location of the northernmost evergreen rain forests in the world. Essentially a Tiger Reserve, Namdapha is the natural habitat of about 425 species of birds. Here, you can catch glimpses of the many rare winged wonders like Beautiful Nuthatch, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Purple and Green Cochoa, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Ward’s Trogon, White-Cheeked Hill Partridge, Eurasian Hobby, Himalayan Wood Owl, Pied Falconet, White-tailed Fish Eagle, White-winged Duck, and a variety of shrike babblers, scimitar babblers, laughing thrushes, fulvettas and parrotbills. The Mishmi and Patkai hills of Namdapha are home to the extremely rare Snowy-throated Babbler.

Like Namdapha, Pakke Tiger Reserve, too, supports rich avifauna diversity. The Great Hornbill and Wreathed Hornbills can be seen here roosting along the river banks. A day in the wilderness of the tropical forest of this reserve may treat a birder to the sights of Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Jerdon’s Baza, Himalayan Shortwing, Black-tailed Crake, Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Ibisbill, Grey-peacock Pheasant, Lesser necklaced Laughing Thrush, White-bellied Yuhina, Maroon Oriole, and Forest Eagle Owl.

For sighting migratory birds, the best spot for birding in Arunachal Pradesh is Daying Ering Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a variety of exotic animals like Red Panda, tiger, leopard, slow lories and capped langur. In the winter season, storks, cranes, waterfowls and ducks fly in from Siberia in their thousands, making this wildlife sanctuary a veritable bird haven of the Himalayas.

We at India Birding Tours offer a variety of birding trips in Arunachal Pradesh to cover the whole eastern Himalayan region extensively. We take you to the best birding spots of Arunachal Pradesh and help you sight some of the rarest birds in the Indian subcontinent. Our tour guides are avid birders with years of experience and knowledge of ornithology, taxonomy and bird calls. Our itineraries are drawn smartly to let you enjoy birding at ease while covering a wide area at the same time. To cap it, we give you the choice to customise your Indian birding holiday by having a greater say in the itinerary and have a lot of sporty fun on the side.

FUN THINGS TO DO ON THE SIDE:

  • River Rafting: Braving the rapids in the Siang and Dibang rivers
  • Angling: Casting for the ‘Himalayan River Tiger’, the formidable Golden Mahseer, in the waters of Arunachal
  • Culture Trips: Getting acquainted with any of the 26 tribes and communities of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Wildlife Excursions: Visiting wildlife sanctuaries and possibly sighting tigers, leopards and jackals at Pakke Tiger Reserve
  • Touristy Outings: Visiting ancient Buddhist monasteries, forts and monuments
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