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  • Photograph of Grandala

    A beautiful Grandala photographed by Jon Hornbuckle.

    NEPAL

    Best Wildlife in Nepal

    Mammals
    Indian Rhinoceros, Asian Water Buffalo, Gaur, Terai Grey Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Nilgai, Sambar, Blackbuck, Hog and Swamp Deer, Chital, Himalayan Tahr, Common Goral and Royal's Pika. Also a chance of Asian Elephant, Sloth Bear, Ganges River Dolphin, Fishing and Jungle Cats, Smooth-coated Otter and Yellow-throated Marten, and an outside chance of Tiger, Leopard and Red Panda.

    Birds

    Specialities
    Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, Tibetan Snowcock, Swamp Francolin, Wood Snipe, Ibisbill, Hooded (summer) and Indian (summer) Pittas, Grey-crowned and Rufous-vented Prinias, Bristled and Rufous-rumped Grassbirds, Jerdon's Bushchat, Indian (summer) and White-tailed Blue Robins, Pied (summer) and Long-billed Thrushes, Grandala, Himalayan Cutia, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Black-chinned, Jerdon's, Slender-billed, Spiny (Nepal's only endemic which occurs between Kathmandu and Chitwan) and Tawny-bellied Babblers, Spot-winged Starling and Finn's (Yellow) Weaver. Also a chance of Bengal Florican.

    Others
    Bar-headed Goose (mostly Nov-Mar), Ruddy Shelduck (mostly Nov-Mar), Indian Peafowl, Snow Partridge, Blood and Kalij Pheasants, Red Junglefowl, Oriental Darter, Indian Pond Heron, Black Ibis, Black (mostly Nov-Mar) and Black-necked Storks, Lesser Adjutant, Lammergeier, vultures including Eurasian Black, Himalayan Griffon and White-rumped, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Black, Golden and Indian Spotted Eagles, Long-legged and White-eyed Buzzards, Collared Falconet, Brown Crake, River Lapwing, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Small Pratincole, Great Black-headed Gull (mostly Nov-Mar), Black-bellied and River Terns, Snow Pigeon, Alexandrine, Plum-headed and Red-breasted Parakeets, Green-billed Malkoha, owls including Brown Hawk Owl, owlets, Crested Treeswift, Red-headed Trogon, Crested, Pied, Stork-billed and White-throated Kingfishers, Blue-bearded, Chestnut-headed and Green Bee-eaters, Indian Roller, barbets, Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, lots of woodpeckers, Ashy Woodswallow, Common Iora, minivets, Maroon Oriole, drongos including Greater Racket-tailed, Yellow-bellied Fantail, (Red-billed) Blue, Yellow-billed (Blue) and Green Magpies, Black-lored and Red-headed Tits, White-browed Tit Warbler, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Brown Dipper, bulbuls, leaf warblers, Chestnut-headed and Grey-bellied Tesias, niltavas, Siberian (mostly Nov-Mar) and White-tailed Rubythroats, (Himalayan) Red-flanked Bluetail, White-tailed Stonechat, bush robins, White-rumped Shama, redstarts, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Scaly Thrush, lots of laughingthrushes including White-crested, scimitar, shrike and wren babblers, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rufous Sibia, minlas, fulvettas, yuhinas, starlings and mynas, leafbirds, flowerpeckers, Fire-tailed, Gould's and Green-tailed Sunbirds, Maroon-backed, Robin and Rufous-breasted Accentors, rosefinches, Red-headed Bullfinch, Baya and Black-breasted (Bengal) Weavers, and Red Avadavat. Also a chance of Falcated Duck (mostly Nov-Mar), Slender-billed Vulture, Pallas's Fish Eagle, (Eastern) Imperial (mostly Nov-Mar), Great Spotted (mostly Nov-Mar), Steppe (mostly Nov-Mar) and White-tailed (mostly Nov-Mar) Eagles, Brown and Buffy Fish Owls, Pied Harrier (mostly Nov-Mar), Great Thick-knee, Grey-headed and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Solitary Snipe, Indian Courser, Greater Painted Snipe, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Black-headed Jay, Slaty-backed and Spotted Forktails, Wallcreeper, Black-throated Parrotbill, Gould's Shortwing and Scarlet Finch.

    Also, about 50,000 Demoiselle Cranes migrate south through the upper Kali Gandaki Valley, over passes as high as 6500 m (21,325 ft), during October.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Gharial and Mugger Crocodile.

    Plants
    The superb Alpine flora includes many rhododendrons which are usually at their best in May.

    Other Natural Wonders of Nepal

    Himalayas Nepal is dominated by the awesome Himalayas. Eight of the ten highest mountains on Earth are there and it is possible to see four of the world's top five from the Makalu Trek; Everest at 8848 (29,028 ft), Kangchenjunga at 8586 (28,169 ft), Lhotse at 8516 m (27,939 ft) and Makalu at 8463 m (27,765 ft). Via the same trek it is also possible to reach Everest base camp at a giddy 5360 m (17,600 ft). Equally if not more stunning and one of the most beautiful sights in the world is the Annapurna Range as seen from Pokhara. Four sharp peaks shine above this massive, isolated, 50 km (30 mile) long mountain ridge, including three of the world's ten highest mountains, all rising above 8000 m (26,000 ft); Dhaulagiri 1, Manaslu and Annapurna 1.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Nepal

    Best Times for Wildlife in Nepal

    The best time to visit the lowlands is between November and March, especially February-March when the numbers of wintering birds from the north and the high Himalayas are usually at their peak. The lowland monsoon season usually lasts from June to September. The best time to trek into the high mountains is from mid-April to late May when most of the middle and high altitude bird specialities usually breed and are therefore at their most active. This is also a great time for flowers, which are abundant. Mountain viewing conditions however are usually best during the northern autumn.

    Recommended Books etc. for Nepal

    Field Guide to the Birds of Nepal by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 2000 (Second Edition due September 2016).

    Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 2012.

    A Field Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by K Kazmierczak. Helm, 2008.

    Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by R Grimmett, and C and T Inskipp. Helm, 1999.

    Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide Volumes 1 and 2 by P C Rasmussen and J C Anderton. Lynx Edicions and Smithsonian Institution, 2012.

    Indian Mammals: A Field Guide by V Menon. Hachette, 2014.

    Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent by K K Gurung and R Singh. Helm, 1998.


    Apps etc.

    eGuide to Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.

    Where to watch birds in Asia by N Wheatley. Helm, 1996.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Asia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Nepal

    Many trip reports, some for Nepal, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Nepal. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Nepal' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Nepal

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Nepal

    Some Organized Tours to Nepal

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Nepal include the following.