BIRDING IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH
India’s easternmost corner Arunachal is also the land of the rising sun for the entire subcontinent. Nature’s blessing in the form of breath-taking hills & mountains and a spectacular variety of life has brought a unique identity to this hilly terrain. Forget about the exotic flora & fauna; the geographical features alone barely has any match… from snow capped mountains to typically dense rain forests, from fast moving hilly streams to fully-grown rivers; Arunachal is full of surprises.
This high altitude Eastern Himalayan realm has lots to offer to the tourism industry as a whole. Apart natural heritages, there are other reasons to visit Arunachal – be it culture, be it religious customs, be it tribal ethnicity, be it fairs & festivals, be it temples (Gumpha), be it war monuments, there is a wealth of cultural diversity and monuments to man’s past. Arunachal harbours 26 different tribes and communities. Whilst these tribes have certain racial similarities, they can be divided into three broad sections based on their socio-religious sentiments.
And when it comes to birding, Arunachal possesses exceptional richness in avian diversity. Almost every nook & corner of this hill state draws nature lovers from across the globe. A few selected protected areas are worthy of special mention e.g. Namdapha National Park, Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, Sessa Wildlife Sanctuary, D’ering Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, etc. Interestingly, the western most parts of the state i.e. Tawang & West Kameng Districts rarely get any attention from the birdwatchers accept for a few serious birders; rather they are visited mostly for their scenic beauty and for their ancient majestic Buddhist monasteries.
From the bio-geographic point of view Arunachl has been crisscrossed by Sino-Himalayan Temperate and Sino-Himalayan Subtropical biomes. There are about 25 notified Important Bird Areas in Arunachal Pradesh. West Kameng and Tawang Districts alone boasts hundreds of avian species including many migratory and endangered ones. One can check out the following treks across the region for magnificent birding experiencse; they are Zemithang, Sangti Valley, Baily Trails, Tawang area, etc.
Nature watching is, of course, all about luck; if one is lucky – one could be amazed by the glimpses of beautiful but endangered birds. Most notable are Sclater’s Monal Lophophorus sclateri, Satyr Trogopan Trogopan satyra, Blyth’s Trogopan Trogopan blythii, Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus, Spotted Wren Babbler Spelaeornis formosus, Broad-billed Flycatcher-Warbler Tickellia hodgsoni, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin Tarsiger hyperithrus, Greater Long-billed Thrush Zothera monticola, Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis, just to mention a few of those which can be found in the areas bordering Bhutan.