Himalayan Birding Tour—Corbett & Pangot

Ibisbill

The diversity of attractive birdlife in the forests of Corbett National Park and the Himalayan foothills makes for an unbeatable birding experience, with comfortable stays and a touch of the unique culture and traditions of the Kumaoni people.

Corbett National Park is India’s oldest national park and tiger reserve, and one of the most scenic reserves in India. A famous hunting-turned-conservation story, Corbett has a bird species list approximately the same as Britain and Ireland! Some of the more interesting species include Pallas’s and Lesser Fish Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Tawny Fish Owl, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Rosy Minivet and Himalayan Rubythroat, plus of course tigers, leopards, elephants, and many others. (Read our detailed article about birds and birding in Corbett National Park.)

Just three hours’ drive away and the habitat, and birdlife, changes drastically as we get our first views of the mighty Himalayas. Pangot is a small hamlet in Uttarakhand near Nainital, and we will stay at Jungle Lore, India’s first and foremost birding lodge. The oak, pine and rhododendron forests here have excellent birding, including such desirable targets as Cheer and Koklass Pheasants, Bearded Vulture, Upland Pipit and Grey-crowned Prinia. Commoner birds here, and at nearby Sattal, include Red-billed Blue Magpie, Himalayan and Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Himalayan Bluetail, Blue-capped Redstart, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Blue-winged Minla, Green-tailed Sunbird, and White-throated and White-crested Laughingthrushes.

This tour will be at a relaxed pace to concentrate on enjoying and understanding identification and behaviour of the birds we see. It is ideal for newcomers to birding, as well as those who have been birding for a longer time: no birder ever grows tired of Himalayan birds!

Target Species

  • Black Francolin
  • Koklass Pheasant
  • Kalij Pheasant
  • Cheer Pheasant 
  • Yellow-footed Green Pigeon
  • Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
  • Ibisbill
  • River Lapwing
  • Bearded Vulture
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Mountain Hawk-Eagle
  • Pallas’s Fish Eagle
  • Lesser Fish Eagle
  • Mountain Scops Owl
  • Indian Scops Owl 
  • Brown Fish Owl
  • Tawny Fish Owl
  • Great Hornbill
  • Oriental Pied Hornbill
  • Crested Kingfisher
  • Golden-throated Barbet
  • Blue-throated Barbet
  • Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
  • Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker 
  • Himalayan Woodpecker 
  • Lesser Yellownape
  • Great Slaty Woodpecker
  • Collared Falconet
  • Slaty-headed Parakeet 
  • Long-tailed Broadbill
  • Rosy Minivet
  • Red-billed Blue Magpie
  • Nepal Cupwing 
  • Chestnut-headed Tesia
  • Whistler’s Warbler 
  • Grey-hooded Warbler
  • Grey-crowned Prinia 
  • Streaked Laughingthrush
  • Blue-winged Minla
  • Red-billed Leiothrix
  • White-crested Laughingthrush
  • Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush
  • White-throated Laughingthrush
  • Wallcreeper
  • Bar-tailed Treecreeper
  • Long-billed Thrush
  • Grey-winged Blackbird
  • Rufous-bellied Niltava
  • Himalayan Rubythroat
  • Siberian Rubythroat
  • Himalayan Bluetail
  • Golden Bush Robin
  • Little Forktail
  • Spotted Forktail
  • Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
  • Blue-capped Redstart
  • Blue-fronted Redstart
  • Plumbeous Water Redstart
  • White-capped Redstart
  • Brown Dipper
  • Orange-bellied Leafbird
  • Green-tailed Sunbird
  • Rosy Pipit
  • Upland Pipit
  •   Near Endemic

Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi to Corbett National Park

Drive to Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, with en route birding at the picturesque Corbett Falls. Check in at Tiger Camp and, after lunch, we will explore the river edge at Kumeria in the afternoon for a variety of birds, including the possibility of both Tawny and Brown Fish Owls, Asian Barred Owlet, Plumbeous Water and White-capped Redstarts, Brown Dipper, Wallcreeper and three possible species of forktails. With luck, an Ibisbill will be wintering here.

Day 2: Corbett National Park

The day will start with a jeep safari in either the Jhirna or Bijrani ranges of Corbett National Park. Whilst tracking tigers and looking for other mammals will be a priority, forest birding from an open jeep can be surprisingly productive in the early mornings. After a late breakfast, the rest of the day will be spent birding on the outskirts of the park, along the Kosi River and Mohan and Kumeria forests.

