I took a 7 day break with the family to see the Rhododendrons in the Eastern Himalayas.
Ravangla (7000 ft) in South Sikkim, Kalimpong (5500 ft),
Lava (8000 ft) and
Gorumara, Duars (600 ft) in North Bengal over the week. Although not a serious birding/photography trip, I did carry my camera and devoted the mornings to birding. The
appended list of 149 birds were observed mostly from main
roads and hotels. The weather in the mountains was depressing with fog, mist and rains dominating daylight hours. This restricted birdwatching and affected the count. Even then, I did get to see some good birds and the soft light ( when there was visibility) gave me some acceptable mid-day photographs.
I would strongly recommend this trip to those who want to cover this region on a short tour. The opportunities of seeing good birds over terrain that rises from 500 feet to 10000 feet in
130 kms is limitless.
Day 1: Arrive Bagdogra (p.m.) and travel by road to Ravangla ( 5 hrs).
Day 2: Ravangla at Hotel Zumthang. Day trip to Demtang forest ( 2 kms).
Afternoon to Reylong via Maenam.
Day 3: Morning Maenam WLS (rain & mist). Depart Kalimpong (70 kms and 4
hrs) via Teesta Bazar. Stay at Himalayan Hotel.
Day 4: Morning Lava (mist, mist and more mist) - Algarah Road (33 kms and
Day 5: Rain and depart for Gorumara via Lava, Gorubatan and Damdim. (80
kms & 3 hrs). Stay at Help Tourism's Jungle Camp.
Day 6: Morning Mahakal Trek (Gorumara) - no birds !!! Afternoon
Sunatnekhola (3000 ft at the base of Neora Valley NP) and Chapramari WLS.
Day 7: Morning Khunia Block, Garumara WLS. Depart for Bagdogra and
1. Hill Partridge Arborophila torqueola
2. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
One at Suntalekhola
3. Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos
One male flushed at the viewpoint on the road to Loylegaon
5. Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha
Pair at Suntalekhola
6. Great Barbet Megalaima virens
8. Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica
9. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
10. Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
6 at Gorumara ( 4/4) and single at Chapramari.
11. Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
One bird seen on on the road to Namchi at the higher reaches of the river Teesta (29/3)
12. Common Hoopoe Upupa epos
One on the Algarah Road near Lava (2/4) and one at Gorumara (4/4).
13. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis affinis
Common on the way to Sevok and the foothills. Pair at Suntalekhola.
14. Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
One bird on the banks of the Teesta in Sikkim at the lower reaches (31/3).
15. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Recorded on the Teesta, Gorumara and lowlands. Only Kingfisher on the trip.
16. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Common at Jungle Camp and the road to Teesta from Gorumara.
This is the 1st time in 3 recent visits that these birds have been noticed in this area. Maybe passage migrants.
17. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Flock on the Teesta and pair at Chapramari.
18. Large Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides
Heard Ravangla and seen at Suntanekhola (3/4).
19. Common Hawk Cuckoo Hierococcyx varius
Heard at Gorumara.
20. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus
Heard Ravangla and Gorumara Jungle Camp.
21. Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
Heard every day at Ravangla.
22. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
23. Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
One bird seen on the Khunia grassland, Gorumara was presumably of this species.
24. Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria
Small numbers recorded daily in the Gorumara area.
25. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Pair at Gorumara (4/4)
26. Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri
Common around Gorumara. Also seen at Chapramari.
27. Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
Small flock at Jungle Camp, Gorumara.
28. House Swift Apus affinis
Four seen at Kalimpong on 26/11 were of the nipalensis subspecies, showing a
slightly more forked tail than the “Little Swift” found
29. Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica
One calling at Himalayan Hotel, Kalimpong
30. Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides
One near Himalayan Hotel, Kalimpong. Mobbed by Red-vented Bulbuls.
31. Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus
One at the Gorumara Jungle Camp in 3/4
32. Rock Pigeon Columba livia
33. Speckled Wood Pigeon Columba hodgsonii
A pair at Danteng forest near Ravangla.
34. Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
Pair on the Teesta road to Namchi.
35. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
36. Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
One bird outside Garumara Jungle Camp.
37. Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
38. Yellow-footed Green Pigeon Treron phoenicoptera
8 at Gorumara.
39. Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra
Pair seen at Gorumara (4/4). Female chasing the male.
40. Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea
41. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
A pair at Khunia beat, Gorumara.
42. Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Bagdogra Airport ( 4/4).
43. Black Kite Milvus migrans
Common in the lowlands but not seen at higher elevations.
44. White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis
Single on the road to Sevok (29/3).
45. Himalayan Griffon Gyps
Singles on 29/3 and another over Suntanekhola (3/4)
46. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
Single at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
47. Shikra Accipiter badius
One bird at Mahananda ( 4/4)
48. Besra Accipiter virgatus
One bird seen well at Ravangla ( 30/4).
49. Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
Ravangla ( 1/4).
50. Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis
Great views at Suntanekhola.
51. Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus
One at Ravangla.
52. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger
Upto 10 on a tree on the way to Sevok (lowlands).
53. Little Egret Egretta garzetta
2 birds in the lowlands.
54. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Common at Gorumara but not recorded at higher levels.
55. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
Surprise, surprise. Only one bird of this common species seen near Jungle Camp, Gorumara.
56. Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa
Surprise bird. Single seen well at Kunia block, Gorumara an area outside the known range of the species.
57. Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus
One at Chapramari.
58. Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons
2 birds of the nominate subspecies seen at Chapramari (3/4).
59. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Upto 6 only on the road from Siliguri to river Teesta ( on 29/3 and 4/4)
60. Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Birds of both nominate and ssp. Tricolor seen at Kalimpong. Tricolor in the lowlands.
61. Grey-backed Shrike Lanius excubitoroides
One bird at Kalimpong and another on the Mahakal trail, Garumara.
62. Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
Pair seen at 3000 feet on the road to Teesta below Namchi ( 31/3) and 5 at Suntanekhola ( 2500 feet) on 3/4. Both sightings were of blue coloured
63. Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
Only seen at the Gorumara Jungle Camp.
64. Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae
Pair with a mixed flock of Maroon Orioles, Racket-tailed Drongos and Greater Yellownapes at Gorumara (4/4)
65. House Crow Corvus splendens
Only on the Siliguri road and Kalimpong town.
66. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
67. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
One at Gorumara.
68. Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii
Pair at Gorumara.
69. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei
Pair at Jungle camp.
70. Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos
Pair at Chapramari.
71. Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus
Upto 4 on the Algarah Road, Lava.
72. Short-billed Minivet Pericrocotus brevirostris
Upto 4 on the Algarah Road, Lava.
73. Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
Pair on the Algarah road, upto 6 at Chapramari.
74. Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha
One at Kailmpong.
75. White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis
Very common at Ravangla.
76. Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Common in the lowlands but not recorded anywhere in the hills.
77. Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
One at Ravangla, pair at Lava and upto 4 at Gorumara.
78. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer
2 at Gorumara.
79. Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
2 at Jungle Camp ( 3/4 and 4/4) and a pair at Gorumara (4/4)
80. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
6 birds having an argument at Gorumara. Part of a mixed hunting flock.
81. Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola rufiventris
Single on Namchi - Teesta Bazar road and another on Algarah road.
82. Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus
Pair on the Algarah road. Single female at Ravangla.
83. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
One adult male at Gorumara Jungle Camp
84. Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus
Almost one bird every hundred yards on the road past Maenam. Common everywhere on the trip.
85. Tickell's Thrush Turdus unicolor
One on the Algarah road.
86. White-collared Blackbird Turdus albocinctus
Single, Algarah Road, Lava.
87. Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul
Common in the hills.
88. Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis
Very common at Ravangla and Kalimpong where upto 5 (ssp. ruficollis) roosting at the Himalayan Hotel
89. Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
One at Lava.
90. Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata
91. Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva
Single female, Jungle Camp Gorumara.
92. Slaty-blue Flycatcher Ficedula tricolor
93. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina
Common at Ravangla. One on the Algarah Road, Lava.
94. Large Niltava Niltava grandis
One seen well at Maenam.
95. Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara
One seen at Lava.
Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
97. Golden Bush Robin Tarsiger chrysaeus
Single at Ravangla ( 30/4, 31/4 ).
98. Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
Kalimpong and lowlands.
99. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
100. Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Single male ssp. rufiventris, Gorumara (4/4)
101. Blue-fronted Redstart Phoenicurus frontalis
Commonest bird at Ravangla. All males. Single bird at Lava.
102. White-capped Water Redstart Phoenicurus leucocephalus
103. Plumbeous Water Redstart Phoenicurus fuliginosus
2 birds on the Damdim Road.
104. Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata
One at Gorumara.
105. Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea
Common Ravangla and Lava.
106. Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus
Pair at Kalimpong.
107. Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra
Common in lowland areas.
108. Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Seen everyday and everywhere except Lava forest.
109. Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Four seen at Gorumara Jungle Camp.
110. Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
G. r. intermedia pair on the Mahakal trail, Gorumara.
111. Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea
Single on Algarah Road, Lava.
112. White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis
113. Green-backed Tit Parus monticolus
Small numbers at Ravangla, Kalimpong and Lava.
114. Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea
6 birds calling incessantly while feeding at Chapramari. Seems to be a good place to see these birds.
115. Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus
116. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Algarah town and Algarah Road.
117. Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus ?
118. Nepal House Martin Delichon nipalensis
119. Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Pair on the Teesta drive ( 29/3) and single at Chapramari ( 3/4)
120. Himlayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys
Pair on Teesta road, Sikkim and nesting pair at Himlayan Hotel, Kalimpong
121. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Large flock on the Khunia grassland (4/4)
122. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
Perhaps the commonest bird seen.
123. Ashy Bulbul Hemixos flavala
3 on the Dentang road ( 30/4).
124. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
125. Buff-barred Warbler Phylloscopus pulcher
126. Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
Possible at Kalimpong
128. Grey-hooded Warbler Seicercus xanthoschistos ?
129. Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus
Pair on the Maenam Road.
130. Streaked Laughingthrush Garrulax lineatus
131. Black-faced Laughingthrush Garrulax affinis
132. Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus
Large flock at Ravangla and Lava.
133. Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus ruficollis
Pair, Algarah Road, Lava (1/4)
134. Rufous-capped Babbler Stachyris ruficeps
Flock of 8/9 at Ravangla ( 30/4)
135. Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps
Pair in bamboo below Namchi ( 31/4).
136. Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus
Kalimpong and Gorumara Jungle Camp.
137. Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea
Upto 6 at Ravangla.
138. Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula
Small flock recorded at Lava.
139. Red-tailed Minla Minla ignotincta
2 feeding birds seen well near Algarah town with Whiskered Yuhinas and Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch.
140. Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps
141. Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata
142. Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis
Strangely the only Yuhina of the trip at Algarah road (1/4)
143. Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis
Two small flocks at Lava (1/4)
144. Fire-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga ignicauda
Ravangla and one large flock of 18 birds on Algarah Road, Lava.
145. Streaked Spiderhunter Arachnothera magna
Single at Gorumara.
146. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
147. Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
148. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
One at Suntanekhola (3/4).
149. Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Upto 10 on Algarah road.
150. Altai Accentor Prunella himalayana
4 feeding birds just outside Ravangla town ( 0/4)
151. White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata acuticauda
Nesting pair, Kalimpong.