Sikkim is rich in avifauna and is considered to be a birdwatchers
paradise. Its avian population extends to almost 550 species. The
climate varies between the tropical heat of the valleys and the alpine
cold of the snowy regions. The altitudinal zones of vegetation range
from tropical, sub tropical, temperate to Alpine. In some places only 10
Kms in a direct line separate the warm valleys from perpetual snow. The
telescoping of terrain has created marked altitudinal zonation in the
humidity, rainfall, climate and vegetation. This factor is responsible
for the great variety and abundance of the resident bird life, making
this area arguably one of the richest areas of its size anywhere in the
Sikkim offers great birding opportunities. Barsey, located at 3300 m, on
a massive ridge covered with protected forests of Silver Fir, hemlocks,
magnolia, and Rhododendrons is one of the best birding areas in Sikkim.
Around Pemayangste and the nearby village of Pelling there are
several excellent birding sites and hikes. Some important species like
the Maroon-Backed Accentor, Red-faced Liocichla etc are found around
The Khecheopheri Lake hosts migrant ducks and occasionally some rare
species such as Black-necked Crane, Black-tailed Crane and many others.
For those who are enthusiastic about trekking in the high Himalayas,
the best way to see higher altitude birds is to take the 10 day Dzongri.
Some of the birds seen on this trip are Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Monal,
Brown Parotbill, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Cutia, Sapphire flycatcher, White
browned Bush Robin, Grandala, Rufous - breasted Accentors, White winged
and collared Grosbeaks, Spot-winged Rosefinch,
In South Sikkim is the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary
starts from 2000m, with a sub-tropical forest, gradually taken over by
moist temperate forest at around 2500-3000m and then sub-alpine conifer
forests at altitude higher than 3000m. Rabongla to Maenam top is about
12km and a further 1km trek will take one to Bhaledhunga, a cockscomb
shaped stone. Important birds in this trek include satyr Tragopan, Kalij
pheasant, rusty-bellied Shortwing, Minivet, Yuhina, flycatchers etc.