Flora and fauna in Bhutan

Bhutan's biodiversity

Text & photographs by N. Shiva Kumar


The yellow-footed green pigeon enjoying the warmth of the morning sun on a treetop to beat the cold weather.
Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan as seen from the Dochula Pass. At 24,840 feet, it is the highest unclimbed mountain in the world as it is considered holy.
The Paro-Chu, the Pho-Chu, the Mo-Chu and the Wang-Chu are various rivers in Bhutan and almost all them merge with the mighty Brahmaputra river.
The ibisbill is a distinct bird that has its own family, Ibidorhynchidae. It is the only species in this family and both male and female birds look similar.
The brown dipper is an aquatic songbird found near the fast-flowing rivers of Bhutan, cheerfully dunking into eddies searching for food.
The blood pheasant. It is a stocky ground bird that is easily identifiable by its crimson feathers resembling dashes of blood scattered on the breast and belly.
The monal pheasant (male). The male bird has blazing blue colours; comparatively the female is dull brown and pale-looking. These birds are found in the entire Himalayan mountain ranges.
The rufous sibia is a common and colourful bird of the bush and is often seen perching on plants and small trees.
The rufous-vented yuhina is a tiny little bird and not easily sighted in the foliage. Endemic to the Himalayas, it descends to lower-to-middle altitudes to forage in the winter.
The rufous-necked hornbill is large with a large impressive curved bill and a knob on top of the head. The head of the males and their under parts are rufous whereas females are dark brown.
The Kalij pheasant is an attractive ground bird and is difficult to find in the undergrowth. Here a male Kalij struts itself on a tree branch perhaps searching for females of its kind.
The white-bellied heron is extremely rare to sight. It is a loner and on the verge of extinction owing to loss of its natural habitat.
The slender-billed scimitar-babbler, with its extra-long curved bill, is small and shy and difficult to locate in thick foliage.
White-winged grosbeaks are sparrow-sized bird with fat beaks suitable to eat seeds and pods and usually move in groups.
The blue-fronted redstart. It is a plump robin-like bird with different colours for the male and the female and makes musical calls.
The black-tailed crake is a skulking bird and is not easily visible in its natural habitats and is thus infrequently recorded in its range. Hence its global population is not estimated and there is a steady decline owing to habitat degradation.
Honey guides are small sparrow-like birds and named so for their remarkable habit of invading honeycombs and feeding on larvae and natural beeswax.
The takin is a very curious-looking animal with a goat head and the body of an antelope thriving on the hillsides of Bhutan.
Wild water buffaloes, though few in number, are found in the Royal Manas sanctuary adjoining the national parks of Assam.
The takin is a very curious-looking animal with a goat head and the body of an antelope thriving on the hillsides of Bhutan.
The Himalayan black bear is big, impressive and daring with its huge size and can easily maul a man if it feels threatened.
The red panda, another endangered species, hunted by poachers for its cute, cuddly and colourful features.
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