Arunachal Pradesh is one beautiful hilly state situated in the north eastern corner of Indian Territory that has amazing natural bounty and wildlife. The state has a huge amount of wild vegetation and varying terrains. This has resulted in development of amazing biodiversity. The forests and hills of the state are haven for wide species of birds. The national parks and some wildlife sanctuaries in Arunachal are top destination for bird watchers and lovers. You will find several hundred bird species in places like Namdapha National Park, Eaglenest wildlife Sanctuary and Mouling National Park in the state. The same is true of Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
Below listed are some of the major bird species found in Arunachal Pradesh:
Hornbills stand out among other bird species owing to their large beak and appearance. The Great Hornbill, also called great pied hornbill is an important bird of Arunachal. In fact, it has been declared the state bird. Its large body, massive yellow beak and bright colored feather make it stand out among other hornbill species. These hornbills make various loud sounds for communicating. They are mostly fond of eating fruits but occasionally hunt lizards, small reptiles and mammals. Hunted by tribals since ages, the bird has reached near threatened status. Deforestation has also led to dwindling of population to an extent. However, conservation efforts have shot up in recent times. Great Hornbills can be seen in Arunachal and most adjacent states.
It is one of the endangered birds found in Arunachal Pradesh. The bird was first seen in 1995 at the state’s Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary. These birds are largely found in hilly terrains. The multicolored small birds have a distinctly fluty voice. Bugun liocichla is a rare species and it belongs to the babbler family. The bird was discovered by Ramana Athreya. It is just 8 cm long and pretty lightweight. It looks somewhat similar to Emei Shan liocichla, a species which is seen mostly in central China. The bird makes nest in small trees and hillsides in shrubs.
Blyth's Tragopan, a bright colored and oversized pheasant is found in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland in small numbers. They feed mostly on fruits and seeds. They prefer staying at quiet and dark places like undergrowth of rhododendron and evergreen oak forests. In the past, massive hunting by tribes and deforestation led to dwindling of its population. Of late, conservation efforts have been taken up by the government and wildlife protection entities. The male birds are larger and have rusty red head and spotted back area. Female birds are not so colorful and it helps them camouflage from predators. These birds can travel for foods across varying altitudes and regions.
Related: The Majestic Birds of Nagaland
Himalayan Forest Thrush
Himalayan Forest Thrush is among the newer bird species found in Arunachal Pradesh. It was first spotted in 2009 by Shashank Dalvi and Dr. Per Alström in western part of the state. Its scientific name Zoothera salimalii, has been given to honor Dr Sálim Ali, a revered ornithologist of India. It has some similarity to the species Alpine Thrush or Plain-backed Thrush. The bird has grey colored body and a white and black spotted area spanning from below the neck to end of body. It has a musical voice while the Alpine Thrush has a discernibly harsher voice. Research and DNA analysis later revealed the two species have common origin but they separated genetically millions of years back.
Also called Black-faced Treppie, these are small sized perching birds with elongated tails. The tail is black and wings are white while back side is chestnut brown. In Namdhapa National Park of Arunachal, they are seen a lot. Besides, these birds are found in Burma and Nepal. This bird prefers feeding on the invertebrates and has a penchant for gorging on termites too. However, it also eats berries and fruits a lot. Their voice has a metallic tone and they also make chattering alarm calls occasionally.
Related: Best Bird-watching Spots
Other important birds in Arunachal Pradesh
Apart from the above-mentioned birds, there are several hundred bird species that are seen in parts of Arunachal Pradesh. This includes predatory birds and species that are primarily herbivorous like emerald cuckoo, collared broadbills, black-headed shrike-babbler etc. Certain areas of the state also become preferred destination for migratory birds in the winter months. Prominent migratory birds seen in the state include black-necked cranes, wildfowl and several others. They usually prefer lakes and remote wildlife areas for building nests.