Chopta in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary provides some excellent winter and spring birding, and fantastic landscapes. A mix of pine and deodar forest with rhododendrons, amidst lush 'bugyals' or grassy meadows, it is probably the best and most easily accessible place in India to see the stunning 'nine-colored' state bird of Uttarakhand, the Himalayan Monal. That alone would be worth the long drive, but the area has much more to offer.
Chopta, in the Garhwal Himalayas, has such a wonderful variety of habitats, combined with several altitude changes, that it has become one of the most popular birding destinations for birdwatchers and photographers of all skill levels. With species like Himalayan Monal, Koklass, and Kalij Pheasants, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, a variety of laughing thrushes and woodpeckers, and many many more, plus the opportunity to meet and interact with friendly local communities, a visit to Chopta is truly a special experience.
Bird Watching in Chopta
Chopta (2680 m) is an unspoiled natural destination lying in the lap of the Uttarakhand Himalayas and offers views of the imposing Himalayan range including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba. Chopta village is surrounded by forests of pine, deodar and rhododendron and is rich in flora and fauna include rare species of birds and musk deer. The entire region belongs to the Temperature zone, in winter, most of area is covered to snow. Many variety of Lichens grwo here on wood, soil and rock substrates. Its hilly slopes at mid-to high-altitudes and bugyals (alpine meadows) exist at the higher altitudes. This landscape has one of the richest bird diversities. The area has identification of over 240 bird species and declared Important Bird Area (BNHS and BirdLife International)
Special about Bird Watching
Part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary
Being a part of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, Chopta offers a rich biodiversity. It is surrounded by dense forests which serves as a habitat for various species of animals. An important part of its rich biodiversity is the variety of birds residing here.
An important Bird Area
With more than 240 species of birds, Chopta has been declared as an important Bird Area by BNHS and Birdlife International. You will surely spot the beautiful Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Swiftlet, Himalayan Griffon, Scarlet Finch, Hill Patridge, Golden Eye, among other birds.
Distinct Himalayan bird species
Owing to its rich variety of birds, Chopta is home to distinct Himalayan bird species which are normally not seen in other regions. The most famous of them are- Himalayan Monal, Himalayan Swiftlet, Himalayan Griffon, Scarlet Finch, Hill Patridge, Golden Eye, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Bearded Vultures, Laughter Thrust, Koklass Pheasant, Tit, Warbler, and so on.
Natural habitat of birds
The beautiful environment of Chopta allows the birds to roam freely and you’ll be able to catch them at their best happy self. This is one of the most fulfilling feature of bird watching in Chopta.
Round the Year Birding
Even many migrated birds can be seen in the valley. The bird watching can be explored all round the year except from June end to September.
Himalayan Swiftlet, Crested Goshawk, Besra, Long-legged Buzzard, Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Black Kite, Red-headed Valture, Moutain Hawk Eagle, Common Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Speckled Wood Pigeon, Snow Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Oriental Turtle Dove, Hill Partrige, Snow Partrige,Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant, Koklass Pheasant, Black-throated Tit, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Rusty-Flanked Treecreeper, Winter Wren, Hill Prinia, Striated Prinia, Common Raven, Large-billed Crow, Ashy Drongo, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Eurasian Jay, Black-Headed Jay, Maroon Oriole, Long-tailed Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-bellied Fantail,Yellow-bellied Blue Magpie, Yellow-breasted Greenfinch,Common Rosefinch,Dark-breasted Rosefinch,Rock Bunting, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, Red-headed Bullfinch, Asian House Martin, White-capped Water Redstart, Little Forktail, Verditer Flycatcher and many more…
Bird Watching Point
Dugalbitta lies on the way to Chopta and is an excellent spot for bird watching. Famous birds of this region includes- Fire-tailed Sunbird, Brown Dipper, Kingfisher, Woodpeckers, and Russet Sparrow among others.
Located 24 km from Chopta, Mandal is a scenic village offering a rich variety of birds. Famous birds spotted in this region are- Red Billed, Yellow Billed, Blue Magpie, Oriental Turtle Dive, etc.
Makku Village (Makkumath)
Makku Village is home to various species of birds such as Long-tailed Minivets, Russet Sparrow, Golden Bush Robin, Pine Thrush, Yelloe-rumpedHoneyguide.
En Route Tungnath Trek
The trek route from Chopta to Tungnath is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, alpine forests, and diverse flora and faunas. You will come across many rare species of birds here which serves as a delight to watch.
Best Time to Visit
Bird watching in Chopta is a recreational activity that can be undertaken all year round. Every season sees a variety of migratory birds.
While you will spot different species of birds all year round, the preferable time to get the most out of your bird watching will be from March to November as there will be many varieties of birds in Chopta during this time.
Bird Watching Events
Every year bird watching festival is organized in Chopta Region. Many birding enthusiasts visit Chopta region for this event.