Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu

Arrive in Kathmandu to spend the remainder of the day at
leisure, birding locally, or exploring the highlights of Nepal’s
fascinating capital and the religious architecture that dominates
the city skyline.  Kathmandu lies within a wide valley at an
altitude of around 1500 meters, bounded to the north by the
main Himalayan range, and to the south by the foothills,
merging into the Indo-Gangetic Plains which extend into
northern India.  The valley floor is largely under cultivation, yet
the surrounding slopes remain partially cloaked in dense scrub,
home to Himalayan Bluetail, Golden Bush-Robin, Grey-sided
Bush-Warbler, Aberrant Bush-Warbler and Spiny Babbler –
Nepal’s only endemic bird.  Paddy fields and areas of wetland
surrounding the city, where the pastoral life contrasts to the
increasingly modern city center, host a selection of water birds,
while within the city itself the more widespread of Nepal’s
species can be found, including Black Kite, Steppe Eagle,
Common Myna, Jungle Myna, House Crow, Large-billed Crow,
House Swift and Barn Owl.  Night in a comfortable city hotel.

Day 2: Kathmandu valley and Phulchowki

We will have an early start for the short drive southeast of the
city to Phulchowki Danda (30mins), the focus of our birding
while within the Kathmandu Valley.  At 2767 meters, Phulchowki
is the highest of the peaks surrounding the valley, offering easy
access to a variety of montane habitats, from subtropical forest
around the base at 1520 meters, to dense forests of moss-
draped oak, fir, spruce and rhododendron towards the frosty
and often snow-clad peak.  Weather-permitting, we will ascend
to the summit, which on clear days presents the spectacle of
sunrise over the snow-capped peaks of the great Himalayan
range, spending the day descending on foot (with jeep support)
through the range of elevations and the species they host.  
Bird-rich Phulchowki hosts a considerable list of species that
includes Red-billed Blue-Magpie, Grey Treepie, Rufous Sibia,
Maroon Oriole, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Great Barbet, Blue-
throated Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, White-cheeked
Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, Black Bulbul, Whiskered Yuhina,
Stripe-throated Yuhina, White-bellied Erpornis, Blue-winged
Minla, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Red-billed Leiothrix, a
considerable selection of often highly vocal laughingthrushes
including Striated, White-crested and White-throated, Rusty-
cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler,
Scaly-breasted Cupwing, Pygmy Cupwing, Chestnut-headed
Tesia, Grey-bellied Tesia, Black-chinned Babbler, Grey-
throated Babbler, Green Shrike-Babbler, Black-eared Shrike-
Babbler, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Grey-winged Blackbird,
White-collared Blackbird, Blue Whistling-Thrush, Chestnut-
bellied Rock-Thrush, Scaly Thrush, Rufous-gorgeted
Flycatcher, Small Niltava, Rufous-bellied Niltavas, a variety of
warblers, including Buff-barred, Pale-rumped, Golden-
spectacled, Ashy-throated, Chestnut-crowned and Black-faced,
which often congregate in fast-moving feeding flocks during the
winter months, Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantail, Yellow-browed Tit,
Black-throated Tit, Black-throated Sunbird, Fire-tailed Sunbird,
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Speckled Piculet, Darjeeling
Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, White-tailed
Nuthatch, Sikkim Treecreeper, Nepal Fulvetta, White-browed
Fulvetta, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Hodgson’s Redstart, Blue-
fronted Redstart, Plumbeous Redstart, White-capped Redstart,
Spotted Forktail, Grey Bushchat, Asian Barred Owlet, Collared
Owlet, and Mountain Scops-Owl, with Black Eagle and Mountain
Hawk-Eagle gliding over the canopy.  Scarcer residents include
Grey-chinned Minivet, Striated Bulbul, Himalayan Cutia, Grey-
sided Laughingthrush, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush,
Tibetan Serin, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Rufous-bellied
Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Speckled Wood-Pigeon, Ashy
Wood-Pigeon, Pink-browed Rosefinch, Dark-breasted
Rosefinch, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Brown Bullfinch, Black-
throated Parrotbill, Hill Partridge and Kalij Pheasant.  The
forests of Phulchowki are equally rich in mammals, highlights
including Orange-bellied Himalayan Squirrel, Yellow-throated
Marten and Leopard.  Overnight Kathmandu.

