Nepal - 11th -20th April 2011

Published by Julian Thomas (julianthomas AT talktalk.net)

Participants: Julian Thomas, Jane Clayton, Hathan Chaudhary

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Photos can be viewed at www.flickr.com/photos/neiljulianthomas/sets. When I booked this tour with Naturetrek in November 2010 I was anxious that there might be no available spaces, but little did I guess that there would be no other bookings and in fact we had to book it as a private tour. This meant an extra 10% surcharge but we had no regrets going and had a thoroughly enjoyable, trouble free trip with some brilliant wildlife sightings in a country I had long wanted to visit.

11th April. We arrived in Kathmandu after trouble free flights with Qatar Airways (definitely one of the best international carriers) to be met by out guide/tour leader Hathan Chaudhary. Hathan had a detailed and expert knowledge of Nepal’s birds and mammals with really impressive skills in the field and we really appreciated having his services for the tour.

We steered our way through the traffic chaos of Kathmandu to the Marshyandhi Hotel, Jane noting that after 20 years cars and mopeds had replaced donkey carts, and the narrow streets are now crowded with mobile phone shops as well as souvenir dealers.

There was no shortage of restaurants around the hotel, and we opted for Thai food. It was certainly cheap, but it is perhaps no longer true that one would struggle to spend more than £6 a head, while the bottled water from a street vendor was more expensive than a pub pint in the UK. The bird list for this first day was hardly extensive; Black Kite, Common Myna, House Sparrow, Ring-necked Parakeet, House Crow, House Swift, with mammals represented by Rhesus Macaques sitting on walls and watching their primate cousins.

12th April. After a splendid buffet breakfast we left at 7.30 for the c5 hour drive to Chitwan NP, heading down the valley of the Trisuli River. The hillsides were less deforested than I had expected, and in fact most slopes had some sort of (albeit degraded) tree cover. We made a few stops to view the river, at a tea shop, and for a picnic lunch at a low altitude in sal forest, before we hit the Gangetic Plain and drove the final km to Chitwan.

In the stops we made a variety of birds were seen; Great Barbet, Orange-headed Ground-thrush, Blue-capped Rock-thrush, Little Egret, Red-billed Blue-magpie, Large-billed Crow, Ashy, Black and Spangled Drongo, Blue Whistling Thrush, Oriental Magpie Robin, Plum-headed Parakeet, White-capped Water-Redstart, Jungle Myna, Red-rumped and Barn Swallow, Red-vented Bulbul, Oriental White-eye, Crimson Sunbird, and White-rumped Munia. Raptors always excite, and I was pleased to see Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, and Crested Honey-buzzard. An Indian Monitor viewed the world from a hollow tree.

The only bird of note seen on the plains was a morose looking Lesser Adjutant.

‘Paradise View’ Lodge was a really nice to stay with clean, comfortable rooms and simple but tasty Indian food in quantity. The view overlooks a water hyacinth choked lagoon, with extensive areas of savannah stretching into the distance. Before a fairly ferocious thunderstorm broke I went to the viewpoint and was delighted to see Hog Deer ease itself into the open, a buck with antlers in velvet. Birds seen included Indian Roller, Black Ibis, Yellow-eyed Babbler, White-breasted Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, Spotted Dove, Red-collared Dove, Red-wattled Lapwing, Rufous Treepie and Golden Oriole.

As the rain eased Hathan took us for a walk along the bund at the edge of the lake and grassland, and with his expertise a wider range of birds were soon being identified – Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Indian Cuckoo (the woodlands rang with their calls), Lesser Coucal, Alexandrine Parakeet, Brown crake, White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen, Pintail Snipe, Bronze-winged Jacana, Oriental Darter, Intermediate Egret, Indian Pond-Heron, Cinnamon Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-hooded Oriole, Black redstart, White-tailed and Common Stonechat, Pied Bushchat, Chestnut tailed and Asian Pied Starling, Zitting Cisticola, Grey-breasted Prinia, Thick-billed Warbler, Blyth’s Reed-Warbler, Rufous-rumped Grassbird, Jungle Babbler, Rufous-winged and Sand Lark, and Paddyfield Pipit.

We wandered as far as the Rapti River before returning, where to my delight two Greater One-horned Rhinoceros (such a spectacular and extraordinary animal surely deserves to have its name written in full) were seen moving slowly through the long grass that covered all of them except for the tops of their backs. They were a mother and nearly fully grown calf. Definitely one of the most extraordinary animals left on earth, to see one in the wild felt like coming face to face with a dinosaur.

At dusk many bats were seen but no nightjars.

13th April. At dawn a thunderstorm delayed our excursion, and we set off at 6.30, exploring forest edge, open woodland and grasslands close to the lodge, with the weather clearing. It was a big contrast to Indian Parks to be able to wander freely on foot, in spite of the presence of Tiger, Rhino, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Gaur, Mugger Crocodile and Elephant, any of which could potentially provide the last wildlife sighting of ones life!

Two striking and confusable woodpeckers were Himalayan and Black-backed Flamebacks, with other additions being Green Bee-eaters, Red-breasted parakeet, Black-shouldered Kite, Greenish Warbler, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Crested Bunting, and Scaly-breasted Munia. An Indian Grey Mongoose wandered through a banana plantation.

After breakfast it was our turn on the elephant and we headed out from the camp, accompanied by the elephant’s half grown calf. We quickly found a herd of Hog Deer, the group of 8 consisting of bucks, does and well grown fawns. As we entered the woodlands on the far side of the grasslands there was a snort, and we could view a Rhino from just a few metres, it being particularly pleasing to see it effectively in the open, and not largely obscured by long grass.

As we continued through the woodland I saw an unmistakeable striped shape ghosting through the forest. I thought the Tiger had slipped away, but amazingly it lay down on the path to watch us. We became concerned as the baby elephant continued slowly towards the Tiger, apparently oblivious of the danger, but as the distance shortened the Tiger lunged towards us, then shot off into cover as the elephant reacted, to glare at us from the bushes, before it eased itself into long grass and out of sight. It is always an extreme privilege to view this stunning and utterly awesome animal, and one I had not expected to encounter in Chitwan. Other mammals seen were Wild Boar, 3 Indian Grey Mongoose, and other small groups of Hog Deer.

An elephant is not an ideal bird watching platform, although our mahout was very skilled in getting the elephant to stop when requested, and these species were seen; Black francolin, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, 3 Greater Painted Snipe, Shikra, Honey Buzzard, Brown Shrike, Bluethroat, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Great Tit, and Olive-backed Pipit.

