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<Sikkim Birds>
 

Bird-watching

Spanning the boundaries of two major zoogeographical regions, the Oriental and the Palaearctic, Sikkim’s avifaunal diversity is representative of both regions, a major factor accounting for the great variety.

The climatic range is extreme, varying from tropical heat in the valleys to the alpine cold of the snowy regions. The prolific vegetation, which ranges from tropical, sub-tropical, temperate to alpine (depending on altitude), is enriched by the abundance in rainfall. This portion of the eastern Himalayas receives an annual average rainfall of 325 mm (12.8 in.), which peaks at 660 mm (26 in.) in the month of July making it extremely humid.

There is also extreme deviation in altitudes within very short distances resulting in distinct climatic zones inside a compressed space barely a hundred kilometers north to south, and sixty kilometers east to west – a factor favouring rapid seasonal migration of the species round the year including their abundance and variety.

Of the 1,300 avifaunal species found in the Indian subcontinent, 527 were recorded for the region by noted ornithologists Salim Ali and S Dillon Ripley.

Sites for Bird Watching
One of the best ways to birding in Sikkim and the Darjeeling District is to get oneself off the beaten tracks (of vehicular roads and urban settlements).

Trekking is another good option, and this may not necessarily be an arduous high altitude excursion such as the Dzongri trek but easier and gentler hikes in the middle hills such as the trail between Varsey-Dentam, Pelling-Yuksam, and several such similar ones ranging from one to three days.

Alternatively, driving over to secluded forested areas such as Pemayangtse, Khechiperi, Yuksam, Damthang, Lingzhya, Hee-Gyathang and many such places can yield equally interesting finds.

Avid birders are assured ample opportunities to add more feathers to their checklist on sampling the hills and valleys inside Sikkim.

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