Birding in Mandala

Birding Tours in Mandala

The Mandala-Phudung forest region is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast India. It forms the part of the Important Bird Area (IBA) with the contiguous forest tracts of Shergaon and Kalaktang. This IBA is listed as one of the 28 IBAs of Arunachal Pradesh by the Birdlife International (2013). However, the Mandala-Phudung region does not enjoy any status for protection under the gazette of the Arunachal Pradesh government. This area is threatened with habitat loss due to road construction, agriculture, illegal logging and human settlements, poaching and grazing. It forms a substantial part of the global biodiversity hotspot and requires urgent conservation action. Moreover, there is a tremendous scope for developing the eco-tourism sector in this region by involving the local Monpa tribe who appear to be very positive towards biodiversity conservation. The faunal diversity (especially mammals) of this area still needs to be explored.

The Mandala-Phudung area forms a contiguous unit with Shergaon and Kalaktang tracts of the high altitude mountainous region, lying in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. It covers an area of around 100,000 ha and the central coordinates are 27° 23' 60" N, 92° 17' 60" E. Together, these three separate but contiguous tracts form the Important Bird Area (IBA) which is then contiguous with two other IBA’s - Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Sangti Valley in the north. The Mandala-Phudung region is located in the higher parts, above 3000 m above msl. The entire Shergaon-Mandala-Phudung-Kalaktang IBA covers lesser part of Middle and Lesser Himalayas and some part of Great Himalayas.

The Mandala-Phudung forest region has been reported as one of the 28 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Arunachal Pradesh with IBA Code: IN-AR-23 and IBA criteria A1 and A2 (Source: Birdlife International, 2013), and more than 300 species of birds have been recorded in this area (Choudhary, 2001). Also, this is a region with high biodiversity and is a global biodiversity hotspot (Myers, 1988) as well as on Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (Stattersfield et al., 1998). Some of the ‘trigger’ species of birds as presented by Birdlife International are Blyth's Tragopan Tragopanblythii, Ward's Trogon Harpacteswardi, Rufous-necked Hornbill Acerosnipalensis, Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopuscantator, Broad-billed Warbler Tickelliahodgsoni, Rufous-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeorniscaudatus, Hoary-throated BarwingActinoduranipalensis, Streak-throated BarwingActinodurawaldeni, Beautiful SibiaHeterophasiapulchella, White-naped YuhinaYuhinabakeri, Beautiful Nuthatch SittaFormosa, Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryxhyperythra.

Most Interestingly only few birders have been to this area. This area is known for Gould’s Shortwing, Brown Bush Warbler, Red Crossbill, Blanford's rosefinch, Temminck's tragopan, Kessler's thrush, White-bellied Redstart and really good sighting of the elusive rear Red Panda besides number of other mammals.

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