Dooars or Duars is famous for its tea gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, and rivers like Teesta, Murti, Torsa, Raidak and many more. These geographical variations make Dooars an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of birds. Out of the roughly 1350 species of birds in India, 1250 species reside in Dooars itself or migrate to it in winter. The beautiful land is ideal for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers. As a result, bird watching or birding in Dooars has become one of the most popular activities. Whether you are a bird photographer, bird lover or simply a tourist, these exotic and beautiful birds are sure to take your breath away. Grab a pair of binoculars and your camera for a walk through the forest trails which promise you glimpses of hundreds of different types of beautiful birds.
Best places to find the most popular and rare birds in Dooars:
From Siliguri in the west to Buxa in the east, the 150 km stretch of dense evergreen moist deciduous Himalayan foothills are home to some of the most sought-after birds in the world. The numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Dooars feature an amazing avian diversity.
Birding in Buxa Tiger Reserve, Dooars :
It is one of the richest sources of avian diversity in Dooars offering around 516 species of birds. The geography of foothills, plains, riverbeds, wetlands and the forest area in the reserve make it an ideal habitat for both local and migratory birds. Some of the rare and popular birds spotted here are e Scarlet Minivet, Long-tailed Minivet, Rufous-vented Yuhina, Stripe-throated Yuhina, Whiskered Yuhina, Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Red-tailed Minla, Himalayan Cutia, Great Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous-necked Hornbill, White-eyed Pochard, Common Teal, Lesser Whistling Teal, Northern Shoveler, Bronze-winged Jacana, Collared Falconet, etc.
Birding in Neora Valley National Park, Dooars:
The park is a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site because of its rich flora and fauna. There are about 265 species of birds in this park. Several birding camps are organized by various organizations to take bird lovers closer to some of the rarest birds in the world. Some of the rare birds found here include the Great Pied Hornbill, Himalayan Griffon, Redstart, Golden Headed Black Finch, Khalij Pheasant, Rufous-throated Partridge, Satyr Tragopan, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Golden-throated Barbet, Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo, Brown Wood Owl, Ashy Wood Pigeon, etc.
Birding in Gorumara National Park, Dooars :
The best place for bird(both local and migratory) lovers is the Chukchuki Watchtower inside the park. So far, 264 varieties of birds of different categories are noted in the park and some of those are rarest of rare. Some of the brilliant submontane forest birds like the Scarlet Minivet, Sunbird, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Spangled Drongo and Great Indian Hornbill. Numerous woodpeckers and pheasants inhabit the park along with peafowls and the migratory Brahminy Duck.
Birding in Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary, Dooars :
At a distance of 34 kilometers from Alipurduar, Rasikbil is basically a marshland or swamp which is famous for birds. The place is flocked by a large variety of birds and is therefore known as a bird sanctuary. It is claimed by some to be the largest bird sanctuary in Asia. However, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, now known as Keoladeo National Park is considered the largest in Asia. Famous water birds like Wigeon duck, Grey Headed Lapwing, Shoveler, Pintail, Red Crested Pochard, Lesser Whistling Teal, White-Eyed Pochard, and Common Teal are common here along with ibis, kingfisher, owl, storks, cormorants, spoonbill, and many more.
Birding in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Dooars :
Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, between the Teesta and Mahananda rivers, this place holds more than 240 species of birds such as Rufous-necked Hornbill, Great Hornbill, sunbird, roller, Swift, Green-backed Tit, Barn Swallow, peafowls, peacocks, fowls, egrets, kingfishers, flycatchers, Racket-tailed Drongo, Assamese Macaque, etc. It is advised to avoid visiting the sanctuary during the summers because of the heavy rainfall.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary :
The varied terrain, mosaic of vegetation and rich insect life made Jaldapara exceptionally rich in avifauna. More than 240 species of birds are found here and it is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal florican is sighted. Other endangered bird species found in the Sanctuary are Black partridge, Shaheen Falcon, Great Pied Hornbills, Forest Eagle Owl, Large Green-billed Malkoha White Rumped Vulture and Lesser Adjutant Stork.
Best time for birding:
The forests of Dooars are dense and rich in vegetation. Birdwatching can be experienced at any time of the year. But the best time for Birdwatching in the national parks and forests of Dooars is from October to April.
During monsoon, the forest department closes the forest for the tourists. Birding stays closed during the months of Mid-June to Mid-September.