Day 3-6: Biratnagar and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Depart Kathmandu in the morning of day 3 by domestic flight to
the lowland town of Biratnagar in southeastern Nepal, with
spectacular panoramic views across the Himalaya towards
Mount Everest in clear weather.  From Biratnagar, transfer to
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (2hrs) for a four night stay in
Nepal’s terai, the lowland plains which flank the Himalaya.  The
terai region of Nepal and adjacent northern India was once an
impenetrable, mosquito-infested tract of swamp forest, now
largely cleared and drained, replaced by vast fertile farmlands.  
Protected areas such as Koshi Tappu are vital for the
protection of this irreplaceable habitat, one of the most fragile
and endangered in the subcontinent, and the specialized
species for which it is home.  Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve,
lying in the floodplain of the Kosi River, encompasses a large
area of riverine grassland that supports an important selection
of grassland specialities, including White-tailed Stonechat,
Striated Grassbird, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Black-faced
Bunting, Black-throated Weaver, Zitting Cisticola, Bright-
capped Cisticola, Yellow-bellied Prinia, as well as a small
population of the threatened Swamp Francolin.  These
marshes are complemented by a mosaic of sandbanks,
mudflats, woodland, and riverside lagoons, with the vast man-
made wetland formed by the immense Kosi barrage hosting
Nepal’s largest congregation of water birds.  Species around
the wetlands, a designated Ramsar site, include Great Egret,
Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Eurasian
Spoonbill, Purple Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Indian Black Ibis,
Purple Swamphen and scarcer Watercock, Bronze-winged
Jacana, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Little Cormorant, Oriental
Darter, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork, scarcer Black-
necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Spot-billed Pelican, Yellow-
wattled Lapwing, Grey-headed Lapwing, Pallas’s Gull, Brown-
headed Gull, Black-bellied Tern, River Tern, Caspian Tern,
Small Pratincole, Temminck’s Stint, Kentish Plover, large
numbers of Lesser Whistling-Ducks, Ruddy Shelducks, Red-
crested Pochards and Ferruginous Ducks, with smaller
numbers of Comb Ducks and Bar-headed Geese, and with the
chance of Falcated Duck, which regularly winters in small
numbers along the Kosi River, and Baer’s Pochard.  Riverside
lagoons attract various herons and crakes, including Cinnamon
Bittern and less common Black Bittern, Ruddy-breasted Crake,
Baillon’s Crake, and Greater Painted-Snipe, with a selection of
warblers, including Dusky, Smoky, Paddyfield, Thick-billed,
Indian Reed, Blyth’s Reed and Tickell’s Leaf, in waterside
reeds.  We will explore the Kosi River by inflatable dinghies,
searching in particular for Great Thick-knee and Sand Lark on
river islands.  Other species at Koshi Tappu include Lesser
Pied and Stork-billed Kingfisher, Ashy Woodswallow, Blyth’s
Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Paddyfield Pipit, Rosy Pipit, Citrine
Wagtail,White-browed Wagtail, Bengal Bushlark, Oriental
Skylark, Ashy-crowned Finch-lark, Red Avadavat, Graceful
Prinia, Bluethroat, Siberian Rubythroat, Abbott’s Babbler,
Indian Courser, Bank Myna, Asian Pied Starling, Oriental Pied-
Hornbill, Orange-breasted Pigeon, Yellow-footed Pigeon, Black-
winged Cuckooshrike, Black-hooded Oriole, Fulvous-breasted
Woodpecker, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Coppersmith
Barbet, Indian Roller and Eurasian Hoopoe.  A good diversity of
raptors make their home here, including Red-necked Falcon,
Black-shouldered Kite, Osprey, Pallid Harrier, Pied Harrier,
White-eyed Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, White-rumped
Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Pallas’s Fish-
Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed
Eagle, and Short-toed Eagle, plus nocturnal species such as
Brown Hawk-owl and Brown Fish-Owl.  Koshi Tappu Wildlife
Reserve was established primarily to protect Nepal’s only herd
of Asiatic Wild Buffalo, one of a fine list of mammals which also
includes Wild Boar, Golden Jackal, Jungle Cat and the
secretive Fishing Cat, with the increasingly uncommon Ganges
River Dolphin occasionally seen around the barrage.  Spend
four nights in a remote but comfortable permanent tented camp
on the edge of the reserve.

