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About North India Birding Top Spots

Updated on July 16, 2021
pateluday profile image

Uday works as a naturalist and birding guide in India. He handles package tours as a leader and a guide to many destinations................

Birding in North India

Bird watching is popular all over the World. It is one of the fastest growing recreation with people of all ages taking part in it. The number of watchers is so phenomenal that a whole industry has been created by them.

India has over thirteen percent of bird species of the World. Out of total twenty seven orders, the country has twenty orders and seventy seven families out of total one hundred fifty five.

Hence it is a coveted destination for hobbyists. The country has many protected areas some of which are popular for birding. There are many sanctuaries which are popular for organised and guided bird watching.

Some winged wonders are highly endangered, notable are the Siberian Crane, Bustards and once common the Sarus Crane. The new breed of enthusiasts, young people who can devout more time and energy are discovering species which were not noted earlier in an area. Hence the distribution maps are also improving. Studying nesting habits by use of photography is also helping in conservation.

North Indian Bird Pics

By Neeraj Vegad
By Neeraj Vegad | Source

Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon

Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon
Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon | Source

Bird Images

Open Billed Stork
Open Billed Stork | Source
Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture | Source

North India Birding Spots

There are plenty of birding destinations in Northern India. A large number of enthusiasts visit this region in quest of rare and endemic avian species. The high profile diversity of birds here is due to altitude variation which forces seasonal migration from high altitude to low and vice verse.

There are more than six hundred species found in the region - some are found at the great Himalayan heights. Birding destinations in Himachal Pradesh are Chail, Narkanda, Pin Valley, Trithan Valley, Lahual, Chattru, Manali.

The notable species of Himachal Pradesh are Alpine Accentor, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black & Yellow Grosbeak, Yellow Billed Blue Magpie, White Collard Black Bird, Variegated Laughing Thrush, Ultramarine flycatcher, Rufus Vented Tit, Russet Sparrow, Rufus Breasted Accentor, Rufus Naped Tit, Pink Browed Rose-finch, Monal Pheasant, Orange Flanked Bush Robin, Himalayan Woodpecker, Himalayan Griffon, Bearded Vulture, Red Headed Bull Finch, Red Billed Chough, Grey Crested Tit and so on.

The most popular regions are in the North India Birding Circuit: New Delhi (Okhla) Sultanpur, Bharatpur, Nainital, Ranikhet, Chambal River, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ranthambhore National Park. Leh & Ladakh is home to some interesting avian species like the Black Necked Crane. Some good areas on that region are: Khardungla Pass, Rumbak Valley, Zingchan, Puga, Polo Konga and - Tso Kar.

Gray Faced Woodpecker

Gray Faced Wood Pecker
Gray Faced Wood Pecker | Source

Bird Images

Scaly Breasted Munia Pair
Scaly Breasted Munia Pair | Source
Yellow Wattled Lapwing
Yellow Wattled Lapwing | Source
Yellow Eyed Babbler
Yellow Eyed Babbler | Source
Greater Flaminos
Greater Flaminos | Source
White Breasted Waterhen
White Breasted Waterhen | Source

Star Birds of Northern India

The most coveted species in India are the less seen or highly resplendent birds. Nevertheless birding is all encompassing and birders like to see a large number of species wherever they go.

Species like the Flamingo, Cranes, Bustards, Pheasants, Ducks, Sun Birds, Raptors are most keenly watched.

The list is long so I will quote a few.

  • Black Necked Crane
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Great White Pelican
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Blood Pheasant
  • Monal
  • Koklas Pheasant
  • Cheer Pheasant
  • Ibisbill
  • Sarus Crane
  • Jerdon's Courser
  • Great Hornbill
  • Malabar Pied Hornbill
  • Oriental Pied Hornbill
  • Eurasian Eagle Owl
  • Spot Bellied Eagle Owl
  • Common Crane
  • Asian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Bristled Grass Bird
  • White Bellied Tree Pie
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Lammergier or Bearded Vulture
  • Long Billed Vulture
  • White Backed Vulture.

It depends upon what one likes to see but the above avian species will certainly entice him. Most of the Indian Birding expeditions in North target these creatures.

North India Map

New Delhi :
New Delhi, Delhi, India

get directions

North India comprises of many states and contains the Himalayas in extreme north and the peninsular India containing the Ganges basin.

Indian Birds Photos

Bar Headed Geese
Bar Headed Geese | Source
Flame Back
Flame Back | Source
Brahminy Duck
Brahminy Duck | Source

Bharatpur Sanctuary

Birding in Bharatpur: This little paradise stands out among other destinations. It is a place that cannot be ignored by the birders. This protected area is home to more than three hundred avian species. The wetlands are good place to watch shore birds, divers and waders.

The bird sanctuary is also a good nesting site. A large number of painted storks, open billed storks, spoonbills, night heron, purple heron, pond heron, grey heron and cormorants breed here. Nearby places like Bund Baretha and Bayan are also included in the tours.

