Tragopan Tours Birding in India - Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh
Birding Tour - Mishmi Hills Bird Gallery - Birds In Gujarat and North Western India

From the lowlands of Assam to the ornithologically unexplored forests of the Mishmi Hills in the north-eastern Himalayas in ArunachalPradesh – Kaziranga, Nameri, Dibru-Saikhowa and Mishmi Hills

The tour offers not only the extraordinary rich floodplains of the Brahmaputra but also the eastern Himalayas. In addition to the remote Mishmi Hills in ArunachalPradesh, we’ll visit three national parks in Assam, Kaziranga and Dibru-Saikhowa with their extensive grasslands, beels (wetlands) and riverine forests and Nameri on the northern edge of the Assam plains.

Suitable time: November to early April

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is situated in the floodplains of the river Brahmaputra and is known for its three big mammals, Indian Rhinoceros, Wild Water Buffalo and Asian Elephant. Other speciality mammals of Kaziranga are Swamp Deer and Hoolock Gibbon. Birdlife is diverse and we will be looking for Bengal Florican, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Pied Falconet, Finn’s Weaver, White-throated Bulbul, and Black-backed Forktail. We will be birding from jeep or elephant (one ride mainly to watch BengalFlorican). During our stay we will be visiting various ranges of the park and forest of Panbari so that different habitats in the park – grasslands, marshes, jheels and forests are well covered.

Nameri National Park

Nestled on the foot of the eastern Himalayas on the northern edge of Assam plains are the beautiful forests of Nameri National Park, accessible only after crossing the riverJia Bhareli. This underestimated birding site has an impressive bird list of more than 375 species. We will visit a part of the park after a boat ride across the river and explore this interesting area on foot. Specialties that we will be looking for include rarities like White-winged Duck, White-cheeked Partridge, Blyth’s Kingfisher, Oriental Hobby, Black Baza and Blue-naped Pitta. Nameri and Kaziranga share some birds but many forest birds are easily seen in Nameri. Ibisbill is quite regular between November and early April. We will take a rafting trip on the river to check up this interesting wader. The rafting also gives opportunity to see Great Thick-knee, Wreathed Hornbill, White-capped River-chat and the rare Long-billed Plover.

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

With its extensive grasslands, wetlands, and patches of riverine forests it is home to three specialities - Marsh and Jerdon’s Babblers and Rufous-vented (Swamp Prinia). We will take a boat ride in the park and search for Jerdon’s Bushchat, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Rufous-rumped Grassbird. We can also find Lesser Adjutant, Sand Lark, Rosy and Buff-bellied Pipits, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Smoky and Dusky Warblers and Striated and Chestnut-capped Babblers. Some other birds we may see are Slender-billed Vulture, Wreathed Hornbill, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker and Rufous-necked Laughingthrush.

Mishmi Hills

The Mishmi Hills in the extreme north-east of Arunachal Pradesh, bounded on the south by the Lohit river and on the west by the great Brahmaputra are relatively unexplored. This area has one of the highest annual rainfalls in the Indian subcontinent resulting in luxurious vegetation and high diversity of mountain birds. The area was out of bound for foreigners and has been opened recently by the Indian government. It is home to some of the rarest endemics and sought after birds of the Indian subcontinent. The enigmatic Rusty-throated Wren-Babbler (Mishmi Wren-Babbler) was rediscovered here in 2004, known previously from a specimen collected in 1947 by Salim Ali and S.D. Ripley. We will explore the selection of habitats from the Dibang river (150 m) to Mayodia pass (2655 m ). Expect a wide selection of typical east Himalayan specialities including Black-faced and Streak-throated Laughingthrush, Fulvous Parrotbill, Grey Bullfinch and Spot-winged Rosefinch.

Day 1 Delhi to Guwahati and Nameri

Depart from Delhi in the morning and arrive Guwahati in the state of Assam. Drive straight to Nameri from the airport.

Nightstay Eco-Camp, comfortable tented camp situated close to Nameri National Park.