On our return to the lodge the impressive Stork-billed Kingfisher flew though the site.

In the afternoon we went for a long jeep drive, crossing the river that was crowded with worshippers visiting a temple in the park, and who must have been amused by our antics as we viewed 3 Gharial and one Mugger Crocodile, as well as River Lapwing, Citrine Wagtail, Ruddy Shelduck, Lesser Adjutant, Black Ibis, Temminck’s Stint and Little Ringed Plover.

In the park we travelled through sal woodland, frequented by many Chital and Wild Boar, with stops made to view a single bull Gaur, a spectacular and massively built wild ox, that I had always managed to miss in India. A little further on another sudden braking signalled the chance to view a mother Sloth Bear and two cubs moving through the forest, the cubs continually play fighting as they moved. Rhino were also seen, with four rather distant individuals, but with superb views of one grazing (is it grazing or browsing when the grass is 5 feet tall?) right by the track. Jungle Mynas took the place of Oxpeckers in Africa, the Rhino shaking them off at one point.

Birds seen included Grey-headed Fish-Eagle, Red Jungle-fowl, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Crested Tree-Swift, White-eyed Buzzard, Peregrine, Little Cormorant, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Scarlet Minivet, with Oriental Skylark seen as returned to camp to view the sunset, this being the first time I had observed sunspots through the telescope.

14th April. It was hot and sunny all day, the day starting with a walk around the grasslands and woodlands around the lodge, with much time spent along the river. The focus was on birds, although Hog Deer and Mongoose were seen and rather disconcertingly we followed the very fresh tracks of two tigers along many of the trails. In the scrub we saw Thick-billed, Blyth’s Reed, Dusky and Greenish Warbler.

Along the river there was a limited selection of waders; Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Common redshank, and River Lapwing, with 2 Osprey circling overhead. and displaying Oriental Honey-Buzzard over the surrounding forest. The short turf and reed patched by the river revealed pristine male Citrine Wagtails, Rosy Pipit, Bluethroat and White-browed wagtail.

Various water-birds fringed the river into the distance; Black Ibis, Openbills, Lesser Adjutant, Pond Heron and a trio of Little, Intermediate and Great Egret.

Hathan was determined to show us some Prinias, and we located Ashy, Yellow-bellied and Plain.

Numbers of Mynas flying over included two Hill Mynas.

Returning through the woodland we saw Streak-throated Woodpecker, Red-throated Flycatcher, and a Grey-bellied Cuckoo, obligingly calling from a bare branch. A hunting Shikra gave superb views at very close range as it scanned for prey, perching very upright. After this walk I went out along the same route later, finding Dollarbird, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Grey-backed Shrike.

In the afternoon we set off in the jeep, travelling through sal forest to view two lakes, one fringed with grassland and overlooked by a rickety tower, which was, however, being load tested by a large party of somewhat obese tourists, so we judged it safe to ascend. Once again we had the full Rhino experience, with three seen, two at very close range as they grazed. J was responsible for spotting a Sloth Bear, and we had good views of it digging at the base of logs, but not giving ideal photo opportunities, as it was partly obscured by vegetation, and nearly always had its head down, or presented a bear behind. Other mammals seen were a Small Indian Mongoose, standing on its hind legs like a stoat, Wild Boar, Chital, Rhesus Macaque and a single Five-striped Palm Squirrel, which seem extraordinarily scarce. On this excursion woodpeckers were well represented, with Greater and Lesser Yellownape, many Himalayan Flamebacks, and Grey-headed. Common Kingfisher was added to the list at the lake, as were Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon, Ruddy-breasted Crake and Purple Heron. We had good views of the Grey-headed Fish-Eagle perched by its eyrie.

Two threatened grassland specialists were lured into view by Hathan’s tape; Slender-billed Babbler and Grey-crowned Prinia.

Reptile interest was provided by a very large Gangetic Soft-shelled Turtle, and two Mugger Crocodiles.

15th April. We sadly said farewell to Chitwan, seeing just a Cinnamon Bittern before we left for the long drive to Koshi Tappu. The journey was along the edge of the Himalayan foothills for the most part. Apart from a puncture, and the possibility of running out of petrol (there was a fuel shortage and several stations had run dry) it was a trouble free journey along good roads, with light traffic. The journey gave glimpses of Nepali rural and urban life, but what surprised me was how much natural vegetation remained in this part of Nepal. The hills were mostly continuously forested, but even of the terai we travelled through extensive forest.

A few stops were made on the way. A walk down from a village where our driver availed himself of lunch revealed Alpine Swifts swirling around the cliffs, together with Eurasian Sparrowhawk, and several displaying Shikra and Honey Buzzards. Himalayan Bulbul was seen, but better still along an insignificant ditch were two dapper Black-backed Forktails.

Other stops produced Grey Hornbill, Plain Flowerpecker, and Mountain Hawk eagle. At Koshi Barrage there was hardly a smorgasbord of birds to view, but Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Garganey, Great-crested Grebe were new for the trip. In the strongly flowing water the surface was broken by the inconspicuous surfacing of 1-2 Gangetic River Dolphins; one has to hope they are able to avoid the numerous nets set in the area.

Lagoons on the river flood plain, although heavily utilised and disturbed by fishermen, held among other species, Purple Gallinule, Little Grebe, Lesser Whistling Duck, and the always astonishing Pheasant-tailed jacana, some in full breeding plumage. Two Peregrine flew over, and Black-shouldered Kite was an expected raptor. In the short turf and along the roadsides Richard’s Pipit and Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark were located before we arrived at Koshi Camp. Unfortunately two days before our arrival a violent storm had caused extensive damage to the camp, ripping off the dining area roof, which was amazing as most if not all of the thatch and wattle and daub homes of the rural poor had survived intact, which the debris from the roof suggested it had been made of sturdy construction. Fortunately the cyclone? Had not caused any deaths or serious injury.

As soon as we arrived we were treated to the sight of a Jungle Cat slipping through the camp area, showing its lynx like ears, relatively short banded tail and faintly banded hindquarters. Not perhaps as awesome as a Tiger at close quarters, but I was still thrilled with this sighting.

Large numbers of Night Herons and Little Cormorants flew around here, and a noisily calling Blue-throated barbet was easily tracked down, before we went to the hide which overlooks three lily and lotus decorated fish ponds. A Black Bittern stalked among emergent vegetation and a Stork-billed Kingfisher flew through before darkness fell and we enjoyed the firefly and Spotted Little Owl show around the camp dining area.

