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Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals


Bhutan's national tree, Cupressus cypress torulosa Bhutan's national tree, Cupressus cypress torulosaPhoto: S.Rae CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Bhutan is one of the last biodiversity hotspots in the world, with coniferous and deciduous forests growing to 72% of the total land area. Furthermore, 60% of the country has been declared a protected area.

As far as forest areas are concerned, Bhutan can be divided into three major zones:

-the alpine zone, above 4000 meters, where there are no forests

-the temperate zone, from 2000 to 4000 meters, with coniferous and deciduous forests

-the subtropical zone, from 150 to 200 meters, with tropical and subtropical vegetation.

Bhutan counts various forest types including spruce forests, mixed coniferous forests, forests consisting of the himalayads (Pinus wallichiana), also called teardrops, Bhutan pine or Wallichs pine, mixed coniferous and deciduous forests, highland hardwood forests, lowland hardwood forests and tropical lowland forests. Bhutan's national tree is the cypress Cupressus torulosa or teardrop tree. Also special is the wild Himalayan cherry tree, Prunus cerasoides, which grows in forests at an altitude of 1200-2400 meters.

Bhutan has a particularly large number of flower and plant species;more than 5000 species, including more than 600 orchid species, 300 medicinal plants and 46 rhododendrons. 60% of the Bhutanese flora is found in Eastern Himalya. Common plants include magnolia, juniper bush, orchids in many shades, gentian, pepper tree and giant rhubarb.

Very special is the blue poppy (Meconopsis grandis), the national flower of Bhutan. This plant grows above the tree line (above 3500 meters) on a rocky soil and reaches a height of about 1 meter.

There are five types of poppy in Bhutan, in addition to the red, yellow and white poppy. True enthusiasts are looking for the large creamy-white Maconopsis superba, which is only found in the Haa Valley.

Blue poppy, the national flower of BhutanBlue poppy, the national flower of BhutanPhoto: Andrew Curtis CC 2.0 Generic no changes made


The takin is the national animal of BhutanThe takin is the national animal of BhutanPhoto:-Majestic- CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Many rare, endangered animal species live in the dense jungle and high mountains of Bhutan, including about 200 mammal species. Bhutan's oldest national park, Royal Manas, is home to many mammals typical of Bhutan and South East Asia in general, including water buffalo, gaur, himalayan forest gems, sambar (also called Aristotle deer or horse deer), muntjac, chital or chital, Asian elephant, blue sheep (also called bharal or naur) and the very rare Indian or armored rhinoceros.
Wolves, yaks, Himalayan marmot and musk deer live at higher altitudes. The high mountains are also home to the snow leopard, clouded leopard, Asiatic wild dog, red panda and black Himalayan bear. Other predators include the tiger, Asian golden cat, marble cat, manoel or pallas cat, Bengal tiger, sloth bear or bahloe and fishing cat or fish cat.
The Asiatic wild dog (also called red dog, alpine dog, dhole or adjak) has Bhutan recovered somewhat after a poisoning campaign in the 1970s and settled in Jigme Dorji National Park since the 1990s.

Asiatic wild dog reoccurs in BhutanAsiatic wild dog reoccurs in BhutanPhoto: Davidvraju CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Bhutan's national animal is the takin, a type of moose. Deer, antelopes and wild dogs also live in the forests. The warmer regions of southern Bhutan are home to a variety of monkey species, including the Assam macaque or mountain red monkey, golden langur, crested langur, and a Hullman or gray langur species. Small mammals include the Bengal rabbitn and the pygmy pig.

In 2013, following various scientific studies, it was determined that Bhutan at that time had 36 amphibians (34 frogs, 1 salamander, 1 amphibian) and 83 reptiles (57 snakes, 20 lizards, 1 crocodile, 5 turtles).
Snake species include Small Striped Snake, Common Worm Snake, Dark or Burmese Tiger Python, Indian Wolf Snake, Flying Snake, Spectacle Snake, White-lipped Bamboo Viper, Indochinese Rat Snake, Russell's Viper and King Cobra .
Lizards include agames (including the leech), geckos (including tjitjak, flat-tailed gecko), skinks, monitor lizards (including Bengal monitor lizard, yellow monitor lizard) and a slow worm species.

