Bird Watching Bhutan
Geographical Setting of Bhutan
Area of Bhutan: 45,500 Sq. Km
Altitude Range: 150 meters in the south to 7500 meters to the north.
Govt.’s mandated Forest Cover: 60% maintained
Protected area: 26% (marked in RED on Bhutan map above)
Neighboring countries: India to the South and China(Tibet) to the north.
Bhutan’s great range of altitude and topography produces a wide range of climatic conditions. Bhutan cane be divided into three climatic zones viz. subtropical, mid-montane and alpine.
The subtropical zone lies at an altitude of about 1800 mtrs. This zone is warm in winter with hot and humid with heavy rainfall in summer. It is distinguished by steep slopes and dense broadleaved forests.
The mid-montane zone covers areas between altitude of 1800 mtrs. and 3500 mtrs. The climate condition is more temperate with cool or cold winters, hot summers and moderate rainfalls. The region has coniferous forests on drier slopes and in the valleys. Several main valleys are dry during the monsoon expect during the monsoon.
The alpine zone lies above 3500 mtrs. Summers are short and cool with cold winters and significant snowfall. This region has tundra vegetation, alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks and glaciers.
Bhutan has a diverse 616 recorded species of birds and many more are likely to be found. This is a significant record of species for the country`s small size compared to less than 800 species in all of North America.
Forest and bush sustain a high proportion of 84% of Bhutan`s breeding birds. In addition 57% of Bhutan`s globally threatened birds and 90% of the country`s restricted birds are dependent on forests.
A total of 14 species of globally threatened birds have been identified in Bhutan by BirdLife International. These include White-bellied Heron, Palla`s Fish Eagle, Chestnut-breasted Patridge, Blyth`s Tragopan, Wood Snipe, Dark-rumped Swift, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Grey-crowned Prinia and Beautiful Nuthatch all of which probably breed in Bhutan.
A large majority of around 464 birds species are resident to Bhutan.
About 40 species are summer visitors or partial migrant to Bhutan and includes species of cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, flycatchers and drongos. About 50 species are known to winter in Bhutan. The species include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings.
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