16th April. Clear skies and the hottest day so far, with temperatures well into the 30s, with quite high humidity. In the morning we travelled by jeep along a bund, with the Koshi River floodplain on one side, with broad sandflats and grasslands, and scrub and light woodlands closest to the bunds. On the other side of the bund was farmland, but with fishponds and lagoons to provide interest. One possibly ominous development was a canal being constructed, presumably for the purpose of draining off the water that supplies these wetlands.

The damage too many trees was quite extensive and would be consistent with wind speeds in the range of 70-80 mph.
The endangered wild Water Buffalo were viewed in the distance with one herd totalling 25 animals, and the long lyre shaped horns on some were apparent. Other mammals were several Indian Grey Mongoose, Asiastic Golden Jackal and Hog Deer. We located some of the threatened or endangered grassland species; the Bristled Grassbird that came very close to a tape lure, and a pair of Swamp Francolin which were spotted as we were driving back, after we failed to find them after extensive searching. Our luck was in as we scanned the floodplain, as a male Bengal Florican was seen in flight, with flashing white wings. A female joined the male and the pair flew off into the distance.

Water birds were the focus for much of the time, with additional species being Pied Kingfisher, Black-headed Ibis, Great Cormorant, Great Thicknee, Marsh harrier, and Little Green Heron. In the scrub and woodland we saw White-throated fantail, Common Iora, Purple Sunbird, Striated Babbler, Striated Grassbird, Dark-sided Flycatcher and Rosy Starling.

In the afternoon I spent some time in the hide, photographing Pond Herons, an obliging Wryneck and various other species. The afternoons excursion was again along the bund, but in the other direction thorough mostly woodland of Indian Rosewood and Acacia. The focus was to be on owls, but unfortunately the cyclone had destroyed the roosting tree of the Brown Hawk Owl, so if the bird had survived it could not be located. The Brown Fish Owls were made of sterner stuff and two were found glaring at us from their roost, with a Jungle Owlet active in the trees behind us.

Additional birds seen on this walk were Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Rufous Woodpecker, Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike, Common Woodshrike, and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler.

Returning to the camp we waited to view the Jungle Cat, seeing it sneaking along one of the bunds of the fish ponds. A jackal with a cub, and the Black Bittern were seen in this end of day excursion.

17th April. It was clear and sunny all day, hot in the afternoon and becoming oppressively humid in the evening.

We made an early start to drift 15-20 km down the Koshi river, which diverts into many broad channels over the floodplain. The channels are intersected by sandbanks, the more established colonised by extensive grasslands. The river had an significant flow, but I was surprised to find how shallow much of it was, as witnessed by intermittent mid-channel groundings.

Several of the hoped for river species were seen, with numbers of Small Pratincoles flying like hirundines over the water, with smaller numbers of Black-bellied, Little and Indian River Terns. Waders were present but scarce, perhaps not surprising as the sandy deposits must offer poor feeding, but Lesser Sand-Plover was seen, as well as greenshank, Kentish Plover, Temminck’s Stint and Common Sandpipers.

From the boat some grassland species were seen, including two Bengal Floricans in flight and one on the ground, Bristled Grassbird, Bright-capped Cisticola, and various prinias, including the extremely localised Rufous-vented.

It was apparently too late for most raptors, but we did see a soaring Greater Spotted eagle, an Osprey with a fish, and three White-rumped Vultures, a sight that would hardly have rated a second glance on my first visit to India.

Other birds included Egrets, Black Ibis, Garganey, Pied and White-throated Kingfishers, and a superb flock of 13 Pallas’s Gulls.

Some 25 wild Water Buffalo and a Jackal were expected mammals, less so was a group of 7 Asian Wild elephants crossing the grasslands. There were 6 bulls, one a really impressive tusker, and one cow/tuskless individual. I spent some hours in teh hide and was pleased to find the juvenile Black Bittern close to the hide before lunch, but thrilled to find the adult just feet away when I crept in after lunch. I was also able to photograph Red-throated Flycatcher, Spotted Little Owl, Coucal, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker and Stork-billed Kingfisher. We then went through farmland to view the roost of Indian Flying Foxes in a large silk cotton tree. I counted 163, which probably mean the total was above 200, but apparently many had perished in the cyclone. They were very active, but like us feeling the heat and fanning themselves with their wings. On our return to the camp the Jungle Cat slipped out of the reeds at 6.15 and trotted off down a path. Three sightings must count as a result, as the last tour group missed it completely.

18th April. With a scheduled departure from Koshi Camp at 11.00 we had enough time for a walk along the embankment in the early morning. Grey Heron was the only new species, but it was relaxing watching squadrons of Cattle and other egrets flying up the river channel, Jackals along the bunds, and an assortment of birds such as Brown Shrike, Golden Oriole, Dusky Warbler and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler. Around the camp I was able to photograph Blue-throated Flycatcher, Coppersmith Barbets coming to a fig tree, as well as Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Olive-backed Pipit, Lesser Whistling Duck and Hoopoe.

Our delayed flight gave views of the Koshi floodplain and it cleared just enough to give views of the high Himalaya and amongst the peaks, Everest. Back in Kathmandu the journey to the hotel was less testing than last time, perhaps because half of the vehicles in Kathmandu appeared to be queuing for petrol.

19th April. A complete change of scene was offered from the terai habitats as we headed for the forested slopes of Phulchowki, at 2,700m the highest peak in the Kathmandu Valley. A track wound around the hillside to the radio station at the summit, allowing easy access through the epiphyte festooned forest, interspersed with stands of bamboo and rhododendron.
The natural beauty was tarnished by inordinate quantities of litter. The local custom is obviously to abandon picnic remains where eaten, which is fine when the plates are made from woven leaves, but less satisfactory now the majority use plastic.

The refuse did at least have the benefit of pulling in a scavenging Yellow-throated marten, which would find picnic remains as easier challenge than the Orange-bellied Squirrel that must form part of its natural prey. We expected the morning to be more productive, as is generally the case with forest birding, but this was particularly marked here. We reached a point near the summit and enjoyed views of the Anapurna range and lots of bird activity at 11.00 am, at which point thunderclouds rolled in. Just before the torrential rain it became twilight dark – it was scarcely possible to read a book, and we crept down the mountain with headlights on full beam. After this storm rapidly cleared but although the sun came out the birds did not, and the afternoon was hard work.

