Despite its small landmass Bhutan has a remarkable abundance of flora and fauna and is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world.
The terrain is incredibly rugged and there are huge variations in altitude. The northern regions of the country consist mostly of snowy mountains and glaciers but range from subalpine conifer forests to broadleaf forests in the central region and dense subtropical forests in the south. This wide-range of climatic conditions allows for an unparalleled array of vegetation and wildlife to thrive within Bhutan.
There are countless varieties of rare plants and endangered animals living within our forests. Additionally the habitat of these animals has been well protected due to the efforts of the government and the people. As part of the country’s conservation efforts official policy dictates that 60% of the country’s landmass must remain forested, however the country currently has around 72% forest cover. Red Pandas, Barking Deer, Golden Langurs, Royal Bengal Tigers, Takins, Sheep and Himalayan Black Bears are just a few of the many rare and exotic animals that can be seen in Bhutan.
The kingdom is also an ornithological hotspot with hundreds of rare and endangered birds inhabiting its lush forests. The Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Grey bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Blyth’s King Fisher, Rumped Honey Guide, Purple Cochoa, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Red headed Parrot Bill, Chestnut breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe and the iconic Black-necked Crane are a few of the birds that can be spotted throughout the kingdom.
Flora and Fauna
Nestled deep within the Himalayas, Bhutan is a treasure trove of biological diversity with an unparalleled richness of flora and fauna due to the varied attitudinal and climatic conditions present in the country. This fragile ecosystem has remained unspoiled due to the conservation efforts of the Bhutanese people and government. Today 60% of the kingdom’s total area has been designated as protected nature preserves.
Bhutan is the perfect destination for enthusiastic horticulturalists as it contains more than 60%of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas. It also boasts of approximately 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Blue Poppies (the national flower), Edelweiss, Gentian, various medicinal herbs, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, Pine and Oak trees are among the plants commonly found.
The kingdom is also home to a wide variety of animals. At higher altitudes you will come across snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, takin, marmots and musk deer. Leopards, gorals, gray langurs, Himalayan black bears, red pandas, sambars, wild pigs and barking deer are found in the temperate zones. The tropical forests in the south are a haven for clouded leopards, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalos, golden langurs, gaurs, swamp deer, hog deer, horn bills and many other species. Bhutan is home to the highest altitude inhabiting Tigers in the world and they are commonly found throughout the country.
Visitors can experience the magnificent flora and fauna of Bhutan through sightseeing tours or by embarking on treks and hikes through beautiful virgin forests, pristine Himalayan Mountains and across sparkling crystal clear rivers fed by ancient mountain glaciers. Roads in Bhutan pass through the rich forests so travelers can experience the majestic natural environments of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers and ornithologists. Over 670 species of birds have been recorded and many more are yet to be discovered. Around 50 species of the known birds are winter migrants. These include ducks, waders, birds of prey, thrushes, finches and buntings.
The partial migrants to Bhutan include cuckoos, swifts, bee-eaters, warblers and flycatchers. The country harbors more than 16 species of vulnerable birds. They are the Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White bellied Heron, Satyr Tragopan, Gray-bellied Tragopan, Ward’s Trogon, Blyth’s King Fisher, Yellow-rumped Honey Guide, Rufous Throated Wren Babbler, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Blyth’s Trogon, Wood Snipe, Dark-rumped Swift, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Gray-crowned Prinia and the Beautiful Nuthatch all of which breed in Bhutan.
Bhutan is home to many species of birds that are in danger of extinction, including the Imperial Heron, which is one of the fifty rarest birds in the world and the rare Black-Necked Crane, which breeds in Tibet and then migrates over the Himalayas to Bhutan during the winter months. The Cranes can be spotted in Phobjikha Valley in Western Bhutan, Bumthang in Central Bhutan and in Bomdeling in Eastern Bhutan. They migrate to these winter roosting sites in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March.
The following is a comprehensive list of the endangered birds of Bhutan:
1. Baer’s Pochard
2. Beautiful Nuthatch
3. Black-necked Stork
4. Blackish-breasted Babbler
5. Blyth’s Kingfisher
6. Chestnut-breasted Partridge
7. Dark-rumped Swift
8. Eurasian Curlew
9. Eurasian Peregrine Falcon
10. Ferruginous Duck
11. Gray-crowned Prinia
12. Great Hornbill
13. Lesser Fish-eagle
14. Palla’s Fish-eagle
15. Pallid Harrier
16. Rufous-necked Hornbill
17. Rufous-throated Wren-babbler
18. Satyr Tragopan
19. Ward’s Trogon
20. White-rumped Vulture
21. White-throated Bushcat
23. Yellow-rumped Honeyguide
24. Black-necked Crane
25. Imperial Heron
26. White-bellied Heron