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The excitement of arriving in Bhutan: flying into Paro on Druk Air, the high peaks of the Himalaya visible in the background, a Bhutanese monastery on a foreground ridge, and a journey birding through Bhutan starting as soon as you land. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
Bhutan in 2017 was again wonderfully rewarding for birds, rhododendrons, breathtaking vistas, and cultural richness. The tour ran smoothly and we were able to explore all the planned remote corners (Bhutan is rich in remote corners—a full exploration would take a long time and some long hikes).
Among the marquee birds, we did well, seeing such stars as Ibisbill, Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, Blood Pheasant, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, and Ward’s Trogon. We did even better with the host of birds that don’t get top billing, but elicited just many raves as some of the stars. In particular, we savored our views of Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler, Hoary-throated Barwing, Scaly-breasted Cupwing, Spotted Elachura, Great and Fulvous Parrotbills, Broad-billed Warbler, and Black-headed Shrike-Babbler. As always, we did miss some special birds, including the typically tough White-bellied Heron and Beautiful Nuthatch, and we would have been very pleased if Fire-tailed Myzornis and Fire-tailed Sunbird had stayed around longer.
Some other exciting encounters included the cooperative Black-tailed Crakes, the sharp Speckled Wood-Pigeons, the energized Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, such a close Collared Owlet with its false face pattern, Great Hornbills investigating that hole that was too small for them (why?), the endless chorus of cuckoos and barbets, any and all minivets, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, close views of Chestnut-headed Tesia, the visual and vocal qualities of Pale-blue Flycatcher, the ‘water-redstarts’ in habitat, close Collared Grosbeaks, and small groups of Scarlet Finches.
Particular mention should be made of the babblers. Although modern genetics have divided them up into multiple families now, they are still a largely cohesive assemblage, and one of the most impressive radiations in form in the bird world. Several have already been listed, and we further enjoyed Himalayan Cutia, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Silver-eared Mesia, Red-tailed and Chestnut-tailed minlas, and Rusty-fronted Barwing. The good and bad laughingthrushes were sought, and while one remained heard only and another was fleeting, we did very well, and were particularly fortunate to have great views of the typically skulking Rufous-chinned, Gray-sided, and Scaly.
We see few mammals in Bhutan, although one of them, Golden Langur, is attractive, common, and nearly an endemic. Other mammal highlights included a close Goral, an oblivious-to-us (for a while) Himalayan Palm Civet, and a lovely Yellow-throated Marten.
One of our highlights was a good display of rhododendrons this spring, better than average on several of the passes. Bhutan has around 40 species, and many were in bloom, mostly red, but also pink and pale yellow. And not just bushes, but also some impressive rhododendron trees in full bloom on Phrumseng (Thrumshing) La.
Our weather was better than average. The first part of the trip was marked by much sunshine, which was good for mountain views and raptors (Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk-Eagle), although suppressing the bird activity on some days. The second half had more ‘weather,’ including some rain, but we lost less birding time than normal, did not have heavy rain while camping, and were treated to a different Bhutan, one draped in clouds and often dramatically beautiful, even if no high peaks were in view.
For the second year in a row, our trip was affected by Bhutan’s binge of road construction. It seemed like much more, but in reality only three days were majorly affected, although much of those three days became a slow, bumpy ride. And one of those days was not helped by that vehicle that broke down in a one-lane section! We did enjoy our birding near Zhemgang, now on the old road, thanks to a new road already in use bypassing one of our favorite areas.
A trip to the remote Himalaya would not run smoothly were it not for the efforts of many, starting in the offices in Austin, New Delhi, and Thimphu, and continuing with all those who helped in the field, including Khandu, Chador, Kaka, Boto Namgay, and Sangay.