In the morning a good selection of forest species was seen including Kalij Pheasant, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Oriental Turtle Dove, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Jay, Maroon Oriole, Long-tailed Minivet, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Blue Whistling-thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Dark-throated Thrush, Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Grey-headed canary Flycatcher, White-tailed Robin, Grey Bushchat, White-tailed Nuthatch, Black-lored tit, Black-throated Tit, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Whistler’s Warbler, Black-faced Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Ashy-throated Warbler, White-throated Laughing-Thrush, Striated laughing-thrush, Chestnut-crowned Laughing-Thrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, Chestnut-tailed Minla, White-browed Shrike-babbler, White-browed Fulvetta, Rufoue-winged Fulvetta, Rufous Sibia, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and Green-tailed Sunbird. Collared Owlet and Chestnut-headed Tesia were calling but remained elusive. In the afternoon we did get good views of Golden-throated and Great barbets, but little was seen until we descended the mountain.

Late in the afternoon, and at lower altitudes birds appeared and we saw Besra, Eurasian Cuckoo, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Grey treepie, Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike, Black Bulbul, and Hume’s Warbler.

A final flourish was provided by a smart Slaty-backed Forktail on a boulder in a small stream, before our return to the city.

20th April. Said goodbye to Hathan and Nepal, having packed a lot into a few days. Numbers of Indian Flying Foxes and Cattle Egrets in the city was the last wildlife sighting.

Species Lists

Mammals

Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus. A roost in a silk cotton tree was visited near Koshi Tappu. I counted 163 individuals, which means total would probably be over 200, but apparently many perished in the storm. Another roost in Kathmandu was passed as we drove to the airport.

Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta. Several seen in Kathmandu, with smaller numbers seen regularly in Chitwan, and a few at Koshi Barrage.

Asiatic Golden Jackal Canis lupus. A few individuals seen each day around Koshi Tappu.

Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus. Four individuals were seen in Chitwan NP, a mother and two cubs on 13/4, and a solitary male digging around tree roots on 14/4.

Small Indian Mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus. One was seen in Chitwan NP, standing on its hind legs like a stoat.

Indian Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsi. This diurnal carnivore was fairly easy to see in both Chitwan and at Koshi Tappu, with 1-4 individuals seen daily at both locations.

Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula. One seen scavenging by the roadside at Phulkhowki.

Jungle Cat Felis chaus. Having never connected with this species in India, I was very pleased to get sightings on three evenings around Koshi Tappu camp. I suspect the cat spends the day in the reedbed, leaving between 5-6.00 pm to hunt. (Fishing Cat had not been seen this year, but camera trap evidence suggests it may be a regular late night visitor).

Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris. Thrilling close range views of a female on our first morning in Chitwan NP. Tracks of a male and female were seen around ‘Paradise View’ the following morning.

Gangetic Dolphin Platanista gangetica. One or two individuals of this peculiar cetacean seen surfacing close to the Koshi Barrage, showing the slender beak and small triangular dorsal fin.

Asian Elephant Elephas maximus. I did not expect to see this species so we were pleased to see a herd of 7 (6 bulls and one cow/tuskless individual) striding across the grasslands of the Koshi floodplain.

Greater One-horned Rhinoceros Rhinoceros unicornis. Eleven different Rhinos were seen in Chitwan NP, including a mother with her calf, and we had several close range viewings of this fabulous animal. Mostly seen in the grasslands, but also in wallows.

Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Fairly common in Chitwan NP, with some 16 seen, either in small herds, or solitary males.

Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak. One seen in Chitwan on 13/4, and heard barking at Phulkowchi.

Chital Cervus axis. Fairly common in the sal forests of Chitwan NP, with 40 seen on the 13/4, and 15 on 14/4.

Hog Deer Cervus porcinus. This grassland specialist was seen regularly in the savannahs of Chitwan, with 4-15 seen daily, with the best views from the elephant. Three individuals were seen at Koshi Tappu. Males had antlers in velvet.

Wild Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis. This endangered species was easy to see at Koshi Tappu, where they would sit out on the short grass plains. The cows would be in herds of up to 25, while the bulls with their impressive lyre shaped horns were generally solitary.

Gaur Bos frontalis. One example of this massive bovid was seen in sal forest in Chitwan NP. Not the best of views, as we could just see the head viewing us from long grass.

Five-striped Palm Squirrel Funanbulus pennanti. Only one seen, in Chitwan NP.

Orange-bellied Squirrel Callosciurus pygerythrus. A single seen in forest at Phulchowki.

Reptiles.

Indian Monitor. One peering out from a hollow log in sal forest as we travelled to Chitwan.

Mugger Crocodile. One seen on a sandbank in Chitwan, with two large specimens hauled out at the edges of the lakes in the park.

Gharial. Three examples of this highly distinctive crocodilian were hauled out on a sandbank in the river at Chitwan.

Gangetic Soft-shelled Turtle. One seen resting on a log by the shore of one of the lakes in Chitwan NP.

Birds.

Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus. Frequently heard calling in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, but this handsome game bird is shy and elusive, and the only one seen was flushed in front of us by the elephant.

Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis. This species is not so wedded to dense cover an the Black francolin, and a pair was seen in an area of short grass and scattered bushes at Koshi Tappu (their preferred habitat).

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus. About 8 birds seen in the sal forests of Chitwan on 13/4.

Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos. A pair was found along the road up Phulchowki, and another dashed across the path in front of us in the afternoon,

Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendocygna javanica. Abot 50 were seen on lagoons near Koshi Barrage, and some 150 were seen on the banks of the Koshi |River on 18/4.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea. 15 birds were seen along the river at Chitwan on 13/4, with pairs on subsequent days.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna. A single seen at Koshi Barrage.

Common Teal Anas crecca. A pair seen at Koshi barrage.

Garganey Anas querquedula. Pairs seen at Koshi Barrage, and during the raft ride. Duck are clearly not much in evidence in April.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla. An obliging bird sunning itself in a tree at Koshi Camp gave good photo opportunities.

Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus. Four seen together at Koshi Tappu, working up dead tree trunks.

Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus canicapillus. Single birds seen on two occasions in Chitwasn NP.

Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopus macei. Two single birds seen in open woodland at Chitwan, and three at Koshi Tappu, where I photographed an excavating bird.

Darjeeling Woodpecker Dendrocopus darjellensis. One example of this pied woodpecker seen in forest close to the summit of Phulchowki.

Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus. A pair was seen together along the bund road at Koshi Tappu.

Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus. A single bird seen in sal forest in Chitwas NP.

Greater Yellownape Picus flavinucha. Nice to be able to compare this and preceding species on the same day in Chitwan NP, one bird seen.

Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus. One bird seen in Chitwan pn 14/4.

Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus. A pair and a single bird seen on two days in Chitwan NP.

Himalayan Flameback Dinopium shorii. Arresting in flight, and hard to miss with noisy calls this woodpecker was often seen in small groups in Chitwan, with 10 birds seen in total.

Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense. Two birds in Chitwan allowed comparison with the more numerous Himalayan, and 4 birds seen on three days at Koshi Tappu complete the diversity of woodpeckers seen.

Great Barbet Megalaima virens. A common resident of hill forest, one was seen on the drive to Chitwan, with 5 seen perched calling from the tops of dead trees at Phulchowki.

Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii. This striking species was common at Phulchowki, but called from within the canopy, and initially proved elusive but eventually at least 4 were seen well.

Blue-throated Barbet Megalaima asiatica. Regularly seen around the camp at Koshi Tappu, with really good views and photo opportunities offered by birds coming to feed on figs.

Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala. Only one seen at Koshi Tappu, but a close view as it came to the same fig tree frequented by the Blue-throated Barbets.

Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris. One flying over the road as we drove to Chitwan was the only hornbill seen, so Great Hornbill remains firmly on ht wish list.

Common Hoopoe Upupa epops. Just one seen in Chitwan, but 6 more at Koshi Tappu, where obliging birds around the camp posed nicely for photos.

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis. This common but spectacular species was seen daily, regularly in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, but also in numbers along roadsides through farmland, up to 20 daily.

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis. Always a rather stylish bird with purple and green shot plumage and a beak like a red chilli, 1-2 birds seen daily at both Chitwan and Koshi tappu.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. Not much in evidence, but singles seen in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis. This huge and striking species was seen at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, usually fly by views, but I managed to get one decent image of a perched bird around the fish ponds at Koshi Camp.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrensis. The most common and widespread kingfisher, with up to 10 birds seen daily. Usually but by no means exclusively tied to water.

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis. Fairly common at Koshi Tappu, with 15 seen during the raft ride, and 3-4 on other days.

Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis. A common and widespread species in open country, with 5-20 birds seen daily.

Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus. The most aerial of the bee-eaters, some 10-40 were seen daily in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu. Seen catching some of the abundant dragonflies.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaultia. This colourful species was more of a species of forest edge than the preceding two, with 5-20 birds seen daily in Chitwan NP.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides. With their broad wings the hawk-cuckoos do look remarkably like accipiters. A bird that had been calling was seen in flight at Phulchowki.

Common Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx varius. The hysterical sounding calls were frequently heard at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, and a few birds were seen most days, usually in flight.

Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus. The woodlands at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu rang with the calls of this summer visitor, although the bird was often difficult to find, although with several perched birds features like the coarse barring could be noted.

Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus. One bird calling (rather like hoopoe) at Phulchowki.

Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus. A few calling birds seen in scattered trees around Phulchowki.

Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis passerinus. A calling bird was viewed well in a dead tree at Chitwan, and two birds were seen foraging for caterpillars around Koshi Camp.

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea. As usual more often heard than seen, bit still frequently viewed at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis. A fairly common species along the edges of wetlands and reedbeds in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with 3-10 seen daily.

Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis. Certainly less common than the preceding species, and more tied to reedbeds, but singles seen daily at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria. Small parties seen in flight fairly regularly at Chitwan, with up to 10 birds daily.

Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri. As expected the most common parrot, found in a wide range of habitats, from urban areas to the forests of Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala. Small numbers (5-10) seen daily in Chitwan NP.

Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri. This rather beautiful species was seen daily in Chitwan, relatively easy to pick out in flight because of its ‘toy trumpet’ call.

Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba. Several examples of this ace flier seen around the river cliffs as we drove to Koshi Tappu, apparently a regular site for this species.

House Swift Apus affinis. Common in urban areas such as the environs of Kathmandu, but not seen elsewhere.

Crested Treeswift Hemiprocne coronata. One of these elegant fliers seen cruising over the forest canopy in Chitwan.

Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis. A pair had bred in gallery forest at Koshi Tappu, and we could view a perched adult and a fledged juvenile. We had good scope views of this dramatic species, but they were really too far and too obscured for photos.

Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei. One was calling during the day at Phulchowki, but I failed to track it down in dense forest.

Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum. We had very good views of a seemingly curious individual which came to the trees above us as we viewed the Brown Fish Owls in Koshi Tappu.

Spotted Little Owl Athene brama. There were several birds on view around the camp at Koshi Tappu, with two families at opposite ends of the camp. They were easy to view during the day, but were extremely noisy in the early part of the night.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia. Feral birds common in urban areas.

Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis. Just two birds seen in flight at Phulchowki.

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis. Probably the most common dove, with large numbers seen daily in scrub and savannah areas.

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica. This rather lovely species was common in similar habitats to the preceding species, but rather less common.

Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto. A few birds seen most days in farmland and around villages.

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon Treron bicincta. Beautifully marked in pastel shades, five were seen in Chitwan, and a pair in Koshi Tappu.

Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis. Scanning the grasslands at Koshi Tappu on 16/4 gave a view of a black bodied bird with flashing white wings – a male Bengal Florican, who was then joined by a female, the male tumbling into the long grass in a brief demonstration of its extraordinary display. A female was seen striding over short grass from the raft, and a little later two females were seen in flight. This endangered species had been absent for many years at Koshi Tappu, so it was really heartening to see evidence that a viable breeding population is establishing itself. This would have to be bird of the trip, even though views were distant.

Brown Crake Amaurornis akool. Several were seen along the edges of the ponds at Chitwan, and also very vocal , giving a call like a little grebe, and also various whistles.

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus. As expected a fairly common and easy to see resident in overgrown pools and lagoons in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with 3-20 birds seen daily.

Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca. Singles were seen slipping into cover at a lake in Chitwan, and by one of the fish ponds at Koshi Tappu.

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio. This species was seen at two well vegetated pools at Koshi Tappu, 3 and 10 birds at the two locations.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus. A fairly common species in well vegetated pools in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura. One to two birds were seen each morning around the pools at Chitwan, with scope views allowing assessment of the ID features.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus. One seen along the river at Chitwan.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia. A few birds seen daily along rivers at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. 2-4 birds seen daily along the Koshi River.

Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii. Waders were really quite scarce in Nepal, but this species was one of the most relatively numerous, with up to 10 birds seen daily both at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis. Sadly I failed to spot three of these beautiful birds on the ground, only noticing them as they flushed in front of the elephant and they pitched out of view.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus. A group of 7, including some in the stunning full breeding plumage pirouetted like giant phalaropes on a lagoon close to the Koshi Barrage.

Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus. By far the most common jacana, with 4-15 seen daily on well vegetated pools in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Great Thick-knee Burhinus recurvirostris. A pair stood motionless on a sand flat by the Koshi River on 16/4.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius. Small numbers seen daily along the river at Chitwan, and the Koshi River.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus. Three seen on a sandflat during the raft ride along the Koshi River.

Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus. A single bird seen on a sandflat during the raft ride.

River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelli. Pairs seen at two locations along the river at Chitwan NP.

Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus. Pairs fairly regularly seen around pools and lagoons in most areas visited, but in rather small numbers, with a max. of 6 daily.

Small Pratincole Glareola lactea. This species was only seen during the raft ride, during which hundreds were seen flying over the river, like large hirundines, with large nesting colonies, of thousands of pairs on some of the remoter sandbanks.

Pallas’s Gull Larus ichthyaetus. Two second summer birds were seen flying down the river during the raft ride, with a flock of 13 resting on a sand bank, this group including a few of the striking adults.

Indian River Tern Sterna aurantia. Only one was seen, along the Koshi River during the raft ride.

Little Tern Sterna albifrons. It seemed surprising to find this essentially marine species thousands of km inland, but it was obviously fairly numerous as a breeding species along the Koshi River, with c60 seen during the raft ride.

Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda. Four examples of this beautiful species were seen flying along the Koshi River during the raft ride.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus. Two seen fishing over the river in Chitwan, with another carrying a fish along the Koshi River.

Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus. One of the most regularly seen raptors, and encountered in many, mostly forested localities. 1-10 were seen daily, with displaying birds at Chitwan, the display being quite unlike Eurasian Honey Buzzard, with the bird periodically tumbling in the sky.

Grey-headed Fish Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus. A pair seen over the forest in Chitwan on 13/4, and on 14/4 we could view a bird perched by its eyrie by the shore of one of the lakes in the park.

White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis. Three soaring in a thermal at Koshi Tappu were three more individuals than I expected to see of this critically endangered species.

Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela. We had good views of one being mobbed by Jungle Crows during a lunch stop on the way to Chitwan, with another calling at Phulchowki.

Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. Rather disappointingly this was the only harrier species seen, with two over the marshlands at Koshi Tappu.

Shikra Accipiter badius. A fairly common hawk, with 1-6 birds seen daily. Some individuals were surprisingly tame, giving good opportunities for photography of perched birds. One was seen carrying a lizard.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. One was seen during the drive to Koshi Tappu.

Besra Accipiter virgatus. We had very good views of a perched bird on the lower slopes of Phulchowki. In flight it appeared very short winged and stocky compared with Shikra.

White-eyed Buzzard Butastur teesa. One perched on a dead tree in savannah in Chitwan NP.

Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. An adult bird seen soaring in lazy style over the grasslands at Koshi Tappu during the raft ride.

Mountain Hawk Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis. Two examples of this fine raptor were seen, one over the mountains near Kathmandu, and another not living up to its name by soaring over sal forest in the lowlands, seen on the journey to Koshi Tappu.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus. Not particularly common, but a few birds seen in Koshi Tappu.

Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera. Only Hathan had a pair of these birds over the camp at Koshi Tappu.

Merlin Falco columbarius. One over the grasslands of Koshi Tappu as we watched the Floricans

Peregrine Falco peregrinus. One example of this cosmopolitan species was seen at Chitwan, with two more over Koshi Tappu.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. A group of 15 seen on a pool in Koshi Tappu, with odd birds elsewhere.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Four birds seen on the Koshi River.

Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster. Single birds seen daily along the river in Chitwan, and slightly more in evidence at Koshi Tappu, with 4-5 birds daily.

Little Cormorant Phalarocorax niger. Three seen in Chitwan was unusual, but quite common in Koshi Tappu, with up to 30 seen daily. One was watched swallowing a water snake, the reptile doing everything in its power to make this act as awkward as possible.

Great Cormorant Phalarocorax carbo. Only one seen at Koshi Tappu.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta. A fairly common species along rivers and pools at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with up to 20 seen daily.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea. Just one seen at Koshi Tappu.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea. Just one seen at Chitwan, while at Koshi Tappu the water hyacinth choked ponds obviously suited it, with up to 5 seen daily.

Great Egret Casmerodius albus. A few birds seen at Chitwan, where it was less numerous than Intermediate, and rather more numerous at Koshi Tappu, with c20 seen daily.

Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia. 4-5 seen daily along the river at Chitwan, with a few examples also in Koshi Tappu.

Cattle Egret Bulbulcus ibis. A few examples seen in fields near the lodge at Chitwan, with flocks of 100+ flying along the Koshi River.

Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii. One of the most numerous herons, with 10-20 seen daily at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu. Seen at close range the adult in breeding plumage is a really beautiful species.

Little Heron Butorides striatus. Only one seen along the Koshi River on 16/4.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax. There were roosts both at ‘Paradise View’ in Chitwan and at Koshi Camp, and up to 30 could be seen flying together in the evenings and early mornings.

Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus. A juvenile and an adult were seen most days around the pool at Paradise View in Chitwan, and we had flight views of adults on three occasions at Koshi Tappu.

Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis. An adult and a juvenile frequented the overgrown fish ponds at Koshi Camp, and gave superb photo opportunities from the hide. They were incredibly stealthy as they sneaked round the margins of the pool, also amazing to watch how their shape changed as they retracted or extended their necks.

Black-headed Ibis Threshkiornis melanocephalus. Just 1-2 birds seen probing in lagoons at Koshi Tappu.

Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa. Reasonably common at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with 3-15 birds seen daily in a variety of wetland habitats.

Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans. This snail specialist was seen along the river at Chitwan, and regularly in lagoons and pools at Koshi Tappu, with 5-20 birds seen daily at both locations.

Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilus javanicus. One to four birds were seen daily at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with a very obliging individual roosting in a tree, that allowed a close approach for a photo.