The white-lipped bamboo viper occurs in BhutanThe white-lipped bamboo viper occurs in BhutanPhoto: Rushen CC 2.0 Generic no changes made


No other animal on the Tibetan plateau and in Bhutan is more imaginative and exemplifies the unique fauna in the Himalayas than the yak or bromine, the 'camel of the snow'. Hardened, stubborn, playful and at first glance clumsy, but on rugged and steep terrain indispensable for the people of Bhutan. Actually, only the bulls are called 'yak', the cows are called 'dri'. The bulls are, as with all cattle, larger than the cows, wild yaks are larger than the domesticated ones. Three main types of yak can be distinguished: with a square or rectangular head, with a long nose and a small version. There are also white yaks.

The yak was domesticated thousands of years ago by the nomads all over Central Asia and used for plowing, as a pack animal and as a producer of meat, milk (butter and cheese ), grease (paint), fertilizer fuel, clothing and canvas.

Wild yaks are an endangered species, but the population in Tibet, where the only true wild yak lives, seems to be increasing again in recent years . Yaks are often crossed with other bovine species.

Yak Bull BhutanYak Bull BhutanPhoto: 4028mdk09 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Bhutan has more than 700 various bird species (and new ones are still being discovered), of which more than 400 species are resident birds. The Phobjikha Valley in Central Bhutan is the main wintering site (late October-mid February) for about 400 rare black-necked cranes. The birds come from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and always arrive between 23 and 26 October.

Also in danger of extinction is the imperial heron, one of the 50 rarest birds in the world. Also special is the white-banded sea eagle, which can be seen in Bhutan on its journey in the spring and in the autumn from Tibet to North India and vice versa. In the Thrumshingla National Park there are six very endangered bird species: Himalayan yearbird (kind of hornbill), red-throated tigger, red satyridae, beautiful nuthatch, Harpactes wardi (trogon species) and robin wood partridge. The globally endangered white-winged forest duck has recently also appeared in Bhutan.

The raven is the national bird of Bhutan and is incorporated in the crown of the Bhutanese king.

The raven crown of Bhutanese King Hariboneagle927The raven crown of Bhutanese King Hariboneagle927Photo: Hariboneagle927 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Cobalt niltava is found in BhutanCobalt niltava is found in BhutanPhoto: Ajit Hota CC 4.0 International no changes made

Shikra, bird of prey in BhutanShikra, bird of prey in BhutanPhoto: Jan Willem Steffelaar CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Ornate minnow, bird found in BhutanOrnate minnow, bird found in BhutanPhoto: JJ Harrison CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Nepal pheasant is found in BhutanNepal pheasant is found in BhutanPhoto: Tinyfroglet CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Long-billed piper occurs in BhutanLong-billed piper occurs in BhutanPhoto: Lip Kee Yap CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Amethyst Cuckoo is found in BhutanAmethyst Cuckoo is found in BhutanPhoto: Kesavamurthy N CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

White-collared thrush is found in BhutanWhite-collared thrush is found in BhutanPhoto: Francesco Veronesi CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Darjeeling woodpecker occurs in BhutanDarjeeling woodpecker occurs in BhutanPhoto: Nbu2012 CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Chestnut Choptesia, Bhutanese BirdChestnut Choptesia, Bhutanese BirdPhoto: John&Jemi Holmes CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Assam dwarf creeper, Bhutanese birdAssam dwarf creeper, Bhutanese birdPhoto: Umeshsrinivasan CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Black-crested Bulbul, bird from BhutanBlack-crested Bulbul, bird from BhutanPhoto: JMGarg CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Chinese giant kingfisher, bird from BhutanChinese giant kingfisher, bird from BhutanPhoto: Public domain

Red-backed honeybird, Bhutan birdRed-backed honeybird, Bhutan birdPhoto: Lip Kee Yap CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Green Most Malia, Bhutan BirdGreen Most Malia, Bhutan BirdPhoto: Francesco Veronesi CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Pied Hornbill, Bhutanese birdPied Hornbill, Bhutanese birdPhoto: John J. Mosesso in the public domain

Black-necked crane, rare in BhutanBlack-necked crane, rare in BhutanPhoto: Eric Savage CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Common iora, Bhutan birdCommon iora, Bhutan birdPhoto: Lip Kee Yap CC 2.0 Generic no changes made


BBC - Country Profiles

Brown, Lindsay / Bhutan
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

Dorje, Gyurme / Bhutan Handbook

Elmar Landeninformatie

Jordans, Bart / Bhutan : a trekker's guide

Pommaret, Fran├žoise / Bhutan : Himalayan mountain kingdom

Te gast in Bhutan
Informatie Verre Reizen

Last updated June 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info