Bird Watching in Dehradun

Nestled in the beautiful Doon Valley in the lap of the Himalayas, Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand, is known for its charming location and pleasant climate. 

The Doon Valley consists of more than 500 species of birds and Dehradun is a hub of a variety of bird species. You can easily spot different types of birds on a walk across the lanes and streets of the city. 

Along with local birds, Dehradun is home to a lot of migratory birds, making it a cherished bird watching destination by birders from all over the world. Migratory birds flock the region during autumns and winters while local birds can be easily spotted during monsoons.

The Doon Valley has a rich ecological diversity with a large variety of bird species and lush green vegetation. It is surrounded by subtropical deciduous forests, the most prominent species being Sal (Shorea Robusta) and Teak. The valley is also characterized by large stretches of areas occupied as natural wetlands, grasslands, agricultural land, and agro-forestry.

Birds in Dehradun

The most common bird species found in Dehradun are- Kalij Pheasant, Speckled Piculet, Himalayan Woodpecker, Yellow-Crowned Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Brown-Headed Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Himalayan Flameback, Lesser Yellownape, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Drongo Cuckoo, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Nepal Wren-Babbler, Bar-winger Flycatcher-shrike, among many others.

A peaceful recreational activity that brings anyone closer to nature, bird watching can be done anywhere in Dehradun but there are certain places where you’ll spot many varieties of birds and a perfectly-set ambiance for the activity. You can either watch the birds with naked eyes or with the help of binoculars or telescopes. 

List of Best Birding Spots in Dehradun

There are many birding spots in Dehradun that provide you with the best bird watching experience. Below is the list of famous birding spots in Dehradun.

1. Asan Conservation Reserve

eUttaranchal.com: Birds in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary, Dehradun

Asan Barrage also spelled as Assan Barrage or Aasan Barrage is a 287.5 km long barrage situated at the confluence of two perennial rivers of Yamuna and Asan. Asan Barrage was declared as a Wetland Conservation Reservation in 2005 making it India’s first conservation reserve.

Asan Conservation Barrage consists of more than 250 bird species. Among them, there are 80 species of waterbirds present. Along with various species of local birds, Asan Conservation Reserve serves as an important wintering spot for migrating birds. It is one of the best bird-watching spots in Dehradun. Common migratory birds in Asan Barrage include Greylag, Brahminy, Mallard, Pochard, Egrets, Wagtails, among others.

2. Lachhiwala

Located 21 km from Dehradun city, Lachhiwala is a famed picnic spot enclosed within Sal forests and lying alongside the banks of Song River. The lush green environment and the gentle stream provides a calm atmosphere where bird-watching becomes a delightful activity.

Lachhiwala consists of many woodpecker species including the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, and other bird species like Eurasian Treecreeper, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Bar-tailed Flycatcher Shrike, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Puff-throated Babbler, Indian Pitta, and Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush. If you are lucky you may also find multi-colored birds of Dehradun here like Plumbeous Redstart, White-capped Water Redstart, Brown Dipper, and others.

3. Maldevta

Sumit Semwal: A beautiful bridge across the river in Maldevta Dehradun.

Located just 19 km from the main city of Dehradun, Maldevta is a popular picnic spot away from the hustle of city. Surrounded by lush greenery, Maldevta is an ideal place for nature walks and bird watching. As the area is a bit hilly and rocky as compared to other regions of Dehradun, you will find many types of birds here.

Birds like Egyptian Vulture, Oriental Honey Buzzard, and Little Cormorant, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Grey Treepie, Greater Yellownape, Crimson Sunbird, Mrs.Gould’s Sunbird, White-crested Laughing Thrush, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, among many others can be spotted here

If you go further to the mango orchards of Kumalda Village, you will spot other beautiful birds like Plum-headed Parakeet and Slaty-headed Parakeet.

4. Forest Research Institute (FRI)

Places for bird watching in Dehradun is incomplete without mentioning FRI, a premier institution for forestry research. As an educational as well as a tourist spot, FRI is famous for its natural diversity, architecture, and aesthetically pleasing environment.  

Along with different varieties of plant and animal species, there are different species of birds, especially migratory birds that can be seen in FRI. The vast campus area of 5 km makes it an excellent location for bird watching in Dehradun.

5. Thano

Enclosed within dense mixed-Sal forests in Forest Dehradun Block, the Thano Range is located 15 km from Dehradun city. As the place is surrounded by orchards, agricultural fields, and scrub jungles, you’ll spot a variety of birds here including Common tailorbird, Plum-headed Parakeet, White-capped Bunting, Greater Yellownape, Crested Kingfisher, Indian Pitta, Maroon Oriole, among others.