Orange-bellied Leafbird Chloropsishardwickii. Two birds seen in flight over the lower slopes at Phulchowki.

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus. Single birds seen most days in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach. A scan with bins at Chitwan would nearly always find an example of this species on the top of a bush in marshy grassland, but it wasn’t seen at all in Koshi Tappu.

Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus. Four examples of this beefy shrike were seen in widely scattered locations in the lowlands.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius. Two seen at Phulchowki.

Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha. One example of this striking species flying among sal forest during our lunch stop on the way to Chitwan.

Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda. Seen regularly in both Chitwan and at Koshi Tappu, with 1-10 seen daily in both locations.

Grey Treepie Dendrocitta formosae. Ten were seen together in a single tree on the lower slopes of Phulchowki.

House Crow Corvus splendens. Lives up to its name, being very common in urban areas.

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhyncha. Replaces the preceding species away from habitation, and seen regularly in all areas visited.

Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus. The groves of taller trees at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu rang with the liquid calls of this species, and up to 10 were seen daily, often males chasing each other.

Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus. Less common than the preceding species, but 1-5 birds were still seen daily at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Maroon Oriole Oriolus trailii. Three examples seen in flight over the forest canopy at Phulchowki.

Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei. One to two birds seen daily I areas with scattered trees in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos. One seen in the forest canopy on the lower slopes of Phulchowki.

Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera. One seen in woodland at Koshi tappu.

Long-tailed Minivet Pericrocotus ethologus. Two hot orange and black males seen at Phulchowki.

Scarlet Minvet Pericrocotus flammeus. Only one male seen in Chitwan.

Yellow-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hypoxantha. Two seen in forest at Phulchowki, including one visiting a nest, the outside of the cup beautifully camouflaged with lichens.

White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis. A pair seen daily at Koshi Camp.

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus. A common and widespread species, found both in open forest and intensively cultivated areas.

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus. Just 2 birds seen on the journey to Chitwan.

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer. One example of this rather difficult forest species seen at Phulchowki. It still had tail streamers but lacked rackets.

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus. 2-5 individuals of the forest species were seen daily in sal forest in Chitwan.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher Tersiphone paradise. One seen in Chitwan, but there were several around the camp at Koshi Tappu. The white form appeared to predominate. Took some nice photos of this eyecatching species.

Common Iora Aegithina tiphia. 2-4 birds seen daily in opn woodland at Koshi Tappu.

Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus. Just one bird seen in woodland at Koshi Tappu.

Blue-capped Rock Thrush Monticola cinclorhynchus. Three birds were seen while we were stuck in a traffic jam, just after leaving Kathmandu, on the way to Chitwan.

Blue Whistling Thush Myophonus caeruleus. Two birds seen along forest streams on the journey to Chitwan, and 3 at Phulchowki.

Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina. One seen at the same traffic jam site as the preceding species!

Grey-winged Blackbird Turdus boulboul. One male seen on the upper slopes on Phulchowki.

Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis. One bird seen in flight on the upper slopes of Phulchowki, to complete a rather disappointing set of thrushes.

Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica. Two seen at Koshi Tappu, This species tends to perch prominently in the open.

Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher Ficedula strophiata. One bird seen in forest on the upper slopes of Phulchowki.

Red-throated Flycatcher Ficedula parva. 4-6 examples of this neat little bird seen in Koshi Tappu, particularly around the camp.

Ultramarine Flycatcher Ficedula superciliaris. One male seen in forest on the upper slopes of Phulchowki.

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina. Two of these vividly coloured flycatchers seen at Phulchowki.

Rufous-bellied Niltava Niltava sundara. A rather stunning large flycatcher, one was seen by the roadside on Phulchowki.
Blue-throated Flycatcher Cyornis rubeculoides. Another beautiful flycatcher, one was seen by the edge of the fish ponds at Koshi Camp.

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis. One seen in forest on Phulchowki.

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica. Two birds seen along the edge of wetlands in Chitwan NP.

Oriental Magpie Robin Copysychus saularis. A common and rather tame species of gardens and open woodland.

Black Redstart Phoenicrurus ochruros. A common bird at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, the chestnut bellied males strikingly different to west European birds, and also differing in habitat choices, being far more likely to perch in bushes.

White-capped Water Redstart Chaimarrornis leucocephalus. One seen on a rock in the river during a stop on the journey to Chitwan.

White-tailed Robin Myiomela leucura. A male seen perched by the road on the slopes of Phulchowki. Apparently this can be a very elusive species.

Black-backed Forktail Enicrurus immaculatus. Two examples of these stunning birds graced an insignificant polluted ditch that we stopped by during the journey to Chitwan.

Slaty-backed Forktail Einicrurus schistaceus. A site for Spotted Forktail on Phulchowki failed to produce that bird, but instead we found this species, a very acceptable substitute.

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata. Fairly common in the grasslands of Chitwan, with c5 seen daily.

White-tailed Stonechat Saxicola leucrura. Much less common than the preceding species, but three were seen in Chitwan, and one during a stop on the raft ride at Koshi Tappu.

Pied Bushchat Saxicola ferrea. Two seen at Phulchowki.

Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus. A common species in open woodland in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with up to 50 seen daily at both locations.

Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus. An adult was feeding on lantana fruits along the bund at Koshi Tappu.

Common Myna Acridotheres tristris. Seen daily in numbers in most degraded habitats.

Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus. Much less evident in urban areas than Common Myna, but otherwise a common and widespread species.

Hill Myna Gracula religiosa. Two seen flying over the grasslands in Chitwan.

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea. One bird seen in the scattered trees at the base of Phulchowki.

White-tailed Nuthatch Sitta himalayensis. Four birds seen, including one visiting a nest in forest on the slopes of Phulchowki.

Great Tit Parus major. A few birds seen daily in widely scattered locations.

Black-lored Tit Parus xanthogenys. A very striking yellow and black tit, two were seen in forest on Phulchowki.

Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus. Quite common on Phulchowki, some 15 birds were seen, always in small parties.

Plain Martin Riparia paludicola. Quite common both at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, often in flocks of up to 100 birds.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. A fairly common and widespread species with hundreds seen on some days.

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica. About 20 seen over hillsides during the journey to Chitwan, with similar numbers near Phulchowki.

Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus. Common around the camp at Koshi Tappu with c20 seen daily.

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer. A highly adaptable species, common both in urban areas and throughout the country, except for dense forest.