Some of the species found here are:

  • Grey Francolin
  • Coot
  • Tickle’s Thrush
  • Blue Rock Thrush
  • Ashy and Plain Prinia
  • Indian Roller
  • Whiskered Tern
  • River Tern
  • Indian Robin
  • Eurasian Sparrow Hawk
  • Shikra
  • Greylag Geese
  • Dusky Fish Owl
  • Brown Fish Owl
  • Gadwall
  • Bar-headed Geese
  • Spot-billed Duck
  • Northern Pintail
  • Collared Scops Owl
  • Common Teal
  • Black-rumped Flame Back
  • Brown-headed Barbet
  • Hoopoe
  • Common Kingfisher
  • White Throated Kingfisher
  • Spotted Owlet
  • Laughing Dove
  • Common Crane
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Rufus Treepie
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Common Green Shank
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Bronze-winged Jacana
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle
  • Yellow-wattled Lapwing
  • White-tailed Lapwing
  • Oriental Darter
  • Greater Spotted Eagle
  • Black-shouldered Kite
  • Black Kite
  • Richards Pippit
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Imperial Eagle
  • Common Kestrel
  • Indian Cormorant
  • Great Cormorant
  • Purple Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-heron
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Black-headed Ibis
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • Painted Stork
  • Open Billed Stork
  • Black Drongo
  • Red-breasted Flycatcher
  • Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher
  • Oriental Magpie-robin
  • Brahminy Starling
  • Asian Pied Starling
  • Bank Myna
  • Barn Swallow
  • Wire-tailed Swallow
  • Oriental Sky Lark
  • Dusky Crag Martin
  • Paddy field Pipit
  • Marsh Harrier
  • House Martin
  • Lesser White Throat
  • Common Tailor Bird
  • Purple Sunbird
  • White Wagtail
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Olive-backed Pipit
  • Hume’s Warbler
  • Indian Silver bill.

Bharatpur is near Agra which is connected with New Delhi by road and rail. The best season is the winter whence large flocks of visitors can be seen here.

Bharatpur Map

Bharatpur Rajasthan India:
Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India

get directions

Bharatpur is a small town in the State of Rajasthan in India. It is well known for the bird sanctuary that is also known as Keoladeo Ghana.

Birds of North India

Common Hawk Cuckoo
Common Hawk Cuckoo | Source

Bharatpur Video

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bird Images

Coppersmith Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet | Source
Egyptian Vulture
Egyptian Vulture | Source
Laughing Dove
Laughing Dove | Source
Shikra Falcon
Shikra Falcon | Source

Chambal Birding

Chambal River Sanctuary is situated about seventy kilometre from Agra. A large stretch has been declared as protected area and it encompasses the State of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The river is home to marsh crocodile, gharial and dolphin. A large number of bird species inhabit this pristine river. Some of the interesting species that can be seen here are:

  • Sand Lark
  • Greater Coucal
  • Black Headed Bunting
  • Red headed Bunting
  • Sarus Crane
  • Chestnut Bellied Partridge
  • Indian skimmer.
  • Pallas's Fish Eagle
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Indian Courser
  • Grey Lag Geese
  • The Pallid Harrier
  • Lesser Flamingos
  • Black-bellied Terns
  • Red-crested Pochard
  • Osprey
  • Ferruginous Pochard
  • Lesser Whistling Teal
  • Bar-headed Goose
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Temminck's Stint
  • River Tern
  • Bonelli's Eagle
  • Great Thick-knee
  • Knob Billed Duck
  • Greater Flamingos
  • Snake Bird
  • Brown Hawk Owl
  • Spotted Owlet
  • Indian Eagle Owl
  • Kentish Plover
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Lagger Falcon
  • River Lapwing
  • Black Headed Gull
  • Brown Headed Gull
  • Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Woolly Necked Stork

On the banks one can see wild animals like the leopard,deer, Nilgai, jackal, hyena, fox and hare.

Chambal River Map

Chambal River MP :
Chambal, Uttar Pradesh

get directions

Chambal River originates in MP and flow through Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. It is well known for being a sanctuary for gharial, crocodiles, dolphin.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis | Source


Chambal is one of the pristine and unspoilt rivers in India. The sight of Gangetic Dolphin merging from the depth of the river is a heart throbbing.


Greater Cormorant
Greater Cormorant | Source


Nainital Lake and Hills
Nainital Lake and Hills | Source

Bird Images From North India

Ashy Crowned Finch Lark
Ashy Crowned Finch Lark | Source
Black Finch Lark
Black Finch Lark | Source
Blue Capped Rock Thrush
Blue Capped Rock Thrush | Source
Collared Scops Owl
Collared Scops Owl | Source

Northern Birds

Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle | Source
Gold Mantled Chloropsis
Gold Mantled Chloropsis | Source
Pied Cuckoo
Pied Cuckoo | Source
Savanna Nightjar
Savanna Nightjar | Source

Bird Picture

Mottled Wood Owl
Mottled Wood Owl | Source
Painted Snipe
Painted Snipe | Source
Yellow Footed Green Pigeon
Yellow Footed Green Pigeon | Source
Dancing Peacock
Dancing Peacock | Source

Pangot & Sat Taal

These two famous destinations are situated in the heights of Himalayas and are visited for bird watching. Both are in Naini Taal District and are popular with birders. The avian species differ in both the destinations due to altitude variation. Sat Taal is at a height of 1400 plus MSL while Pangot is at an altitude of 2300 plus MSL.

