Nepal provides shelter to over 30 species of large wild animals and a total of approximately 180 species of mammals. Rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, Asian leopard, clouded leopard, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, sloth bear, gaur (a wild and ferocious buffalo), four-horned antelope, striped hyena, sambar deer, chital deer, hog deer, barking deer, palm civet, langur and rhesus macaque monkeys, pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, mugger crocodile, gharial, monitor lizards, pythons, cobras, vipers, tortoises and many other wild beasties roam Nepal’s jungles and mountains (or swim in its rivers). For a full list of mammals check here.
Nepal is also a haven for 862 species of birds (at the last count), representing approximately 8% of the world’s total, nearly as many bird species as the whole of North America. Bird types include 24 species of pheasant and partridge, 20 species of cuckoo, 6 species of lapwing, 24 species of owl, 10 species of kingfisher, 25 species of woodpecker, 50 species of eagles, hawks and kites, 10 species of bulbul… for a fuller list check here.
Bird-watchers’ delights include, amongst many; Gurney’s Pitta, Hodgson’s Bushchat, Finn’s Weaver, Bengal Florican, White-rumped Vulture, Sarus Crane, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Nepal Rufous-vented Prinia and Terai Jerdon’s Babbler.
Among the 14 national parks and reserves in Nepal, Chitwan National Park, Bardiya National Park, Ghodaghodi Tal and Koshi Tappu Widlife Reserve provide excellent opportunities to see Asian wildlife and offer some of the most exciting safari destinations in the world. You can experience the jungle on elephant back safari, on foot safari or in a four-wheel drive vehicle safari. You can also do canoe rides on the jungle rivers, take nature walks, go out on bird-watching excursions and on tours to local villages. There are comfortable lodges and/or hotels close to these parks.
For bird-watchers “Birds of Nepal” by Fleming, Fleming and Bangdel or “Field Guide to the Birds” of Nepal by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp are probably the best field guides to carry. The “Birds of Nepal” is probably the best comprehensive guide. Birdlifenepal.org is a good website.