In the winter many species from high altitudes descend to these lower elevations—Ibisbill is a prime example. The Sal forests of the park itself are the habitats for Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, Red-billed Blue Magpie, several woodpeckers, Kalij Pheasants, green-pigeons (including Wedge-tailed and Yellow-footed), laughingthrushes (White-crested, White-throated and Streaked), and the beautiful Long-tailed Broadbill.

Day 3: Corbett to Pangot, Nainital

After a morning birding session outside the park, we check out and proceed to Pangot, with birding stops en route for our first true Himalayan species such as Himalayan Bulbul, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, and Blue Whistling Thrush. We arrive in Pangot for a late lunch and afternoon birding around the lodge.

Days 4-6: Pangot and Sattal

From Jungle Lore in Pangot, we will take a variety of local walks through the oak, pine and rhododendron forests. A packed breakfast will be taken with us on our easy paced trek to Kilbury, where we will encounter an excellent selection of Himalayan species, including Bearded and Himalayan Vultures, Kalij Pheasant, Blue-winged Minla, Spotted and Slaty-backed Forktails, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Rufous-bellied Niltava, and Red-billed Blue Magpie. The numerous perennial and seasonal creeks in this area are home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna, and with luck we may come across some of these, including Leopard, Himalayan Palm Civet, Yellow-throated Marten, Ghoral, Sambar and Barking Deer. After lunch at the lodge, we will probably check lower altitudes for a greater variety of birds.

Other birds we hope to see in and around Pangot included both Cheer and Koklass Pheasants, Crested Serpent Eagle, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, various woodpeckers including Brown-fronted and Himalayan, thrushes such as Black-throated and Mistle, warblers such as Tickell’s Leaf, Greenish, Whistler’s, and Grey-hooded, flycatchers such as Asian Brown, Ultramarine, and Verditer, laughingthrushes such as White-throated, Striated, Streaked, and Chestnut-crowned, accentors, Upland Pipit, Blue-winged Minla, Whiskered Yuhina, Slaty-headed and Red-breasted Parakeets, Long-tailed and Grey-backed Shrikes, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Himalayan Bluetail, Blue-capped Redstart, and Himalayan Prinia. One true rarity here is Grey-crowned Prinia, rarely seen anywhere else in India. We will also visit nearby Baggar and Gughu Kham where, as well as the birds mentioned above, we may find Brown Fish Owl, Brown Wood Owl, and Long-billed Thrush.

We will spend one night at nearby Sattal, bounded by lush green hills and freshwater lakes, with similar bird life and excellent photographic opportunities. Particular efforts whilst birding here will be made to see the secretive Rufous-throated and Common Hill Partridges. We can also expect to see Green-tailed Sunbird, Eurasian Griffon, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Blue-throated and Golden-throated Barbets, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Red-billed Leothrix, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Ashy and Mountain Bulbuls, and Golden Bush Robin for example. For photographers there will be an opportunity to spend some time in a local hide, where many of these species present super close photographic opportunities.

Day 7: Pangot to Delhi

A final early morning session of birding around the lodge campus may well concentrate on filling some photographic gaps, maybe with the likes of Green-backed Tit, Black-throated Bushtit, and Grey-hooded Warbler, or the larger and bolder birds like Streaked, Striated, and White-throated Laughingthrushes, Red-billed Blue-Magpie, and Slaty-headed Parakeets. We will return to the lodge for breakfast, check out and proceed to Delhi.

Checklist

For all our bookings we provide the most accurate and useful printable checklists available, specific to the actual areas you are likely to visit. In the meantime, use our interactive state checklists, or view the species bar chart for this area on eBird:

eBird India logo

Important information

Asian Adventures logo

As with all Bubo Birding tours, your booking is handled by Asian Adventures.

  • We may change the itinerary described due to various reasons such as latest birding information, availability of accommodation, state of the roads, and other unexpected factors that, this being India, do pop up from time to time!
  • We would be happy to make any additional travel bookings, e.g. domestic flights, car and driver, that you require.
  • The final price and itinerary will be confirmed before booking and depending on your expected arrival and departure plans.

See Asian Adventures for full tour details, including accommodation, what's included, other exclusions, prices for different group sizes, single room supplements, cancellation policy, and booking process.

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