Birding In Kumaon – Explore Uttarakhand Nature


Uttarakhand is home to about 700 species of birds that are found in India. Although we had an inkling of the variety of birds reported in Uttarakhand, the hill state of India, our itinerary could not accommodate opportunities to explore Birding in Kumaon. The focus was on the Himalayas, Sunrise scenes, heritage places, and landscapes that the Devbhoomi offers to the visitors like us.

Steppe Eagle in-flight at Kathgodam, Kumaon
Steppe Eagle in-flight at Kathgodam, Kumaon

Nevertheless, we thought of at least getting a glimpse of Kumaon birds. Kumaon region of Uttarakhand did entice us with a possibility of a planned birding trip in the future.

Birding In Kumaon

Here are some of the birds of Kumaon we could spot and manage to photograph.


The first place we stopped on our road trip to Kumaon was Kathgodam, just past Haldwani. The hilly terrain starts at Kathgodam, we were hungry having driven all the way from Delhi and stopped by a riverside restaurant for lunch. Right there by the riverside, dozens of Plum-headed Parakeet calls drew our attention, but they were across the river in the valley. Moments later we saw this Steppe-Eagle flying over the river and near the balcony of the restaurant. Unwittingly our Birding in Kumaon had started.


Barn Swallow in flight, Oriental White-eye in flight, and Turtle Dove
Top to bottom Barn Swallow in flight, Oriental White-eye in flight, and Turtle Dove

A little drive ahead at Bhimtal, we checked into the KVPM guest house and headed to Naukuchiatal Lake. Birds like Kingfishers to Herons were there, but the water sports and Swans in large numbers there held our attention. Some biscuit pieces were thrown into the water by kids who drew hordes of Swans. They were literally after the kids even chasing them to the steps leading to the lake.

Grey Bushchat, Ducks, Striated Swallow, Jungle Myna
Clockwise from bottom left Grey Bushchat, Ducks, Striated Swallow, Jungle Myna at Bhimtal

Early morning the next day, waiting for our morning tea, as we stepped out on the lawns of the guest house, he first heard and then saw so many birds. Some of them we saw and photographed for the first time. There were birds like the Red-billed Blue Magpie, Himalayan Bulbul, Scarlet Minivet, and Jungle Myna.

Steppe Eagle, Russet Sparrows, Ducks, and Scarlet Minivet birds
Clockwise from bottom left Steppe Eagle, Russet Sparrows, Ducks, and Scarlet Minivet birds
Red-billed Blue Magpie at Bhimtal
Red-billed Blue Magpie at Bhimtal

After taking a walk along the Bhimtal Lake, we headed to Sattal. Here, we explored some water sports and walked around the parts of the lake. We ignored this black, crow-like bird many times. However, we did notice it did not behave like a Crow that is always looking for food near people. Finally captured a couple of images only to later learn that the bird is called Blue-whistling Thrush. Take a look.

Blue Whistling-Thrush bird at Sattal
Blue Whistling-Thrush bird at Sattal


Our next stop was Mukteshwar. Early morning before sunrise we were out looking for sunrise over Himalayan peaks. We were pleasantly surprised to find over a dozen Black-headed Jay’s, Grey-bush Chat, Oriental White-Eye, Himalayan Bulbuls, Striated-swallows, and Russet-Sparrows. On a short walk post-sunrise, we were rewarded with a surprise sighting of the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker at Mukteshwar - Birding in Kumaon
Rufous-bellied Woodpecker at Mukteshwar


Black Francolin bird at Binsar - Birding in Kumaon
Black Francolin bird at Binsar

Further on our journey to the Binsar, to get a closer look at the Himalayas, there were more surprises. We sighted a Black Francolin who noticed us and quickly disappeared. The Oriental turtleย Doves were there happily greeting the visitors to Binsar.

Tips for Birding in Kumaon

Left to right Himalayan Bulbul, Grey-headed Jay, unidentified bird - Birding in Kumaon
Left to right Himalayan Bulbul, Grey-headed Jay, unidentified bird – Share if you know the ID

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many exotic Himalayan Birds in Uttarakhand seen only around this topography.

  • Do not stop your vehicle on the roads en route to photograph birds in the hill state.
  • It is best to go for a walk early morning out of town and keep a keen eye for birds.
  • Have patience and look out keenly & listen to the bird calls.

We ended up watching many new birds here. We will be back again to the hill state of India and spend some more time birding in this region of Uttarakhand, sometime in the future. See you again fascinating friends with feathers! We have posted collages of the birds to minimize the total number of bird photographs on this post.

Recommend you read the following birding trails on the travel blog.


  1. Fantastic bird photography, and the Blue Whistling-Thrush bird is particularly interesting. The ducks look like geese to me though ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never seen most of these birds – one more reason to visit Uttarkhand.

  2. It’s once again I have to write thanks Anuradhaji for your wonderful description of different types of species of birds which I am seeing for the first time. Keep it up Mam for our knowledge. Thanks again.

  3. The bird pictures are beautiful! Your husband must have enjoyed his time in Kumaon. I have personally not had the chance to visit this place in uttarakhand but I can see how it would make sense to visit some time in the future. The places you mentioned are unknown to me. What known places are the nearest?
    I think I like the Himalayan Bulbul the most. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Helene – you might have heard about Nainital which is the most popular city of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Yes, my husband had a great time clicking birds in Kumaon. We did a road trip in March and that is a good time to visit this region.

  4. Beautiful shots again! Which camera do you use?? I went to Sattal in 2014. Stayed in one of the camps with my ex colleagues. It was so surreal and quiet going on nature walks. Reminded me of my time growing up in the mountains.

    • Ishita – we have Nikon D7000 and Nikon P600 – between the two of us, we use these two cameras for bird photography. My favorite thing to do in Kumaon was walking around its pristine lakes – it is such a blissful appearance and of course, you meet all these birds when you go on these walks.

  5. I am a great lover of birds and therefore your blog impressed me a lot. Your bird photography is amazing and fantastic, especially the duck’s picture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here