Checklist of Pangot & Sat Tal

  • Koklass Pheasant
  • Cheer Pheasant
  • Lammergeir
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Common Hill Partridge
  • Black Francolin
  • Kalij Pheasant
  • Common Kestrel

  • Red-headed Vulture
  • Mountain Hawk-Eagle
  • Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
  • Large Hawk-Cuckoo
  • Mountain Scops Owl
  • Asian Barred Owlet
  • Large-tailed Nightjar
  • Great Barbet
  • Speckled Piculet
  • Rufous-bellied Woodpecker
  • Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Stripe-breasted Woodpecker
  • Brown-fronted Woodpecker
  • Himalayan Woodpecker
  • Greater Yellow-naped Woodpecker
  • Streak-throated Woodpecker
  • Scaly-bellied Woodpecker
  • Grey-headed Woodpecker
  • Large Woodshrike
  • Large Cuckoo-shrike
  • Long-tailed Minivet
  • Grey-backed Shrike
  • Maroon Oriole
  • Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Black-headed Jay
  • Red-billed Blue Magpie
  • Grey Treepie
  • Common Raven
  • Green-backed Tit
  • Black-lored Tit
  • Rufous-vented Tit
  • Rufous-naped Tit
  • Spot-winged Tit
  • Eurasian Crag Martin
  • Nepal House Martin
  • Black-throated Tit
  • Striated Prinia
  • White-cheeked Bulbul
  • Mountain Bulbul
  • Black Bulbul
  • Aberrant Bush Warbler
  • Tickell's Leaf Warbler
  • Hume's Leaf Warbler
  • Greenish Warbler
  • Golden-spectacled Warbler
  • Grey-hooded Warbler
  • Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
  • White-throated Laughing-thrush
  • White-crested Laughing-thrush
  • Striated Laughing-thrush
  • Streaked Laughing-thrush
  • Chestnut-crowned Laughing-thrush
  • Blue-winged Minla
  • Rufous Sibia
  • Whiskered Yuhina
  • Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
  • White-tailed Nuthatch
  • Bar-tailed Treecreeper
  • Jungle Myna
  • Chestnut-tailed Starling
  • Blue Whistling Thrush
  • Plain-backed Thrush
  • Scaly Thrush
  • Dark-sided Thrush
  • White-collared Blackbird
  • Grey-winged Blackbird
  • Eurasian Blackbird
  • Red-throated Thrush
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Orange-flanked Bush Robin
  • Blue-capped Redstart
  • Slaty-backed Forktail
  • Spotted Forktail
  • Grey Bushchat
  • Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher
  • Rusty-tailed Flycatcher
  • Ultramarine Flycatcher
  • Asian Verditer Flycatcher
  • Rufous-bellied Niltava
  • Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher
  • Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
  • Green-tailed Sunbird
  • Russet Sparrow
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Olive-backed Pipit
  • Upland Pipit
  • Red-fronted Serin
  • Yellow-breasted Greenfinch
  • European Goldfinch
  • Dark-breasted Rosefinch
  • Common Rosefinch
  • Pink-browed Rosefinch
  • Dark-rumped Rosefinch
  • Spot-winged Rosefinch

Apart from recreation the destination also provides healthy climate for wellness.

Nainital (Pangot & Sat Taal Map)

Nainital Uttranchal India:
Pangot, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India

get directions


Pangot in Nainital Uttrakhand
Pangot in Nainital Uttrakhand | Source

Sat Taal

Kainchi Dham Sat Taal
Kainchi Dham Sat Taal | Source
Brown Wood Owl
Brown Wood Owl | Source
Chir Pheasant
Chir Pheasant | Source
Great Himalayan Kingfisher
Great Himalayan Kingfisher | Source
Rufous Throated Partridge
Rufous Throated Partridge | Source
Twany Eagle Owl
Twany Eagle Owl | Source
Yellow Billed Blue Magpie Photo
Yellow Billed Blue Magpie Photo | Source

Nesting Bird

Bonelli's Eagle Nest
Bonelli's Eagle Nest | Source


Flamingo Mating
Flamingo Mating | Source


Birding at Higher reaches of Himalayan Foothills like Sat Tal & Pangot offers double delight. Apart from rare hill birds the sight of mighty Himalayas is enchanting.


Long Tailed Minivet
Long Tailed Minivet | Source


Do You Like Birding in North India?

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© 2012 Uday Patel


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