Birds of Himachal – A Photo Story of the Winged Beauties

Bird watching has become a quintessential ritual of our trips over time. Whenever we have the opportunity to spot some feathered friends, we eagerly venture out with our camera and spend hours outdoors looking for them. Basically, in a team of two, I have been the spotter (my keen eyesight being our secret weapon 😉 ) and Sush has been the one to capture these beauties through his camera lens. What began as a curious hobby has now spread its roots deeper and is gradually turning in to a heartfelt passion. Also, through moments of quiet observation, we’ve come to appreciate the remarkable intelligence and intricate behaviours exhibited by these winged creatures.

On our recent trip to Himachal Pradesh, as the Spring-Summer season embraced the region, we found ourselves amidst a flurry of avian activity. Early mornings and evenings, the air was filled with different bird calls and songs. Exploring the villages and adjacent woods close to both our accommodations, we were able to spot almost 50 different types of birds. Our patient stakeout in certain areas (of course from a safe distance so as to not disturb them) paid off well and we could capture some of these avian wonders in their most magnificent form.

Join us on this visual odyssey as we embark on a journey of wonder, where every fluttering wing and melodic trill serves as a reminder of the boundless beauty that surrounds us. 

Camera: Nikon D5300

Lens: Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens

Areas where birds were spotted: Kandbari village in Palampur, Naddi Village near McLeodganj and Gallu Village close to Dharamkot.

Indian Grey Hornbill

After Coorg (Karnataka), it was our 2nd time seeing this bird. And this time in a pair. They were mostly perched on a tall tree behind our accommodation in Kandhbari. 

Indian Grey Hornbill in Himachal

Great Barbet

Great Barbets were abundant in the area and we could hear their distinctive (and loud) call most of the time. Yet it took some effort to spot this bird as it blends really well with its surroundings.

Great Barbet located in Himachal

Blue-throated Barbet

Love how beautifully this bird is given all the eye-catching colors.

Blue-throated Barbet

Oriental White-eye

This bird was the most difficult to photograph, because it kept moving all the time, not even settling down for a few seconds in one place. So glad this shot came clearly.

Oriental White-eye spotted in Himachal village
Look at the eye, totally justifying its name

Yellow-billed Blue-Magpie

Had to patrol the area it was seen the previous day for 2-3 hours to have a few good shots. This pair seemed to build a nest and kept flying around collecting straws and bamboo leaves. 

Yellow-billed Blue-Magpie in Himachal

Plum-headed Parakeets

Plum-headed Parakeets
A pair with male on the right and female on the left

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Oriental Magpie-Robin in Himachal

White-capped Redstart

Mostly found in the areas close to water. Spotted this one at the riverside and also at the Waterfall.

White-capped Redstart in river area in Himachal

Verdite Flycatcher

This one literally won our hearts with both its beauty and intelligence. A pair of male and female were living a little away from our stay in Naddi. So Sush tried to wait close by to capture a few good shots. Now this little male put on quite a good show trying to keep his attention and the moment he got distracted, the female would fly into the nest. So we got some amazing shots of the male and a few for the female before bidding them goodbye. Such amazing creatures!

Male Verdite Flycatcher captured in Himachal village Naddi
The male be like: I see you 🙂
Female Verdite Flycatcher
The elusive female

This one was shot in Palampur when we were taking a morning stroll in the village looking for birds. Sush was not ready to capture it when it flew away, and hurriedly he clicked a few times and this was the result. So this became the famous “Accidental Shot” 🙂

Verdite Flycatcher in flight
My fav pic from this trip

Rufous Sibia

One of my favorite birds in this list. It graced us with its presence on the day we were leaving, just outside our room’s balcony in Naddi. Seems they ate the fruits of this particular plant.

Rufous Sibia spotted in Naddi, Himachal
Rufous Sibia

Grey-winged Blackbird

Grey-winged Blackbird Male
This is the male
Grey-winged Blackbird female
And this one is a female

Grey Bushchat

Grey Bushchat in Himachal
Same bird, different places

Streaked Laughingthrush

I wonder whether designers took inspiration from this one for making dresses of erstwhile Kings and Queens! Look at the 2ndpicture with its wings open, doesn’t it give the same impression?

Streaked Laughingthrush found in Himachal village
Streaked Laughingthrush with wings open

Blue Whistling-Thrush

We encountered this bird first in Munnar, Kerala a few years ago. It’s beautiful whistling created an impression of a human nearby, but we found none. Finally got to know it was actually a bird and I was impressed. Seems it is as elegant in its looks as it is with the whistling.

Blue Whistling-Thrush
Captured at 2 different places in different light conditions

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Black-throated Thrush

Black-throated Thrush Female

Oriental Turtle-Dove

Oriental Turtle-Dove


Spotted 2 types of Drongos in the area, Ashy Drongo and Hair-crested Drongo.

Ashy Drongo
Ashy Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo

Russet Sparrow

Distinctively identifiable with its vibrant color from the regular house sparrows

Russet Sparrow

Himalayan Bulbul

Himalayan Bulbul

Asian Koel

Asian Koel

Rufous-bellied Niltava

The most vibrant bird we spotted. Found this one while trekking through the forest to Gallu Waterfall. It was a lucky spotting since this one just flew in and sat on a tree branch not too far from the hiking path.

Rufous-bellied Niltava found in the forest in Himachal
Beautiful from every side

Black-headed Jay

Spotted this one flying around and sitting on the trees close by as soon as we entered Gallu village. But it was so evasive that it took us a while to capture it in the camera. Got delayed by half an hour for our trek waiting for it. But at the end, it was worth it.

Black-headed Jay spotted in Himachal
Black-headed Jay

That’s all. Hope you enjoyed this colorful photo story. If you are a bird enthusiast and spotted some birds that might interest us, do let us know in the comments.

For more such unique experiences in India, refer our other blogs here.

2 Responses

  1. Anna Ray says:

    Thank you for sharing this incredible photo story on the birds of Himachal. Your pictures beautifully capture the essence of these winged beauties. I’m inspired to visit Himachal and see these magnificent birds in their natural habitat someday!

  2. Rekha says:

    Lovely pics ! Tfs.

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