The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is a bird-watcher’s paradise covering an area of 175km2 in the eastern Terai region of Nepal. It lies on the flood plains of the Sapt Koshi and is for the most part enclosed within the 8 metre high embankments of the Koshi Barrage, which has been designed to minimize the destructive annual floods.
In all, a total of 485 different species of birds have been recorded, but primarily the reserve provides an important habitat for waterfowl which flock to its ponds of flowering plants. They include the following; Watercock, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Brown Fish Owl, Common Goldeneye, Bengal, Lesser and Swamp Francolins, Pied, White-breasted, Crested and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Indian Skimmer, Caspian, Black-bellied and River Terns, Great Thick-knee, Spot-billed Pelican, Pied Harrier, Greater Painted Snipe, Purple Swamphen, Caspian and Great Black-headed Gulls, Oriental Darter, Ibisbill, and Little Cormorant. There are also many varieties of ducks, geese, ibis, storks, egrets, cranes and herons such as Lesser Whistling, Comb and Falcated Ducks, Asian Openbill, Bar-headed Goose, Falcated Duck, Baer’s Pochard, Black-necked, Lesser and Greater Adjutant Storks, Sarus Crane, Purple Heron, Intermediate Egret, Cinnamon Bittern, Black (Red-naped) and Black-headed Ibises, as as well as migratory species (normally November to February) such as the Gull-billed tern and Hodgson’s Bushchat.
Bird-watchers may also see the following; Red-necked Falcon, Greater Spotted, Steppe, Imperial, Short-toed Snake and White-tailed Eagles, Spotted Owlet, Brown Hawk-owl, Dusky Eagle-Owl, Eurasian Griffon-vulture, White-rumped and Black Vultures, Fulvous-breasted and Streak-throated Woodpeckers, Indian Courser, Blue-throated Barbet, Ashy Woodswallow, Black-hooded Oriole, White-throated Fantail, Siberian Rubythroat, Plain and Red-rumped Swallows, Dusky, Smoky and Thick-billed Warblers, Hume’s and Tickell’s Leaf-warblers, Brown and Grey-backed Shrikes, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, White-eyed Buzzard, Chestnut-tailed and Asian Pied Starlings, Indian Roller, Ashy-crowned Finch-lark, Bengal Bush Lark, Black-winged and Black-headed Cuckooshrikes, Black, Ashy, Bronzed and Spangled Drongos, Richard’s, Paddyfield, Olive-backed and Rosy Pipits, Crested, Little and Yellow-breasted Buntings, White-tailed Stonechat, Nepal Rufous-vented Prinia, Striated and Bristled Grassbirds, Chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, Indian nightjar, Bright-capped Cisticola, Sand Lark, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Orange-breasted and Yellow-footed Green Pigeons, Red-throated and Verditer Flycatchers, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Little Forktail and Abbott’s Babbler.
Koshi Tappu’s fauna include one of the last surviving populations of wild water buffalo, nilgai (aka blue bulls), Ganjetic dolphins (if they’re still surviving), Gharial and mugger crocodiles, Asian elephants, spotted deer, hog deer, wild boars, smooth-coated otter, Asiatic golden jackal and jungle cat.
When to go? The best times are in the most temperate months, December to March. Avoid the humidity and the bloodsucking insects and leeches of the monsoon (June to October) at all costs, wait till at least mid-October for the temperature to drop.
From Kathmandu to Koshi Tappu is about a 10 hour drive, but it is also possible to fly to Biratnagar, from where it is a 1 hour drive by road.
|Price||A 2 night bird-watching package tour staying in a safari camp costs US$230.
A 3 night tour costs US$ 290.
A 4 night tour costs US$ 350.
A 5 night tour costs US$ 400.All the above include buses (10 hours) to and from Kathmandu.
Flights via Biratnagar and transport (1 hour) to and from the camp site would be an extra US$ 340.
|Plus accommodation in Kathmandu.|
|Price includes||All airport pick-up/drop-offs, accommodation in a twin room in a comfortable hotel in Koshi Tappu, flights and transport to and from Kathmandu to Koshi Tappu.|
|Price excludes||Food and accommodation in Kathmandu, travel insurance, tips, drinks and personal expenses.|