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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

Red-breasted WheateargrandalaRed-bellied Rock Thrush
azure niltavaGray WhinchatRed-throated Nightingale
flycatchergreybackforktailredthroat niltava
bamboo flycatcherHimalayan BluetailSapphire Flycatcher
Mountain Rock ThrushHimalayan RedtailShama Thrush
BluethroatHodgson's WhinchatMirror Redtail
Blue ShortwingHodgson's FlycatcherTaiga Flycatcher
Blue Rock ThrushIndian WhinchatField Redtail
blue-throated niltavaIndian bluetailwater redstart
blue-headed redstartizabelle wheatearwhitefly flycatcherr
Blue-tailedKashmir FlycatcherWhite-browed Flycatcher
Blue-fronted Callenesmall short-wingedwhite-bellied redstart
Blyth's blue tailsmall niltavawhite-throated redstart
Spotted Wheatearsmall fork tailWhite-throated Flycatcher
Brooks' niltavacobalt niltava (photo)white-crowned redtail
brown flycatcherslate blue flycatcherwhite-crowned forktail
Chinese Flute ThrushOrange NightingaleWhite-tailed Callene
Dayal ThrushRed-breasted RedtailBlack-breasted Nightingale
Dwarf NiltavaRust-bellied ShortwingBlack-breasted Wheatear
magpie flycatcherrusty flycatcherblack redstart
spotted forktailrust spot flycatcherblack-backed fork tail
soot fly trap
Gould's short wingred-bellied niltava

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

Asian crested eaglehawk eaglered-bellied eagle
Asian honey buzzardhimalayan or snow vultureshikra (photo)
Mongrel EagleHimalayan BuzzardSnake Eagle
Bengal VultureIndian Eared Vulturesperwer
besrasperwerIndian snake eaglegolden eagle
hen harrierIndian black eaglesteppe eagle
imperial or eastern eaglewhite-banded sea eagle
Brahminy kitelittle river eaglebald eagle
buzzardcrested goshawkblack kite
dwarf eaglebearded vulture
gray kiteMongolian buzzard

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

BhutanlijstergaaiJapanese nightingalered-necked thrush
blue-winged starfishjungle babblerred-backed minla
blue-winged minlalong-tailed sibiared-tailed minla
spotted thrushNepalese nontimaliaWhite-bellied Thrush
Chest-Strap-ThrowerNepalese Stripe WingWhite-Bellied Thrush
brown-throated nontimaliaornate minnow (photo)white-throated thrush
striped thrushred-bellied thrushWhite-crested Thrush
Gold-winged Thrush-wingRed-chinned Thrush-wingSilver-eared Malia
Gray-headed Striped Wingred-faced thrushblack-headed sibia
himalayacutiared-masked timiliablack-faced thrush

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

Baer's white-eyed duckgadwallwigeon
shelduckred-crested duckpochard
bronze-headed ducktufted duckmallard
casarca or sooty gooseMandarin DuckTeal
Greylag GoosePintailWhite-Eyed Duck
Great merganserRed or Yellow Whistling DuckWhite-winged Wood Duck
Indian or Stripe-headed GooseSiberian or Baikal tealsummer teal
Indian spotted duckslo beend
blue peacockquailsnow partridge
blood pheasantnepal pheasant (photo)mirror peacock
Blyth's blackbirdRed Junglefowl or Banana FowlTibetan Mountain Fowl
Common Wood PartridgeRed Satyr Fowl or SatyrtragopanTibetan Partridge
Himalayan Glazed PheasantRobin Wood PartridgeBlack Francolin
Japanese quailred-throated wood partridge

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

Mountain Red SparrowGray-headed Goldfinchred-headed bullfinch
Blanfords rosefinchhimalaya greenfinchrosefinch
Brandt's Mountain FinchHimalayan HookbillScarlet Duckbill
Brown BullfinchHimalayan Red SparrowMirrored Sparrow
Red SparrowHimalayan Red SparrowTibetan Canary
Burton's bullfinchHodgson's mountain finchfinch
dark redfinchkeepspotted winged beak
yellow-backed beakcrossbilleyebrow red sparrow
gold-crowned finchgiant red sparrow
Gray WagtailIndian Pied WagtailTree Pipit
Yellow WagtailOriental PipitSiberian Pipit
Eastern Yellow WagtailLong-billed Pipit (photo)Red-throated Pipit
Lemon WagtailMongolian PipitPacific Pipit
Great Yellow Wagtaildune pipit
white wagtailvine pipit