Day 2 Nameri

There will be good birding in the morning on the grounds of the camp. Oriental Hobby, Lineated Barbet, Red-breasted Parakeet, Greater Yellownape, Orange-belliedLeafbird and Daurian Redstart are not uncommonly seen at Eco-Camp. After crossing the Jia Bhareli river in a small boat in the morning we will walk in the forest and woodland habitats. Our main target would be White-winged Duck. In the open areas of the park we will look for the threatened Pallas’s Fish-Eagle and widespread species like Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Common Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon. Nameri is a good place to look for raptor specialities like Oriental Hobby and Pied Falconet. Forest species we are likely to encounter include Red-breasted Parakeet, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, GreaterYellownape, Lineated and Blue-throated Barbets, Great Pied Hornbill, Lesser Coucal, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Maroon Oriole, Streaked Spiderhunter and Scarlet-backedFlowerpecker. There will also be variety of doves and pigeons - Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Oriental Turtle, Spotted and Emerald Doves, Wedge-tailed, Pin-tailed, Ashy-headed Green (split from Pompadour) and Green Imperial Pigeons. In mixed hunting parties we would see Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Pied Flycatcher-Shrike, Long-tailed and Scarlet Minivets, Large Woodshrike, White-throated Fantail, Common Iora, Sultan Tit, Yellow-browed, Greenish and Grey-hooded Warblers and Chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatches. Other species that we should find include Himalayan Swiftlet, Asian Palm-Swift, Himalayan Black Bulbuls, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Ashy and Spangled Drongos. We will take a rafting trip on the river Jia Bhareli to look for the elegant Ibisbill and Great Thick-knee.

Nightstay Eco-Camp

Day 3 Nameri to Kaziranga

Drive to Kaziranga after breakfast. After four hours drive we’ll reach Kaziranga in time for lunch. In the evening we will go to the park for open-top jeep drive to see birds and mammals (walking is restricted). The low-lying grassland is a superb place to see plenty of fascinating mammals. We will surely see Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian Elephant, Wid Boar and Wild Buffalo. The deer of the park include Swamp and Hog Deer.

Nightstay at a wildlife lodge at Kaziranga.

Day 4-5 Kaziranga

We will go for open-top jeep drive to see the birds and mammals in the park in the morning and evening. One morning we will walk in the Panbari forest and adjacent tea plantation to find woodland birds. To watch the rare Bengal Florican we will use an elephant to find the bustard in the grassland. Indian Rhinoceros, Indian Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, Swamp and Hog Deer can not be missed in the park. Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur and Smooth Indian Otter are the other mammals of the park. There are good numbers of Tigers in the reserve but due to high grasses one generally needs a good amount of luck to come across one. We will look for Grey-headed Lapwing, Kaleej Pheasent, Swamp Francolin, Pied Harrier, Pallas’s Fish-Eagle, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Green-billed Malkoha, Lesser Coucal, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthush, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Pale-chinned Flycatcher, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Green Magpie and more birds during two full days.

Night stay at a wildlife lodge at Kaziranga.

Day 6 Kaziranga to Tinsukhia

Long drive to Tinsukhia after breakfast. We will stop for lunch on the way and to watch birds as there are good opportunities to see Slender-billed Vulture and Lesser Adjutant Stork at some sites.

Nighstay at a comfortable city hotel.

Day 7 Tinsukhia (Assam) to Debang Valley (Arunachal Pradesh)

Early in the moning we will go to Dhola to take ferry across the Lohit river. While on the river quite a few birds can be seen – Lesser Pied Kingfisher, Peregrine Falconand Ruddy Shelduck.

After crossing the river we will drive to the Mishmi Hills and explore the whole area up to Mayodia Pass.

Nightstay in basic resthouses

Day 8-12 The Mishmi Hills

We will spend five days in these remote ranges of the Himalayas from the flood plains at 150 m to Mayodia Pass at 2655 m. There are still patches of good forest and thereare lot of birds! We will look for the endemic Mishmi Wren-Babbler which is relatively common in some areas. We will spend most of our time birding the lush primary forested hillsides from the roadsides which are home to a very interesting East Himalayan specialities.

We are likely to see Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Black Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Pin-tailed and Wedge-tailed Pigeons, Red-headed and Ward’s Trogons, Great and Golden-throated Barbets, Darjeeling, Paleheaded and Bay Woodpeckers and White-browed and Streaked Piculets, Nepal House Martin, Rosy Pipit, White-throated and Ashy Mountain Bulbuls, White-browed and Rufous-breasted Bush-Robins, Hodgson’s and Daurian Redstarts, Slaty-backed Forktail, Plain-backed, Long-tailed, Scaly, Long-billed, Chestnut-bellied, Plain-backed and Scaly Thrushes, Grey-winged Blackbird, Golden and Spot-throated Babblers, Red-billed, Coral-billed, Slender-billed and Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babblers, Wedge-billed Scimitar-Babbler, Rufous-vented, Rufous-chinned, Spotted, Grey-sideded, Blue-winged, Scaly, Blackfaced and Striated Laughingthrushes, Red-faced Liocichla, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-headed and Black-eared Shrike-Babblers, HimalayanCutia,White-hooded Babbler, Streak-throated Rusty-fronted Barwings, Red-tailed, Blue-winged, Chestnut-tailed and Long-tailed Minlas, Yelow-thraoted, Golden-breasted, Streak-throated, Brown-headed Fulvettas, Long-tailed and Beautiful Sibias, White-naped, Black-chinned, Striated and Stripe-throated Yuhinas, Fire-tailedMyzornis, Rufous-headed, Lesser Rufous-headed, Brown and Grey-headed Parrotbills, Chestnut-headed, Grey-bellied, Slaty-bellied and Chestnut-headed Tesias,severalbush-warblers including Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, a good selection of leaf warblers- Ashy-throated, Buff-barred and Black-faced Leaf-Warblers, Bar-winged and Long-biled Wren-Babblers, Vivid, Pale Blue and White-gorgeted Flycatchers, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Yellow-browed, Sultan, Rufous-vented and Rufous fronted Tits, White-tailed and Beautiful Nuthatches, Dark-rumped and Spotwinged Rosefinches, Collared Grosbeak, Crimson and Gold-naped Finches, Green Magpie, CollaredTreepie, Yellow-biled Blue Magpie and Large-billed Crow.

With luck, we might see Sclater’s Monal, Rufous-throated Hill Partridge, Blyth’s Tragopan Gould’s or Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Purple Cochoa and Spot-throated Parrotbill.

Nightstay in basic resthouses

Day 13 Mishmi Hills to Tinsukhia

After a final morning’s birding in the Mishmi Hills we’ll make our way back across the Lohit river and return to our hotel in Tinsukhia for a two night stay.

Nighstay at a comfortable city hotel.

Day 14 Dibru-Saikhowa

We will spend morning visiting Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, 11 km north of Tinsukhia, encompassing a patchwork of seasonally flooded forests, beels (wetlands) and grassy areas between the rivers Dibru and Brahmaputra. We will look for three Indian endemics- Jerdon’s and Marsh Babblers and Rufous-vented (Swamp) Prinia. Our time will also be spent in looking for Black-breasted Parrotbill.

Day 15 Fly to Delhi/Kolkata

Drive to Dibrugarh and fly to Delhi / Kolkata.

Accomodation

We will be using a mix of comfortable city hotels, luxury camps, jungle lodges and rustic resthouse in the Mishmi Hills.

Transport

Transport used on the tour will be car or mini coach. Most of the birding in the Mishmi Hills is on foot along the road and trails leading away from the road. The walks are easy and vehicles are kept handy for comfort.

Climate

Typically the winter is dry and sunny in this part of India but some rain can be expected. Snow is also possible near Mayodia Pass. It is warm in the lowlands and cool to cold at higher elevations.

Photography

Photographic opportunities are good overall, most of the time with good light conditions.

Extension

The tour can be extended for three or four nights to Namdapha, one of the most biologically diverse parts of the Indian subcontinent.

 
Fire-tailed Myzornis
Red-billed Leiothrix
Rufous-vented Yuhina
Mishmi Wren Babbler
Rufous-necked Hornbill
Bar-winged Wren Babbler
Slender-billed Scimitar Babbler
Dibang River
 
 

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