Birds of India

Nainital & Pangot

Checklist I Trip Report

Nainital, Pangot and Sattal areas

330 kms northeast of New Delhi in the Kumaon Himalayas lies the Nainital Lake Valley (29° 22' 60N and 79° 27' 0E) and adjacent hill resorts. The Nainital area (1938m) lies in the central Himalayas and is a vantage point to view the great Nanda Devi massif. The Pangot area (1900m) lies 15 kilometers past Nainital and is on the road to Vinayak past Kilbury.

The area and its surrounding hills has a record of 200+ Himalayan bird species.

Mixed forests dominated by thick ban-oak, pine and rhododendron cover most of the area and surrounding hills. A large part of the landscape is characterized by dense vegetation. Numerous perennial creeks and streams crisscross the area. District Nainital (Kumaon) covers the tropical, subtropical, temperate, sub alpine and alpine zones. The terai & bhabhar belt presents the climate of the plains while the deep valleys with elevation upto 1000 Mts. play host to flora and fauna typical of hills as well as plains. The middle Himalayan ranges to 2000 Mts and the sub alpine region upto 2500 Mts complete the eco-zones.

Relatively high altitude west-central Himalayan birds are the feature of the Pangot area. The area boasts around 250 bird species. It is a justly popular destination for the elusive and endangered Cheer Pheasant, and you can throw in the Koklass on the same trip for good measure. Key bird species include lammergeier, rufous-bellied woodpecker, black-headed jay, laughingthrushes, babblers, tits, flycatchers, sunbirds and a great variety of woodpeckers.

How to reach: Pangot is a 7-8 hour journey from New Delhi by road and is an hour's (17 km) drive from Nainital. Many trains connect Nainital with New Delhi either through Kathgodam or Ramnagar.
Where to stay: The Jungle Lore Birding Lodge is recommended.
Temperature: Low 3oC (winter); High 27oC (Summer)
Best Time: October to April



Twin lakes of Sattal

Sattal is one of the best places to see middle-elevation western Himalayan bird species. The beautiful twin lakes and the surrounding rich forests provide a rich birding experience. Being a touris destination, there is a good choice of places to stay, including some that offer expert birding assistance.

How to reach: Sattal is a 7 hour road journey from New Delhi by road via Haldwani and Bhimtal and is 27kms from Nainital. The nearest train station is Kathgodam.

Where to stay:
Sat Tal Forest Resort, overlooking the lakes from a height of 1,000 feet.
Email:; Mobile:+91 8130 777 222
Sat Tal Forest Resort
Best Time: October to March


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