This checklist is based on the Clements (Cornell) list, with additional taxonomic comments and some of the host of alternative names. Anglicized Bhutanese names are not standardized, but the ones here should be close enough! Conservation status is drawn from the publications of BirdLife International.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica)
RUDDY SHELDUCK (Tadorna ferruginea)
The view toward Tingtibi from the Zhemgang ridge after a rainy morning. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
GADWALL (Anas strepera) [b]
EURASIAN WIGEON (Anas penelope) [b]
Eyes are more on the stream than the lunch table! That Little Forktail got away too quickly! But they were re-found downstream, after lunch. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) [b]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
HILL PARTRIDGE (Arborophila torqueola) [*]
CHESTNUT-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila mandellii) [*]
RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila rufogularis) [*]
RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus)
Blood Pheasant is simply a stunning bird, seen most often close to dawn or dusk or in poor weather, when they come out along the roads on high passes. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
BLOOD PHEASANT (Ithaginis cruentus)
HIMALAYAN MONAL (Lophophorus impejanus)
SATYR TRAGOPAN (Tragopan satyra)
KALIJ PHEASANT (Lophura leucomelanos)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia)
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)
INDIAN POND-HERON (Ardeola grayii)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
RED-NAPED IBIS (Pseudibis papillosa)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
HIMALAYAN GRIFFON (Gyps himalayensis)
Facts of life: Road construction and a herd of domestic Yaks on Yutong La. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela)
Mountain Hawk-Eagle was seen fairly often on this tour, thanks to much clear weather in the first half. A little rain may have helped put this one down on a perch near Zhemgang. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
MOUNTAIN HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus nipalensis)
RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii)
BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis)
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus)
SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)
BESRA (Accipiter virgatus)
EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter nisus)
HIMALAYAN BUZZARD (Buteo refectus)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BLACK-TAILED CRAKE (Zapornia bicolor)
IBISBILL (Ibidorhyncha struthersii)
Ibisbill is one of the highlights, a distinctive, monotypic family of shorebird. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
RIVER LAPWING (Vanellus duvaucelii)
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus)
KENTISH PLOVER (Charadrius alexandrinus)
We visited two dzongs, Punakha and, here, the Trongsa Dzong, regional headquarter for the monks and an administrative center. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) [b]
Wedge-tailed Pigeon is something we usually see, but seldom so well as this bird perched rather tamely part way up Pele La. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus) [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SNOW PIGEON (Columba leuconota)
SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON (Columba hodgsonii)
ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis)
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)
BARRED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia unchall)
ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica)
PIN-TAILED PIGEON (Treron apicauda)
WEDGE-TAILED PIGEON (Treron sphenurus)
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia)
CHESTNUT-WINGED CUCKOO (Clamator coromandus)
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus) [*]
Large Hawk-Cuckoo is one of the common voices of the forest, but it takes time to see one, and we seldom see more than a few. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
ASIAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx maculatus)
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) [*]
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO-CUCKOO (Surniculus lugubris)
LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides)
INDIAN CUCKOO (Cuculus micropterus)
HIMALAYAN CUCKOO (Cuculus saturatus)
COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus)
COLLARED OWLET (Glaucidium brodiei)
ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides) [*]
HIMALAYAN OWL (Strix nivicolum) [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
GRAY NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus jotaka)
WHITE-THROATED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus caudacutus)
It was looking bleak toward the end of the trip for our seeing a Collared Owlet, but after hearing several distantly, this bird was wonderfully close. Not only that, but in this individual we also got to see the remarkable "other face" characteristic of Glaucidium owlets, presumably to deter attacks from behind. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris)
BLYTH'S SWIFT (Apus leuconyx)
Ward's Trogon always presents a challenge, and this one took a while to see, but was then seen very well. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
WARD'S TROGON (Harpactes wardi)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops)
GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis)
Rufous-necked Hornbill is a threatened species with a limited range centered on the eastern Himalaya. We had multiple encounters with this large hornbill, this one a female near Yongkola. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
RUFOUS-NECKED HORNBILL (Aceros nipalensis)
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis)
A lovely morning on Sheytang La, with breakfast on a knoll in the road, looking out over Shingyer, where we saw the Snow Pigeons. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis)
BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni)
CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti)
INDIAN ROLLER (Coracias benghalensis)
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
GREAT BARBET (Psilopogon virens)
A wall of rhododendrons in Phrumsengla National Park. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon franklinii)
BLUE-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon asiaticus)
YELLOW-RUMPED HONEYGUIDE (Indicator xanthonotus)
WHITE-BROWED PICULET (Sasia ochracea)
The view from Phrumseng La to the northeast. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
RUFOUS-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos hyperythrus)
CRIMSON-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos cathpharius)
DARJEELING WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos darjellensis)
LESSER YELLOWNAPE (Picus chlorolophus)
GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Picus flavinucha)
GRAY-HEADED WOODPECKER (Picus canus)
Bay Woodpecker is a shy, forest species; good looks can take a while, but we had a cooperative family group around our lunch site above Yongkola. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)
LONG-TAILED BROADBILL (Psarisomus dalhousiae) [*]
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus)
GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris)
SHORT-BILLED MINIVET (Pericrocotus brevirostris)
LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus)
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus)
BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melaschistos)
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach)
Minivets are easy to enjoy and hard to identify, most being quite similar, the females sometimes easier to identify; this is a male Short-billed, with less red in the wing than some others. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GRAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius tephronotus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLACK-HEADED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius rufiventer)
BLYTH'S SHRIKE-BABBLER (CHESTNUT-WINGED) (Pteruthius aeralatus validirostris)
The Paro Dzong and Museum from our hotel the last night. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
BLACK-EARED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius melanotis)
WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca)
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii)
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus)
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus)
We were fortunate to have clear weather en route. The pilot claimed that this was a certain very, very high peak! And it is, but it does not really matter--the whole massif is so impressive. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
LESSER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus remifer)
HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus)
WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis)
Breakfast on Darachu. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (Garrulus glandarius)
YELLOW-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa flavirostris)
GRAY TREEPIE (Dendrocitta formosae)
EURASIAN MAGPIE (BLACK-RUMPED) (Pica pica bottanensis)
Eurasian Nutcracker (a.k.a. Spotted Nutcracker) was generally common and conspicuous (visually and vocally) on the higher passes, this one perched on top of a prayer flag pole. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
EURASIAN NUTCRACKER (SOUTHERN) (Nucifraga caryocatactes macella)
RED-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
HOUSE CROW (Corvus splendens)
LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)
ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus)
Large-billed Crow is not the most attractive bird in Bhutan, but it is one of the most common and widespread, and it is one with a great deal of "character," as we often enjoyed around our picnics. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
NEPAL HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon nipalense)
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED FAIRY-FANTAIL (Chelidorhynx hypoxantha)
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
FIRE-CAPPED TIT (Cephalopyrus flammiceps)
YELLOW-BROWED TIT (Sylviparus modestus)
SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea)
COAL TIT (HIMALAYAN) (Periparus ater aemodius)
RUFOUS-VENTED TIT (Periparus rubidiventris)
GRAY-CRESTED TIT (Lophophanes dichrous)
GREEN-BACKED TIT (Parus monticolus)
YELLOW-CHEEKED TIT (Machlolophus spilonotus)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BLACK-THROATED TIT (Aegithalos concinnus)
The chortens of DoChu La. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
BLACK-BROWED TIT (Aegithalos iouschistos)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED NUTHATCH (Sitta cinnamoventris)
Descending the east side of Pele La, we stopped at Chendebji Chorten. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
WHITE-TAILED NUTHATCH (Sitta himalayensis)
HODGSON'S TREECREEPER (Certhia hodgsoni mandellii)
The Zhemgang ridge shortly after a morning of rain. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
RUSTY-FLANKED TREECREEPER (Certhia nipalensis)
SIKKIM TREECREEPER (Certhia discolor)
BROWN DIPPER (Cinclus pallasii)
STRIATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus striatus)
BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus flaviventris)
RED-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus cafer)
Breakfast by a birding-oriented sign in Phrumsengla National Park. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
WHITE-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus flaveolus)
BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala)
MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii)
GOLDCREST (Regulus regulus)
Scaly-breasted Cupwing was a highlight for Elena, for whom it was a new family. It was a challenge to photograph amongst the sticks, but the memory was well captured by participants David & Judy Smith.