List of Top Bird Watching Places near Dehradun

1. Rajaji National Park

Hekris/ Flickr: Eagle as seen in Rajaji

Located 60 km from Dehradun, Rajaji National Park is one of the finest places for bird watching nearby Dehradun. With more than 312 bird species comprising of local and migratory birds, Rajaji National Park offers a diverse range of birds to watch for and spot. Rajaji National Park has about 11 species of woodpeckers, 5 species of barbets, and 3 species of hornbills.

Some birds found in Rajaji National Park are- Peafowl, Jungle Fowl, Kalij Pheasant, Kingfisher, Warbler, Barbet, Parakeet, Indian Roller, Oriole, Northern Goshawk, etc.

2. Devalsari

Rohitash.t: The Siberian Stonechat/ Asian Stonechat in Devalsari

Devalsari is a scenic hamlet situated at an elevation of 1,800 m at a distance of 79 km from Dehradun. Devalsari has a rich variety of flora and fauna owing to its varying terrain. The climate and landscape of Devalsari make it ideal for hiking, trekking, and photography along with bird watching.

Collared Owlet, Blue-throated Barbet, Common Iora, Grey-headed Canary Fly Catcher, Golden Bush Robin, Chukar Partridge, Mrs.Gould’s Sunbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker are some of the birds found in Devalsari.

Along with birds, Devalsari is home to a large species of butterflies. The second Devalsari Butterfly Festival was held on May 2019 where the location was filled with beautiful butterfly species like Siren, Brown Argus, Fawn Hairstreak, Western Courtier, among many others.

3. Mussoorie

Located at an elevation of 1,880 m, Mussoorie is a charming hill station 35 km from Dehradun. You can spot birds of the higher altitude in the Mussoorie – JharipaniLandour area. In these areas, the Sal forests, which are prominent in most regions of Dehradun are replaced by Chir pine, Himalayan oak, and deodar. The higher altitude and change of forest landscape bring a totally new set of birds which includes Himalayan Shriek, Barber, Perigreen Falcon, Alpine Swift, Himalayan Buzzard, etc.

A good place for bird watching in Mussoorie is Company Bagh, which is also known as Municipal Garden. The HathiPaon and George Everest area also serves as a good birding spot.

4. Chakrata

eUttaranchal.com: Jungle Area in Chakrata with plenty of birds

Surrounded by rhododendrons, conifers, and oak forests, Chakrata is a quiet hill station seated at an elevation of 2,100 m and located 98 km from Dehradun. Owing to its large area being covered by forests, you will find many Himalayan bird species in Chakrata. Places like Tiger Falls, Chilmiri Neck, Deoban, Kanasar, and Budher Cave are some ideal places for bird watching in Chakrata.

5. Dhanaulti

Dhanaulti is a quaint hilly town set at an elevation of 2,286 m and located just 36 km from Dehradun. Enclosed within alpine forests of deodar, oak, and rhododendron, Dhanaulti is home to plenty of high-altitude birds that can be spotted throughout the year. If you are birding in Dhanaulti area, do not forget to visit the road from Jharipani to Dhanaulti. Dhanaulti Eco Park is also an ideal spot for bird watching in Dhanaulti. Kanatal and Kaudia forest near Dhanaulti are also good places to find birds.

6. Rishikesh

Located 46 km from Dehradun, Rishikesh is a famous town in Uttarakhand known for activities like yoga, river rafting, camping, and bird watching. The presence of Ganges and vast amount of forest cover makes Rishikesh a perfect spot for different varieties of birds, including water birds like Little Cormorant, Gull, Great Cormorant, and Ruddy Shelduck, among others. Other birds that can be spotted here includes Slaty Headed Parakeet, Himalayan Bulbul, White-throated Fantail, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Oriental Magpie Robie, and so on.

7. Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve

JhilmilJheel is a wetland near Rajaji National Park located about 20 km from Haridwar and 71 km from Dehradun. The wetland has a rich diversity of flora and fauna, particularly swamp deer and birds. Jhilmil Jheel has about 120 species of birds including local, migratory, and threatened species.

Threatened birds like Bristled Grassbird and species of vultures and rare birds like Oriole, Scarlet Minivet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Rose-headed Parakeet, Emerald Dove, Paradise Flycatcher, among others can be spotted here. The wetland holds four species of kingfisher and many species of ducks.

Uttarakhand is a paradise for bird lovers and Dehradun adequately caters to the interests of birders. Dehradun offers a great opportunity to learn more about different species of birds and understand their implications in the environment.

With amazing bird-watching destinations in and around Dehradun, engage in this recreational activity and tune your eyes and ears to the sight and sounds of nature. 

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