Day 7-10: Chitwan National Park

Today we depart Koshi Tappu, driving west through the terai to
Chitwan National Park in central Nepal, bordering India.  Along
the way we will spend some time in search of Ibisbill, one of this
region’s most recognisable species, which descends to the
base of the foothills during the winter months when it can be
found among the shingle banks of the Rapti River.  Chitwan
National Park preserves the most extensive area of lowland
grassland and forest remaining in Nepal, encompassing over
900 sq km of dry deciduous forest, evergreen tropical forest
and riverine grasslands spanning the outermost foothills and
mid-Himalaya, bisected by the Rapti and Narayani Rivers.  
Chitvan holds the richest variety of birds in Nepal, a result of its
geographical location and diversity in habitat.  Exploring the
park on foot, by open jeep, and on elephant back will allow us
to penetrate these various habitats during our four days here.  
We will make a special effort to track down Chitwan’s more
difficult specialties, most of which are characteristic of the tall
grasslands, a vital habitat which is increasingly scarce outside
protected areas.  These include the localized Slender-billed
Babbler, Grey-crowned Prinia, endemic to the terai of Nepal,
India and Bhutan, Rufous-rumped Grassbird, and the
increasingly uncommon Bengal Florican.  In wetland areas,
species include Striated Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron,
Brown Crake, White-breasted Waterhen, Indian Black Ibis,
Black Stork, and River Lapwing.  These species of wetland and
open grasslands contrast starkly with those found within the
dense subtropical forests – here species include Great Hornbill,
Oriental Pied-Hornbill, Emerald Dove, Red Junglefowl, White-
browed Piculet, Speckled Piculet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Blue-
bearded Bee-eater, Lineated Barbet, Common Green-Magpie,
scarce Red-headed Trogon, White-rumped Shama, Bronzed
Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Hair-crested Drongo,
Streaked Spiderhunter, Common Hill Myna, Collared Falconet,
the occasional Black Baza, Pale-chinned Blue-Flycatcher, Slaty-
blue Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, with Black-
backed Forktail and Little Forktail in forest streams.  
Among other species at Chitwan we may see Indian Peafowl,
Black Francolin, Himalayan Flameback, Greater Flameback,
Black-rumped Flameback, Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Common
Woodshrike, Large Woodshrike, Greater Yellownape, Lesser
Yellownape, Scarlet Minivet, Small Minivet, scarcer Rosy
Minivet, Pied Flycatcher-shrike, Common Iora, Golden-fronted
Leafbird, Black-crested Bulbul, Alexandrine Parakeet, Red-
breasted Parakeet, Green-billed Malkoha, and less common
Sirkeer Malkoha, Lesser Coucal, Spot-winged Starling, Baya
Weaver, Yellow-throated Sparrow, Scaly-breasted Munia,
White-rumped Munia, Crested Bunting, Crimson Sunbird,
Purple Sunbird, White-throated Fantail, Puff-throated Babbler,
Chestnut-capped Babbler, Yellow-eyed Babbler, White-bellied
Erpornis, Striped Tit-Babbler, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler,
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Lesser Necklaced
Laughingthrush, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Spotted Bush-
Warbler, Pale-footed Bush-Warbler, Large Bush-Warbler,
Tickell’s Thrush, scarce Himalayan Rubythroat, White-rumped
Needletail and less common Silver-backed Needletail, Crested
Treeswift, and raptors such as Red-headed Vulture, Egyptian
Vulture, Shikra, Northern Harrier, Crested Serpent-Eagle,
Oriental Honey-buzzard, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, and Grey-
headed Fish-Eagle.  At dusk, various owls and nightjars begin
to call, including the raucous Jungle Owlet and Oriental Scops-
Owl, plus Long-tailed Nightjar, Savanna Nightjar.  Chitwan is an
equally outstanding site for mammals, which most significantly
include almost the entire Nepal population of Indian One-
horned Rhinoceros, conspicuous and easy to see, and Tiger,
less so.  Other mammals include Hog Deer, Indian Muntjac,
Sambar, Chital (Spotted Deer), Black-faced Langur, Rhesus
Macaque and the secretive Sloth Bear.  Two species of
crocodile occur in this region – Mugger (or Marsh Crocodile)
and Gharial, both endangered but sustained here through
captive breeding programs.  Spend four nights in a comfortable
wildlife lodge.

Day 11: Chitwan to Kathmandu

After a final few hours at Chitwan depart for the drive back to
Kathmandu.  The scenic journey follows the Trisuli and
Narayani Rivers, along which we may find Brown Dipper,
Himalayan Pied Kingfisher, and Wallcreeper, with another
chance of Ibisbill.  Arrive in Kathmandu by early evening to
spend the night in a comfortable city hotel.

Day 12: Depart Kathmandu

Transfer to Kathmandu international airport and depart on your
onward journey.
Detailed Itinerary
Birding in Nepal
Please call Charles (in the USA at 720-320-1974 or toll free at 888-203-7464) or Ian
(in the UK at 07719-052820), and/or email Also feel free to click
Birding in Nepal
Grey-winged Blackbird
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Black-winged Kite
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Asian Barred Owlet and Red-breasted
Parakeet banner photo by Leio & Jennifer
De Souza  
Black-breasted Sunbird
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Changeable Hawk-eagle
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Asian Pied Starling
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Black-bellied Tern
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Common Myna
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Blue Whistling-thrush
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Crested Serpent Eagle
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Green-billed Malkoha
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Indian One-horned Rhinoceros
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Red-breasted Parakeet
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Red-billed Blue Magpie
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
River Lapwing
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Rufous Sibia
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza
Small Pratincole
Photo by Leio & Jennifer De Souza