My City – Kathmandu Valley: The refuge of migratory birds

Autumn arrives during which the birds begin to fly to warm places for wintering. Birds choose suitable places for their comfortable wintering. The Kathmandu Valley is one of their choices in the central part of Nepal due to its geographic and ecological aspects.

More than 535 species of birds have been recorded in the Kathmandu Valley and its outskirts, but bird and avifauna habitat has declined rapidly over the past two decades and much of the avian fauna has disappeared from the area. valley. Three locations Chobhar-Bagmati-Taudaha, Nagdaha and Manohara dramatically provide resting opportunities and remain a habitat for migratory waders, waterfowl and residential birds in the Kathmandu Valley. These can be considered as bird sanctuaries, providing a favorable ecological environment, especially for migratory birds.


Chobhar, Baghmati and Taudaha Gorge are traditional and historical sites with legends and myths. According to one of them, when Manjushri or Krishna cut off the outlet of the Chobhar to drain the great lake as the Bagmati river, snakes and other aquatic creatures lost their habitat and should find the solution to settle them. Then Taudaha formed and they settled there.

It has ecological importance for birds, which are particularly migratory in post-summer in winter for shorebirds and ducks. Bagmati is for the shore and Taudaha for ducks and seagulls. Nowadays, Taudaha is being revised as developed and ruined the natural habitat of migratory and resident birds. Even if every year 70 to 150 migratory birds arrived in this lake and surrounded it. that is, gulls, ducks, terns and waders.

But it will decrease due to habitat loss. All natural structures and fields are full of risk.

Nagdaha is one of the largest natural lakes in the Kathmandu Valley, located in Lalitpur. It extends over 5 hectares. The natural beauty of this place is still not as derailed as Taudaha which loses its natural status due to the massive construction of man-made embellishments. It is of considerable ecological importance and a good habitat for resident and migratory birds and other wildlife.

Salinadi River – Manohara
Manichud and Shakharapur are resource areas of Salinadai and Kageshwari after joining Kageshwari at Salinadi becoming the Manohara River. Manohara means hypnotic angel character, half human half bird who dances and attracts the hearts of beings. Justifying its name, the river flows from the eastern part of the Kathmandu Valley attracting many varieties of ducks, waders, raptors, land and water, locals and migratory birds.

It is a small patch of land but has enough charm and beauty to attract different kinds of birds. There is a good combination of forest, crop field, agricultural field, and wetland. Spanning seven hectares, Manohara attracts various endangered, migratory and wetland birds.

The results of two seasons (last summer and the fall season) evoke the red-necked falcon, the Pacific golden plover, the Kentish plover, the common curlew, snipe, the Common rail, the northern harrier, the Amur Falcon, the imperial eagle of the East sheltered on the shore of Manohara. It has become an attractive place for bird lovers and also called “Mini Koshi Tappu” in Kathmandu Valley. During the Big Birds Year Weekend 2020, more than 56 species have been sighted in this small and cozy wetland. Later, other species were added.

But this year, the monsoon deluge has ruined the habitat of migratory and shorebirds, despite the fact that some strange birds have visited and continue to migrate and stay there temporarily.

The shore of the Manohara and the surrounding green areas are completely dry; it will take time to become an important ecological shelter for wandering, migratory or migratory birds. This year even for a short stay.

Despite the haphazard urbanization and destruction of the remaining habitat, bird watchers have seen interesting species like the black-tailed godwit, etc. Hoping to make this small area as healthy as before for birds and avifauna, that is to say the yellow-breasted sparrow whose species is in rapid decline across the world.

Ornithological importance
These places have an ecological enrichment for the avifauna. Many native fish species like barbs and snakeheads are abundant. It is also a habitat for several species of birds and a unique place for bird watching. Black Kite, Black Drongo, Baya Weaver, Indian Heron, Cattle Egret, Eastern Pied Robin, Common Myna, Jungle Myna, Spotted Owl, Large-billed Raven, House Crow, Pink-ringed Parakeet, Alexandrian parakeet, American kingfisher, white-throated kingfisher, red-vented Bulbul, swallows and doves, more than 100 species are the resident birds.

In summer as in winter, these places are a refuge for several migratory species. Some of the summer visitors are cuckoos, such as the Eurasian cuckoo, the Asiatic koel, the white-breasted moorhen, the moorhen, the whistling duck, the garganie, the painted snipe, and the Jacobin cuckoo. Likewise, winter visitors are raptors, mallard, chipeau duck, northern shoveler, northern pintail, sooty duck, common duck, red duck and great cormorant.

In recent weeks, a small prickly pear has been seen after about two centuries. Rivers, lakes and marshy shores and these kinds of natural features provide a very important ecological and ornithological environment for visitors and researchers.

To preserve these ecologically important bird sanctuaries, the local population must be aware of the importance and conservation of its natural environmental feature. Even the unit of local government, stakeholders, bird watchers, researchers and bird conservation in Nepal need to come together to manage concrete plans to conserve their habitat appropriately and effectively.

Jaya N Bhandari is a trek leader.

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