Birding in Northeast India
The International Council for Bird Preservation, UK identified the Assam plains and the Eastern Himalaya as an Endemic Bird Area (EBA). With a variety of habitat options like wetlands, grassland, woodland, sub tropical and rain forests, coniferous, and alpine scrubs spread over an accessible altitude of 100m to over 4500m, a number of National parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries the north east of India provides a fantastic opportunity for an ultimate birding experience.
Birding in Northeast India is not only an amazing experience but it is a bird watchers dream come true. This region has a distinctly different climate with warmer mean temperatures and fewer days with frost and has much higher rainfall. This has resulted in the occurrence of a rich array of restricted range bird species. More than two critically endangered species, three endangered species and 14 vulnerable species of birds are in this EBA.
The most important birding destinations in Northeast
Mishmi Hills : The Mishmi hills in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh is one of the best places for birding in India. There are about 680 species of birds here including many endangered and exotic bird species. The endemic Rusty-throated Wren-Babbler or Mishmi Wren-Babbler was rediscovered here in 2004, known previously from a mist net specimen collected in 1947 by Salim Ali and S.D. Ripley. Some of them are Sclater's Monal, Blyth's and Temmink's Tragopan, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Rufous-necked Hornbill, pale-capped Pigeon, Ward's Trogon, dark-sided Thrush, Green and Purple Cochoa, Rusty-bellied and Gould's Shortwing, Beautiful Nuthatch, Rusty-throated and Wedge-billed Wren Babbler, Fire-tailed Myzornis, at least four Parrotbill species, Black-headed Greenfinch, Scarlet Finch and Grey-headed Bullfinch.
The Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary located in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh is a bio-diversity hotspot. Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas within an area of 217 sq kms, Eaglenest consisits of diverse habitat of semi-evergreen forest and tropical wet evergreen forest. It is considered one of the best places for birding in the world with more than 650 species of birds. Eaglenest is also home to about 200 species of butterflies, wild cats like clouded leopard, marbled cat, Asian golden cat, leopard cat etc. and many other endangered plants and animals. The Arunachal macaque, a new taxon of primate was discovered here in 1997. Birds found here include Bugun Liocichla, Ward's Trogon, Nuthatch, Barwing, Wren Babblers, Shortwings, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Sikkim Wedge-billed Babbler, Tragopans, many species of Laughing Thrush, Great/ Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill etc. Eaglenest is the site where Bugun liocichla was first discovered in 1995 and again observed and described in 2006.
Mandala, in the Mandala-Phudung forest region is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It is a part of the Important Bird Area (IBA).The Mandala-Phudung region is located in the higher partsof the eastern Himalayas, above 3000 mtrs.
Dibru Saikhowa National Park : Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Assam, northeast India is located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in July 1997 and Important Bird Area in 2004. Covering an area of 765 sq kms (295 sq mi) the park is bounded by the Brahmaputra and Lohit Rivers in the north and Dibru river in the south. It mainly consists of semi-evergreen forests, moist mixed deciduous forests and grasslands. It is the largest salix swamp forest in north-eastern India, with a tropical monsoon climate with a hot and wet summer and cool and usually dry winter. Dibru Saikhowa National Park is famous for many endangered species of animals and birds. It is a great place for birding, some of the bird species to be seen here are Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Crested Grebe, Large Cormorant, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, White Winged Wood Duck, Baer's Pochard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Pale Capped Pigeon, Great Pied Hornbill, Marsh Babbler, Jerdon's Babbler, Black Breasted Parrot bill, etc.