A Paradise For Birds, Horned Lark Discovery Takes Total Bird Count To 739 In Bhutan


The horned lark which is about 18 cm long, resides in the high Himalayas.

Birds of Bhutan. (Source: Gangri Tours)


By Rinchen Zangmo | Kuensel

The sighting of a Horned Lark (Eremophila Alpestris) in Haa on December 20 takes the total bird count to 739 in Bhutan.

The bird was spotted at a field in the Gakidling gewog when a forester, Wangchuk and two rangers, Gyeltshen Dorji and Sangay Wangchuk from the Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve, were out on a ‘birding’ expedition.

Events which led to the discovery of this new species of bird

Upon seeing this creature, Gyeltshen Dorji said that he immediately started clicking pictures. They were sent to the headquarters for verification thereafter. The bird has also been identified to be a male.


Horned Lark (Eremophila Alpestris)

Photo: Kuensel


“It seemed different but we weren’t sure. We actually saw the bird in the morning at around 10:30 but went in the afternoon at around 1:30 again. The bird was identified and confirmed as a new species on the same day.”

He revealed that the nature reserve alone had a record of about 169 species of birds.

“With advancement in technology, new equipment makes it easier for bird enthusiasts like us to explore the environment. I believe that the new sightings also mean that our biodiversity is rich with diverse fauna.”

Forester Wangchuk said that the three of them usually went in the morning and evening for birding because these were the times when birds were either roosting or feeding.


The black, yellow and white Great Hornbill

makes for a majestic sight in Bhutan.

Photo: Blog.cox and kings


“We found the bird about a half kilometre from the Sombay dungkhag station.”

Wangchuk and Gyeltshen Dorji previously also spotted and recorded the little owl as a new record.

An ornithologist with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research, Sherub (PhD), said that the record was the ninth one this year alone. The last ‘discovered bird’ in Bhutan was the Grey Plover at the Gyalpoizhing in Mongar on November 4.

More details about the horned lark

According to the ‘Birds of India’, the horned lark which is about 18 cm long, resides in the high Himalayas. The male has a black and white head pattern with a black mask, like ‘horns and bands’ across its crown.

Bhutan is home to about half of the world’s

population of white bellied herons.

Photo: BBS


The bird breeds on stony ground and alpine pastures. In winter, it breeds in fallow land and on stony and sandy ground. The horned lark is also a songbird.

“We are very excited as the number is getting closer to what international experts had estimated. It means that we have rich biodiversity here in Bhutan. We are hoping that the number will exceed 770.”


This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.


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