SCALY-BREASTED CUPWING (Pnoepyga albiventer)
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
GRAY-BELLIED TESIA (Tesia cyaniventer) [*]
SLATY-BELLIED TESIA (Tesia olivea)
CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Cettia castaneocoronata)
YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris)
RUFOUS-FACED WARBLER (Abroscopus albogularis) [*]
BLACK-FACED WARBLER (Abroscopus schisticeps)
MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus)
Broad-billed Warbler, like the Cupwing, presented a challenge of too many branches in the way, but the field marks are there to see on this difficult, local species. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
BROAD-BILLED WARBLER (Tickellia hodgsoni)
BROWNISH-FLANKED BUSH-WARBLER (Horornis fortipes)
HUME'S BUSH-WARBLER (Horornis brunnescens)
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
TICKELL'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus affinis)
BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus pulcher)
A rural scene in the Chumey (Bumthang) Valley. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus maculipennis)
PALE-RUMPED WARBLER (Phylloscopus chloronotus)
HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei)
The view from just below Phrumseng La, looking out over Sengor, where we camped, and down the valley toward Latong La and eventually (toward the left) Yongkola. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides)
YELLOW-VENTED WARBLER (Phylloscopus cantator)
GRAY-HOODED WARBLER (Phylloscopus xanthoschistos)
GOLDEN-SPECTACLED WARBLER (Seicercus burkii)
WHISTLER'S WARBLER (Seicercus whistleri)
A misty morning in the forest on Darachu. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
WHITE-SPECTACLED WARBLER (Seicercus affinis)
GRAY-CHEEKED WARBLER (Seicercus poliogenys)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER (Seicercus castaniceps)
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)
STRIATED PRINIA (Prinia crinigera)
Our picnic spot along the Mo Chhu, binoculars always at the ready. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
BLACK-THROATED PRINIA (Prinia atrogularis)
Paradoxornithidae (Parrotbills, Wrentit, and Allies)
FIRE-TAILED MYZORNIS (Myzornis pyrrhoura)
GOLDEN-BREASTED FULVETTA (Lioparus chrysotis)
WHITE-BROWED FULVETTA (Fulvetta vinipectus)
Great Parrotbill was a challenge that ended well, with good looks at this large, uncommon bird of the bamboo, here emerging into more "open" cover. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GREAT PARROTBILL (Conostoma aemodium)
BROWN PARROTBILL (Cholornis unicolor)
PALE-BILLED PARROTBILL (Chleuasicus atrosuperciliaris)
Fulvous Parrotbill was one of the rarer birds we found on the tour, a specialty of high-elevation bamboo. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
FULVOUS PARROTBILL (Suthora fulvifrons)
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
STRIATED YUHINA (Yuhina castaniceps)
Rufous-vented Yuhina was one of a number of species that was foraging in the rhododendrons, hence the dusting of pollen that many birds showed. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
WHITE-NAPED YUHINA (Yuhina bakeri)
WHISKERED YUHINA (Yuhina flavicollis)
STRIPE-THROATED YUHINA (Yuhina gularis)
RUFOUS-VENTED YUHINA (Yuhina occipitalis)
BLACK-CHINNED YUHINA (Yuhina nigrimenta)
ORIENTAL WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus)
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum)
Rufous-throated Wren-Babbler was a prize--a local species that is a skulker. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
RUFOUS-CAPPED BABBLER (Cyanoderma ruficeps)
RUFOUS-THROATED WREN-BABBLER (Spelaeornis caudatus)
SLENDER-BILLED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus superciliaris)
STREAK-BREASTED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus ruficollis)
RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Megapomatorhinus erythrogenys)
GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps)
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
WHITE-HOODED BABBLER (Gampsorhynchus rufulus)
Many folks react to Yellow-throated Fulvetta that it must be a warbler; certainly a distinctive bird, and frequently a responsive one. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
YELLOW-THROATED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus cinereus)
RUFOUS-WINGED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus castaneceps)
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
NEPAL FULVETTA (Alcippe nipalensis)
STRIATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Grammatoptila striata)
White-browed Fulvetta was seen regularly, often at close range, on the higher passes. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
HIMALAYAN CUTIA (Cutia nipalensis)
JUNGLE BABBLER (Turdoides striata)
WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax leucolophus)
LESSER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax monileger)
A view from Darachu out over the last few ridges before the plains of India. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
RUFOUS-CHINNED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla rufogularis)
SPOTTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla ocellata)
