“This was a magical first experience bird watching”
 
Pawan Kumar Purohit
 
The rolling hills, endless stretches of green tea plantations, separated by meandering silvery mountain streams, high Sal forests, quiet clusters of meadows with a blue out-line of the magnificent Himalayan ranges on the horizon, endless sky... and you are in Dooars!

Lying in the Himalayan foothills, Dooars has an unmatched natural beauty- the wildlife-rich tropical forests, innumerable hill streams cutting across the green carpet of tea gardens and undulating plains, low hills rising up from the rivers. Rich species of birds like the Pelican, Cormorant, Heron, Egret, Stark, Ibis, different types of ducks and goose are to be found here. The other common bird species include different types of Myna, Stint, Snipe, River Turn, Pigeon, Swift, Hoopoe, Woodpecker, Swallow, Martin, Shrike and many other bird varieties.

Dooars is famous for its rich biodiversity and forests, the most notable of which are Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Chapramari, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and Lava forest village, Suntalekhola, Samsing, Bindu, Todey, Gazoldoba and Kalijhora and Phuntsholing.
 
 
Gorumara National Park
 
Located on the banks of rivers Murti and Raidak has vegetation of riverine grasslands interspersed with savannah woodlands. Much of this forest is moist deciduous and Sal (shorea robusta) is a common and valuable tree. Teak, Simul, Siris, Khair are also found here. The park is breathtaking with its rivers and mountain ranges.  Besides the one horned rhinoceros, the fauna of the park include Indian Elephant, Indian Bison, leopard, and different species of deer, turtles, pythons, monkeys etc. and more than 200 species of birds. 

The park is a birdwatcher’s delight with beautiful birds some of which are listed below. These birds can be watched from Suksukia, a bird watching point inside the park.
 
Birds at Gorumara
• Indian pied hornbill • Woodpeckers
• Sunbird • Fly catcher
• Minivet • Drongo
• Pheasants • Brahmany duck
 
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Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary
 
Situated at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas and on the bank of river Torsa in West Bengal is vast grassland with patches of riverine forests. It was declared a sanctuary in 1943 for protection of a great variety of flora and fauna. The principal among them is the Asiatic one-horned Rhino. The Jaldapara sanctuary is a mixture of a mosaic of woods, grassland, swamps and streams.

A paradise for bird watchers, Jaldapara is one of the very few places in India, where the priceless birds can be sighted.
 
Birds at Jaldapara
• Bengal Florican • Lesser Pied Hornbill
• Racket-tailed Drongo • Crested Eagle
• Pallas’s Fishing Eagle • Shikra
• Jungle Fowl • Peafowl
• Partridges  
 
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Buxa Tiger Reserve
 
Once famous for dolomite mining, but long discontinued, was declared a tiger reserve in 1983 and it won the status of a National park in 1992. Located on the Assam-Bhutan border, is the largest forest in North Bengal and has the second highest tiger population in West Bengal after Sunderbans.

The park has a rich population of elephants, Indian bisons, leopards, many species of deer and many smaller mammals, innumerable species of birds and reptiles. Buxa is rich in bio-diversity and has a rare collection of orchids and medicinal plants. But due to the inaccessible terrain, some parts of Buxa hills in the Sinchula range remain unexplored.

The Reserve has nearly 390 species of birds. The rivers of Raidak and Jayanti which flow through the forest and the Narathali Lake are home to migratory birds as well as endemic ones which abound the place.
 
Birds at Buxa Tiger Reserve
• Greater Pied Hornbill • Ibis Bill
• Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders • Red-starsv
• Wag-tails • Black necked Crane
• Migratory common Teal • Large Whistling Teal
• Minivets • White Eyed Poachared
 
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Chapramari
 
another forest is approximately 960 sq. kms and is made with the canopy of large trees like Teak, Sal, Bahera, Kawla, Dilenia, Mallotus, Chilaune, Lali etc. as well as 83 type of different recorded grass including the giant elephant grass, the guatemala etc. Some beautiful wild orchids ornament the forest and this jungle is home to 78 types of wild animals including Elephants, Leopards, Bison, Himalayan Langoor (monkeys), Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar, Leopard Cat, Fishing Cat, snakes like Indian Python and Cobra etc. The forest is always bustling with birds.
 
