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Sikkim

The State of Sikkim is situated between Nepal in the east, Tibet in the North and Bhutan in the West. Here the avifauna is mixed with birds of the Eastern Himalayas and Palaearctic species. Due to inaccessibility, most of the birding is restricted to southern and western Sikkim. Despite its tiny size, Sikkim is geographically diverse, owing to its location on the Himalaya. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, is located in the northwestern part of the state on the boundary with Nepal, and can be seen from most parts of the state. Most of the birding done here are based around:(East Sikkim)

  • Gangtok
  • Ravangla

(South Sikkim)

  • Varsey

(West Sikkim)

  • Pelling
  • Pemeyangtse Gompha
  • Khechiperi Lake

Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, one of only three among the Ecoregions of India. Owing to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants, from tropical to temperate to alpine and tundra, and along with it a very diverse bird life.It is perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such a small area.
The flora of Sikkim includes the rhododendron, Orchids, figs,laurel, bananas, sal trees and bamboo in the lower altitudes of Sikkim, which enjoy a subtropical-type climate. In the temperate elevations above 1,500 metres, oaks, chestnuts, maples, birches, alders, and magnolias grow in large numbers. The alpine-type vegetation includes juniper, pine, firs, cypresses and rhododendrons, and is typically found between an altitude of 3,500 to 5000m. Sikkim boasts around 5,000 flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primula species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns, and over 424 medicinal plants. The orchid Dendrobium nobile is the official flower of Sikkim.

The avifauna of Sikkim is comprises a total of 700 species of birds have been recorded in Sikkim, some of which have been declared endangered.
Some of the birds of interest here are Lesser Yellownape, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, Indian Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, Himalayan Swiftlet, White-throated Needletail, Solitary Snipe, Himalayan Griffon, Grey-chinned Minivet, White-throated Dipper, Brown Dipper, Tickell’s Thrush, Grey-winged Blackbird, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Sapphire Flycatcher, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin, Black-throated Tit. Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Lemon-rumped Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Rufous-fronted Babbler, Rufous-capped Babbler, Black-chinned Babbler, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Rusty-fronted Barwing, Blue-winged Minla, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, White-browed Fulvetta, Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Alpine Accentor, Altai Accentor, Plain Mountain Finch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Red-headed Bullfinch.

Nearest Railhead: New Jalpaiguri,

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra.

Approx travelling time: Gangtok/Ravangla/Pelling/Yuksom is 4 to 6 hours drive from New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra

Accommodation: Mainly private hotels and resorts, however birders in Khangchendzonga National Park area have essentially to put up in trekkers’ huts or tents.

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