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Covering more than 950km2 and with a bird list of 544 species, Chitwan is the most popular birding site in Nepal and one of the best in Asia. Habitats include large areas of lowland Sal (Shorea robusta) forest, pinewoods on higher slopes and ridges, riverine forest and extensive tall grasslands as well as small lakes and three rivers. 100-150 species are possible in a day visit.
There is much of interest for birders throughout the year in the various habitats. Among the numerous forest birds are Blue Peafowl and Kalij Pheasant, Brown Fish-Owl and Brown Hawk-Owl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Great Hornbill and various pigeons, woodpeckers and passeines.
The grasslands also support a wide range of species such as Pallid Harrier and Pied Harrier, Eastern Grass Owl, Bengal Florican and Striped Buttonquail, Barred Buttonquail and Yellow-legged Buttonquail as well as passerines including White-tailed Stonechat, Large Warbler and Bristled Grass-Warbler and various babblers.
Around lakes and beside rivers it is possible to see Black-necked Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, Painted Stork, Asian Open-bill Stork and Lesser Adjutant Stork, Cinnamon Bittern, Bar-headed Goose, Lesser Whistling-Duck and Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Greater Painted Snipe and kingfishers including Stork-billed Kingfisher and Deep-blue Kingfisher.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Indian Pond Heron, Yellow Bittern, Cinnamon Bittern, Painted Stork, Asian Open-bill Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Black Ibis, Lesser Whistling-Duck, Bar-headed Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Indian Spotbill Duck, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Goosander, Osprey, Black Baza, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Lesser Fishing-Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing-Eagle, Eurasian Black Vulture, Indian King Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Indian Griffon Vulture, Oriental White-backed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, White-eyed Buzzard, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Pied Harrier, Shikra, Greater Spotted Eagle, Chestnut-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Booted Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Collared Falconet, Laggar Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Black Francolin, Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, Blue Peafowl, Baillon's Crake, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Brown Crake, Common Moorhen, Grey-headed Swamphen, Little Buttonquail, Yellow-legged Buttonquail, Barred Buttonquail, Bengal Florican, Common Crane, Demoiselle Crane, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana, Greater Painted-Snipe, Stone-curlew, Great Stone-Plover, Little Pratincole, River Lapwing, Red-wattled Lapwing, Spur-winged Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Temminck's Stint, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Pallas's Gull, Brown-headed Gull, Indian River Tern, Black-bellied Tern, Red Turtle-Dove, Spotted Turtle-Dove, Emerald Dove, Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon, Ashy-headed Green Pigeon, Alexandrine Parakeet, Ring-necked Parakeet, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Moustached Hawk Cuckoo, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Indian Cuckoo, Common Hawk-Cuckoo, Himalayan Cuckoo, Banded Bay-Cuckoo, Grey-bellied Cuckoo Plaintive Cuckoo, Greater Green-billed Malkoha, Sirkeer Cuckoo, Greater Coucal, Lesser Coucal, Eastern Grass Owl, Eurasian Scops-Owl, Oriental Scops-Owl, Forest Eagle-Owl, Brown Fish-Owl, Tawny Fish-Owl, Spotted Owlet, Brown Wood-Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl, Long-tailed Nightjar, Franklin's Nightjar, Savanna Nightjar, Crested Treeswift, Indian White-rumped Spinetail Swift, White-throated Spinetail Swift, White-vented Spinetail Swift, Red-headed Trogon, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Little Green Bee-eater, Indian Roller, Eastern Broad-billed Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Lineated Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Rufous Piculet, White-browed Piculet, Grey-capped Woodpecker, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Rufous Woodpecker, Lesser Yellow-naped Woodpecker, Streak-throated Green Woodpecker, Himalayan Woodpecker, Greater Golden-backed Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Long-tailed Broadbill, Blue-winged Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Bengal Bushlark, Indian Sand Lark, Grey-throated Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Richard's Pipit, Hodgson's Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Large Pied Wagtail, Black-faced Wagtail, Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike, Rosy Minivet, Small Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Large Woodshrike, Common Woodshrike, Black-crested Bulbul, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Iora, Golden-fronted Leafbird, Siberian Rubythroat, Himalayan Rubythroat, Bluethroat, Oriental Magpie-Robin, White-rumped Shama, Black Redstart, Black-backed Forktail, European Stonechat, White-tailed Stonechat, Pied Stonechat, Orange-headed