Birds at Chapramari
• Common Peafowl • Hornbill
• Myna • Bulbul
• Woodpecker • Eagle
• Dove • Green Pigeon
• Bee-eater • Roller
• Finch • Florican
• Black Partridge • Cranes
• Drongo  
 
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The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
 
The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary constitutes the forests of the lower catchment area of the Mahananda River, and covers an area of 158.04 sq.km. Situated at the western end of the elephant migration route, more than 150 elephants shelter here during the monsoon and winter seasons. Migratory water a birds are a common in winter. The other animals found are the rare Mountain Goat (Serow), Tigers, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Gaur (Indian bison), Leopards, Goral, Wild Boar, Golden Cat and Monkeys, Jungle Cats, Porcupines, Himalayan Civets, Monitor Lizards and Snakes, not to mention the beautiful birds found here. The Sanctuary offers some beautiful trekking routes from Sukna. Golaghat, Deorali and the Latpancher-Mana track are the favourites for trekking and bird watching
 
Birds at The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
• Hornbill • Racket Trail Drongo
• Parakeets • Hoopoe
• Oriental Pied Hornbill • Large Cuckoo shrike
• Peafowl • Lesser-necklaced Laughing thrush
 
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Lava
 
Located 85 Kms from Darjeeling via Kalimpong is a forest village with a Buddhist Monastery amidst a sea of evergreen forests at an elevation of 2100 m. Surrounded by very large tracts of protected forests ranging in elevation between 1600 and 2400 m, it includes the remote and uninhabited Neora National Park, and it is a bird watcher’s delight. Some of the most sought after and least known birds of India can be spotted here.
 
Birds at Lava
• Satyr Tragopan • Ashy Wood Pigeon
• Rufous throated and
  Spotted Wren Babblers
• Yellow throated    Fulvetta
• Red - faced Liocichla • Cutia
• Rust belied shortwing • Blue fronted Robin
• Long -billed Thrush  
 
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Suntalekhola
 
Suntalekhola is a stretch of Sub-montane forest near Neora Valley National Park. The altitude of the place ranges from 650 m to 950 m. With the backdrop of glistering green and blue sky with touch of everlasting beauty, Suntalekhola is a unique offbeat destination in the Himalayan foothills of Dooars. The trekking route from Samsing to Suntalekhola is a favourite spot for trekking enthusiasts as well as nature lovers. The sinuous flow of mountain streams adds the beauty of the place. Suntalekhola is a paradise for bird watchers - different species of birds can be spotted here.
 
Birds at Suntalekhola
• Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush • Red-vented Bulbul
• Ashy Wood Pigeon • Bronzed Drongo
• White-throated Fantail • White-throated Fantail
• Scarlet Minivet • Common Green Magpie.
• Long -billed Thrush • Grey Nightjar
• Orange-bellied Leafbird • Maroon Oriole
• Grey-chinned and Short-billed Minivets • Ashy Bulbul
• Slaty-backed Forktail • Sultan Tit
• Greater Racket-tailed Drongo • Pond Heron
• Yellow-vented, Golden-spectacled and   Chestnut-crowned Warblers • White-naped and
   Black-chinned Yuhinas
 
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Samsing
 
Samsing is the Range Office of the Neora Valley National Park, 3kms before Suntalekhola. The drive to Samsing is a pleasure trip along meandering emerald green river, the cool shades of orange orchards, sleepy hamlets, picturesque tea gardens and the lofty Himalayas. You can catch a glimpse of many exotic birds.
 
Birds at Samsing
• Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
• Thick-billed Warbler
• Green-billed Malkoha
 
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Bindu
 
Bindu is a small village on the border with Bhutan. It is 80kms from Siliguri and has developed based on a hydroelectric (hydel) power project. The River Jaldhaka, forming the India – Bhutan border, provides some good birds and can be viewed well from the barrage.
 
Birds at Bindu
• Eurasian Wryneck • Crested Kingfisher
• Brown Dipper • Hodgson’s Redstart
• Slaty-backed Forktail • Little Forktail
• Rufous-necked Laughingthrush
 
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Todey
 
Todey is another village, an hour away from Bindu and is situated at an altitude of 1300-1500m. It comprises of secondary forest cover and extensive cardamom cultivation. It is another spot ideal for bird watching.
 
Birds at Todey
• Large Hawk Cuckoo • Green Magpie
• Large Niltava • Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler
• Black-throated Sunbird
 
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Gazoldoba
 
Gazoldoba is an hour’s drive from Siliguri and is a large barrage on the River Teesta. It has an excellent wintering population of ducks, including all regular plus a few unusual species, and a few waders.
 
Birds at Gazoldoba
• Common Shelduck • Falcated Duck
• Garganey • Red-crested Pochard
• Ferruginous Pochard • Lesser Sand Plover
• Northern Lapwing • Osprey
• Western and Eastern    Marsh Harriers • Great Crested and
   Black-necked Grebes
• Peregrine • Hen Harrier
• Bar headed goose • Black Ibis
 
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Kalijhora
 
Kalijhora is a small area of forest on the northern edge of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, at an altitude of 300m. It is one hours drive from Bagdogra. It’s a good place to see several lowland forest species. The place is noted for its camp grounds, which provide enough open space to organize activities.
 
Birds at Kalijhora
• Oriental Pied Hornbill • White-rumped Vulture
• Greater Spotted Eagle • Steppe Eagle
• Black Stork • Grey-backed Shrike
• Maroon Oriole • Short-billed Minivet
• Brown Dipper • Orange-flanked Bush Robin
• White-rumped Shama • Hill Myna
• Yellow-vented Warbler • Striped Tit Babbler
• Crimson Sunbird • Streaked Spiderhunter