GREATER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla pectoralis)
White-throated Laughingthrush is one of the "good" laughtingthrushes, often in flocks in the open. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
WHITE-THROATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla albogularis)
RUFOUS-NECKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla ruficollis)
Scaly Laughingthrush can be one of the "bad" laughingthrushes, but after meeting a couple of bad Scalies, we found this wonderful individual. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GRAY-SIDED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla caerulata)
BHUTAN LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron imbricatum)
SCALY LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron subunicolor)
BLUE-WINGED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron squamatum) [*]
BLACK-FACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron affine)
CHESTNUT-CROWNED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron erythrocephalum)
RUFOUS SIBIA (Heterophasia capistrata)
SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris)
RED-BILLED LEIOTHRIX (Leiothrix lutea)
RED-TAILED MINLA (Minla ignotincta)
RED-FACED LIOCICHLA (Liocichla phoenicea)
HOARY-THROATED BARWING (Actinodura nipalensis)
Hoary-throated Barwing occurs above Rusty-fronted, and has a limited range centered on the eastern Himalaya. More rhododendron pollen! Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
RUSTY-FRONTED BARWING (Actinodura egertoni)
BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera)
CHESTNUT-TAILED MINLA (Actinodura strigula)
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica)
FERRUGINOUS FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa ferruginea)
Gray Bushchat, the female; she is patterned like the male, but a study in brown rather than gray. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis)
Small Niltava is common if you retain your high-frequency hearing, but can be tough to spot in the forest mid-levels. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
PALE BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Cyornis unicolor)
BLUE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Cyornis rubeculoides)
LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis)
SMALL NILTAVA (Niltava macgrigoriae)
RUFOUS-BELLIED NILTAVA (Niltava sundara)
VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus)
LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris) [*]
BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (Myophonus caeruleus)
LITTLE FORKTAIL (Enicurus scouleri)
SPOTTED FORKTAIL (Enicurus maculatus)
SLATY-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus schistaceus)
BLUE-FRONTED ROBIN (Cinclidium frontale) [*]
HIMALAYAN BLUETAIL (Tarsiger rufilatus)
Verditer Flycatcher is a non-skulker, often singing from an exposed perch. And it is Mountain Bluebird beautiful! Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
WHITE-BROWED BUSH-ROBIN (Tarsiger indicus)
SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula tricolor)
PYGMY BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hodgsoni)
RUFOUS-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula strophiata)
LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni)
ULTRAMARINE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula superciliaris)
BLUE-FRONTED REDSTART (Phoenicurus frontalis)
PLUMBEOUS REDSTART (Phoenicurus fuliginosus)
WHITE-CAPPED REDSTART (Phoenicurus leucocephalus)
HODGSON'S REDSTART (Phoenicurus hodgsoni)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rufiventris)
Black-tailed Crake was wonderfully cooperative this year, responding to playback near Paro. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
BLUE-CAPPED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola cinclorhynchus)
Blue-capped Rock-Thrush is common along the disturbed road edges on the lower slopes of our tour route. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (SIBERIAN) (Saxicola maurus maurus) [b]
GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
TICKELL'S THRUSH (Turdus unicolor)
WHITE-COLLARED BLACKBIRD (Turdus albocinctus)
GRAY-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Turdus boulboul)
BLACK-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus atrogularis) [b]
RED-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus ruficollis) [b]
ASIAN PIED STARLING (Gracupica contra)
CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Sturnia malabarica)
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)
ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis hardwickii)
PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum)
Gray-winged Blackbird was uncommon, but we had good looks at several singing birds in the broadleaf forest. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum ignipectus)
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
FIRE-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga ignicauda)
Bhutan is changing: New wind turbines are on the back ridge, while in the foreground stand a few of the many buildings related to the hydroelectric project along the Puna Tsang Chhu. Photo by guide Richard Webster.
BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata)
Elizabeth Gould's Sunbird was not as common as Green-tailed, but we saw a pleasurable sprinkling across the upper slopes. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga gouldiae)
GREEN-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga nipalensis)
CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja)
STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna)
RUFOUS-BREASTED ACCENTOR (Prunella strophiata) [b]
Citrine Wagtail is a scarce migrant in Bhutan, so a couple along the Par Chhu were extra exciting (for North Americans, seeing one in breeding plumage was plenty exciting). Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CITRINE WAGTAIL (Motacilla citreola) [b]
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) [b]
WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba)
WHITE-BROWED WAGTAIL (Motacilla maderaspatensis)
Black-faced Laughingthrush, a portrait. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
ROSY PIPIT (Anthus roseatus)
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni)
Elachuridae (Spotted Elachura)
SPOTTED ELACHURA (Elachura formosa)
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
LITTLE BUNTING (Emberiza pusilla) [b]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
PLAIN MOUNTAIN-FINCH (Leucosticte nemoricola)
BROWN BULLFINCH (Pyrrhula nipalensis)
RED-HEADED BULLFINCH (Pyrrhula erythrocephala)
HIMALAYAN BEAUTIFUL ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus pulcherrimus)
DARK-RUMPED ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus edwardsii)
Great Hornbill above Tingtibi, where we saw them for our 'camp-yard' list. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
HIMALAYAN WHITE-BROWED ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus thura)
SCARLET FINCH (Haematospiza sipahi)
YELLOW-BREASTED GREENFINCH (Chloris spinoides)
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)
TIBETAN SERIN (Serinus thibetanus)
COLLARED GROSBEAK (Mycerobas affinis)
SPOT-WINGED GROSBEAK (Mycerobas melanozanthos)
WHITE-WINGED GROSBEAK (Mycerobas carnipes)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
RUSSET SPARROW (Passer rutilans)
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus)
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata)
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata)
ASSAMESE MACAQUE (Macaca assamensis)
A sweet-faced Golden Langur wouldn't demolish all the flowers in this tree, would it? Not sweet at all! That natural born leaf killer will demolish the flowers on this Bauhenia variegata! Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
GOLDEN LANGUR (Presbytis geei)
LEAF MONKEY SP. (Presbytis pileata)
pika sp.: What kind of pika? We aren't sure. So ask it to open its mouth and check its dentition! Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
PIKA SP. (Ochotona roylei)
Bhutan Laughingthrush is a split from Streaked Laughingthrush of the western Himalaya. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
IRAWADDY SQUIRREL (Callosciurus pygerythrus)
HIMALAYAN STRIPED SQUIRREL (Tamiops macclellandi)
HIMALAYAN GROUND-SQUIRREL (Dremomys lokriah)
HODGSON'S GIANT FLYING SQUIRREL (Petaurista magnificus)
YELLOW-THROATED MARTEN (Martes flavigula)
MASKED PALM CIVET (Paguma larvata)
Rusty-fronted Barwing was easily seen this year; we kept running into chattering flocks. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak)
COMMON GORAL (Nemorhaedus goral)
There is far more than we can list adequately, from orchids to beautiful butterflies like Paris Peacocks.
Mention will be made of:
Yaks, domestic only
Karma, the rehab Black-necked Crane
Cows and more cows, but particularly the herd going past lunch on their 25-day journey from Zhemgang to Bumthang! Note that the Mithun Khandu identified in some places (Gayal; Bos frontalis) is a separate lineage from most "cattle," semi-domesticated in this region.
Totals for the tour: 299 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa