Bird Watching in Sikkim
West Sikkim offers great birding opportunities. Barsey, located at 3300m, 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 these forests. 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 Trek. Some of the birds seen on this trip are Blood Pheasant, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Brown Parotbill, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Cutia, Sapphire flycatcher, White browned Bush Robin, Grandala, Rufous - breasted Accentors, White winged and collared Grosbeaks, Spot-winged Rosefinch.
Tholung Valley, in North Sikkim is also a treasure house of birds. It is located in the shadow of the 6888 meters high Siniolchu, and the 5200 meters Lamo Anden, this is virtually an uninhabited valley. Over 67 species were recorded in this region from Little Cormorant, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Common Kestrel, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant, Spotted Dove, Grey Headed Parakeet, White Rumped Needletail, Himalyan Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Lesser Yellownape, Black Drongo, Long tailed Shrike and more.
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.