Ground-Thrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Black-chinned Babbler, Black-throated Babbler, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Jerdon's Babbler, Striated Babbler, Slender-billed Babbler, Jungle Babbler, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Rufous-necked Laughingthrush, Nepal Fulvetta, White-bellied Erpornis, Pale-footed Bush-Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Bush-Warbler, Spotted Bush-Warbler, Bristled Grass Warbler, Large Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Blyth's Reed-Warbler, Clamorous Reed-Warbler, Bright-capped Cisticola, Ashy Prinia, Hodgson's Prinia, Jungle Prinia, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Common Chiffchaff, Dusky Warbler, Smoky Warbler, Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher-Warbler, Siberian Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Slaty Blue Flycatcher, Brook's Niltava, Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher, Black-naped Blue Monarch, Indian Paradise-Flycatcher, White-throated Fantail, White-browed Fantail, Cinereous Tit, Sultan Tit, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Tickell's Flowerpecker, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Purple Sunbird, Scarlet Sunbird, Yellow-backed Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Streaked Spiderhunter, Indian White-eye, Chestnut-eared Bunting, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Crested Bunting, Common Rosefinch, Red Avadavat, White-backed Munia, Spotted Munia, Chestnut Munia, House Sparrow, Bengal Weaver, Baya Weaver, Spot-winged Starling, Ashy-headed Starling, Asian Pied Starling, Common Mynah, Bank Mynah, Common Hill Myna, Asian Black-headed Myna, Black Drongo, White-bellied Drongo, Crow-billed Drongo, Bronzed Drongo, Spangled Drongo, Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo, Ashy Woodswallow, Green Magpie, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Indian Crow, Jungle Crow
Mammals are also well represented with Indian Rhinoceros, Gaur and Tiger among the most notable species. Others include Dhole, Sloth Bear, Jungle Cat and various civets and mongooses, Rhesus Macaque and Grey Langur, Sambar, Chital and Hog Deer and Ganges Dolphin.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Chitwan can be reached by road from Kathmandu via Narayanghat or by air via Meghauli and there is an entrance fee. For those who cannot afford to stay within the park at the famous Tiger Tops, there is basic accommodation in local villages such as Sauraha and Meghauli. Elephant rides and boating trips are available and it is possible to bird most of the park on foot.
Chitwan National Park
Kasara, Chitwan, Nepal
Email: [email protected]
Content and images originally posted by Steve
I should say that I'm not primarily a birdwatcher but as I did live in Chitwan for a year (1990) I can at least offer some general info.
Don't think Chitwan is just Tiger Tops that's for mega rich tourists and won't gaurantee you any more sightings than a backpacker could expect.
There are plenty of tourist lodges in the village of Sauraha, they are very cheap and basic (thatched mud huts with a bed and a mossie net) but that's all you need. The park's only physical boundaries are the rivers (no fences) so the wildlife come and go as they please crossing in and out of the park at will.
Sauraha is on the riverbank, you cross the river (in dry season you can wade across) and you are in the park. In order to enter the park you need a permit which the staff at any tourist lodge can obtain for you. You can go into the park on organised elephant or jeep trips or on foot with a local guide (usually someone from the lodge) or you can go on a canoe trip. When I lived there it was possible to enter without a guide as long as you had a permit, I often went around on foot unaccompanied. Only rules are you enter after sunrise and leave before dark otherwise you are liable to be shot as a poacher.
As I said I'm no ornithologist but would say you are gauranteed to see the following on any given day as they were pretty much everywhere: Night Heron, Hoopeo, mynas, green pigeon, vulture, drongos, rose ringed parakeets, cattle egret, rollers, peacocks.
There's a good chance (50/50) you'll also see: Kingfishers pied and regular, Bea eaters, Osprey (one used to fish in the same spot 10 feet from me every evening), Orioles, serpent eagle, egyptian vulture, and various other things that I never knew the names of (sorry)
As for other animals: the Indian one horned rhino is virtually gauranteed, they're all over the place. Marsh mugger crocodile are always about, gharials more elusive. I never saw a tiger the whole time I was there but heard them many times and was never far from them. You may see leopard if you are lucky and Sloth bears are not uncommon. Gaur and buffalo are pretty widespread. Termite mounds, strangler figs, boar, Sambar Deer and Chital are all pretty easy to see on foot in the forest.
There are plenty of wooded areas on the non park side of the river that you can visit for free and there's a nice afternoon walk down to the elephant camp where you could bump into just about anything on a good day (saw a leopard in the middle of the path during the monsoon).
I'm sure I've missed out loads but it was a long time ago, I wouldn't hesitate to recomend it to anyone.
- easy going
- not over regulated