Himalayan Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys. 1-2 birds seen during stops on the journeys to Chitwan, and at Phulchowki.

Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus. Some 6 birds seen together on the lower slopes of Phulchowki.

Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis. 1-7 birds seen daily at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, ofen in songflight.

Bright-capped Cisticola Cisticola exilis. Very distinctive in breeding plumage, one seen in grasslands along the Koshi River.

Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla. Two examples of this tiny warbler hopped up grass stems in their forest edge habitat in Chitwan, one of the few known sites for this rare species.

Grey-breasted Prinia Prinia hodgsonii. Two birds seen in the grasslands of Chitwan.

Graceful Prinia Prinia gacilis. About 10 seen in grasslands along the Koshi River during stops made on the raft ride.

Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris. A few birds seen in the grasslands of Chitwan.

Rufous-vented Prinia Prinia brunsii(nepalacola). With persistence we had good views of this newly described species is its very restricted habitat of grasslands on the sand banks in the Koshi River.

Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis. About 5 birds seen in Chitwan.

Plain Prinia Prinia inornata. A few birds seen in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus. Small parties seen in several locations.

Chestnut-headed Tesia Tesia castaneocoronata. This skulking species certainly teased me, for while c4 were heard singing at Phulchowki I failed to see the bird, although J managed views.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum. A fairly common species in bushy areas at the edge of marshland in Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with c5 seen daily.

Thick-billed Warbler Acrocephalus aedon. This bulky warbler was seen daily in bushy areas in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, but just 1-2 daily.

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius. Frequently heard, and seen in small numbers in gardens and bushy areas.

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus. Single examples of this skulking species deigned to show themselves at Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Smoky Warbler Phylloscopus fuligiventer. A very dark warbler, a few were seen in reeds around the fish ponds at Koshi Tappu.

Tickell’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis. A few birds, c6 seen foraging in trees at Koshi Tappu.

Ashy-throated Warbler Phylloscopus maculipennis. Four seen in forest at Phulchowki.

Hume’s Warbler Phylloscopus humei. Just one seen and heard at Phulchowki.

Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trocholoides. Seen daily in small numbers (1-5) at both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu.

Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides. This highly active species was quite common in the upper forested slopes on Phulchowki, with c15 seen.

Whistler’s Warbler Seicercus whistlri. Four examples of this split from Golden-spectacled were seen at Phulchowki.

Chestnut-capped Warbler Seicercus castaniceps. Two birds seen in forests at Phulchowki.

Black-faced Warbler Abroscopus schisticeps. A beautiful little bird, four were found in the forests of Phulchowki.

Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris. One seen in song flight, and perched on the top of bushes at Koshi Tappu.

Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striatus. This threatened species was seen really well at Koshi Tappu, coming within a few yards in response to a tape lure. Two birds were seen on 16/4, and 8 were seen during the raft ride, with many in song flight over the grasslands.

Rufous-rumped Grassbird Graminicola bengalensis. Three birds were seen in the tall grass around the lake at Paradise View in Chitwan.

White-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax albogularis. One seen in forest on the slopes of Phulchowki.

Striated Laughingthrush Garrulax striatus. Two seen in forest at Phulchowki.

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax erythrocephalus. Four seen in forest close to the summit of Phulchowki.

Chestnut-capped Babbler Timalia pileata. A rather smart babbler, 2-3 were seen daily in long grass and scrub in Chitwan NP.

Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense. One seen in long grass in Chitwan NP.

Striated Babbler Turdoides earlei. Parties of 6,6, and 5 seen in bushy areas at Koshi Tappu.

Slender-billed Babbler Turdoides longirostris. Two examples of this threatened grassland specialist were seen from the tower by the lake in Chitwan NP.

Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus. A common bird in open woodland in both Chitwan and Koshi Tappu, with up to 40 seen daily, always in parties.

Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea. A single bird seen in forest at Phulchowki.

White-browed Shrike Babbler Pteruthius melanotis. A female and a pair were seen moving in slow bush shrike style through the canopy of forest trees at Phulchowki.

Chestnut-tailed Minla Minla strigula. Two birds seen close to the summit of Phulchowki.

Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps. Two birds seen close to the summit of Phulchowki.

White-browed Fulvetta Alcippe vinipectus. Possibly more numerous than the last species with 8 seen in undergrowth at Phulchowki.

Rufous Sibia Heterophasia capistrata. A smartly marked bird, about 6 were seen in the forest canopy at Phulchowki, in the winter months it is the most common bird in the area.

Rufous-winged Lark Mirafra assamica. 1-5 birds seen daily in short grasslands close to the river in Chitwan.

Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark Eremopterix grisea. Four seen along the roadsides between Koshi Barrage and the camp.

Sand Lark Calandrella reytal. A small pale lark, three seen at Chitwan, with c15 seen in sandy areas during the raft ride along the Koshi River.

Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula. Two singing birds were seen near Chitwan, the song similar to skylark, but the bird distinctive with its short tail.

Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor. One seen in sal forest during a roadside stop on the way to Koshi Tappu.

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus. Fairly common in the forest canopy at Phulchowki, with c10 seen.

Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica. 1-3 birds seen daily at Koshi Camp.

Green-tailed Sunbird Aethopyga nipalensis. A rather lovely species, some 5 were seen in forest at Phulchowki.

Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja. Three birds, including a photogenic male, were viewed during a stop for tea in the mountains on the way to Chitwan.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus. Common in towns and villages.

Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis. Four seen in farmland close to the lodge in Chitwan.

White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis. A few birds seen along rivers in Chitwan and at Koshi Tappu.
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola. Five were seen along the river in Chitwan, including a sparkling and photogenic male.

Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi. Two singles seen in short grasslands at Koshi Tappu – the call was quite different to Paddyfield.

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus. Common in farmland around Chitwan, with c20 seen daily.

Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni. A few birds seen in woodland in Chitwan, with a pair seen regularly creeping around the tents in Koshi Camp.

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus. Some 10 birds, some in full summer plumage were seen along the river at Chitwan; it would appear to have similar ecological requirements to Water Pipit.

White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata. A pair were nesting at the café we stopped at on the journey to Chitwan.

Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata. A flock of 20 seen in farmland near to Chitwan.

Crested Bunting Melophus lathami. A female at Chitwan was the only bunting seen. Apparently all buntings have massively declined in Nepal, because of commercial mist netting for food around the sugar cane fields which the birds used for roosting – a rather sorry note to end this systematic list.