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

rock pigeonred dovethick-billed puffin
cliff dovepearl-necked dovepointed-tailed puffin
Snow DovePalm DoveWedge-tailed Puffin
Hodgson's Pigeonstriped cuckoo pigeongreen imperial pigeon
Nepal pigeonemerald or green-winged pigeonIndian Eurasian pigeon
Oriental DoveOrange-breasted Puffin
Collared DoveIndo-Chinese puffin
amethyst cuckoo (photo)large green-billed malkohacuckoo
Bengal spur cuckoolarge green-billed malkohaShort-winged Cuckoo
Chinese Spur CuckooHimalayan CuckooPiet-van-Vliet or Common Cuckoo
Coromandel CuckooHodgson's Sparrow CuckooRight-Tailed Drongo Cuckoo
Striped Piet-van-VlietIndian Koëlfork-tailed drongo cuckoo
spotted bronze cuckooIndian spotted cuckoo
gray-bellied Piet-van-Vlietlittle cuckoo

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

leaf kingGray-throated Woods WarblerOrpheus Woods Warbler
Blyth's Woods WarblerGray-headed Woods WarblerSooty Woods Warbler
brown forest warblergray-cheeked forest warblerTicehurst's golden-eyed forest warbler
Burke's golden-eyed forest warriorChiffchaff
Thick-billed FitisHimalayan Woods WarblerSilver Eyed Woods Warbler
gold band forest warblerHumes leaf king
gray fitischestnut-headed forest warbler
brown thrushTenimberg Gold Thrush
Dama ThrushChestnut ThrushTibetan Blackbird
gray-winged blackbirdKessler's thrushTickells thrush
green cochoalong-tailed thrushpale thrush
long-billed thrushpurple cochoawhite-collared thrush (photo)
himalayan thrushred-throated thrushblack-throated thrush

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

Asiatic woodpeckergray-headed woodpeckerlesser scaly-chested woodpecker
bleached-headed bamboo woodpeckergreat yellow-crested woodpeckerpowder woodpecker
brown-eared woodpeckergreat gold-backed woodpeckerrobin woodpecker
darjeelings woodpecker (photo)himalayan woodpeckerred-eared woodpecker
wryneckhimalayan gold-backed woodpeckerred-eared woodpecker
gray-crested woodpeckerlesser yellow-crested woodpeckerpale-breasted woodpecker
bosoehoeCollared Scops OwlOriental Scops Owl
Tawny OwlSpotted Scops OwlLong-eared Owl
Brahminy Owlhimalayan owlLong-legged Owl
Brown Tawny OwljungledwerguilShort-eared Owl
collared scops owllittle himalayan owlSouth Asian pitfall

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

mountain sniperuffredshank
buckcurved sandpipersnipe
green-legged riderspiny-tailed snipe
woodcockTemmink's sandpiper
bamboo forest warblergolden crown tesiachestnut koptesia (photo)
mountain-cutting birdg RijsbiktesiaRed-faced Shrub Warbler
Mountain Shrub WarblerGreen Shrub WarblerRed-faced Bush Warbler
broad-billed bush warblerHumes shrub warbler
The Black-billed CreeperHarrington's Tree TimaliaSickle-Creeper
Banded Parrot TimaliaRed-throated Creeping TimaliaSpotted-Breasted Creeper
Yellow-throated TimaliaRed-throated Tufted TigersWestern Wedge-billed Timalia
Golden Tree TimaliaRed-headed Tree TimaliaWhite-browed Creeper

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

alpine choughgray-breasted woodcatchernutcracker
red-billed crowgreen kittaraven
black-billed crowhouse crowred-throated treecatcher
magpieMasked WoodcatcherJay
Yellow-billed Kitta
brown big-billed titgray-billed big-billed titflea tail
Yellow-headed Big-billed TitBig-billed TitWhite-browed Nontimalia
Golden NontimaliaJerdons timaliaWhite-throated Beaked Tit
Gray-headed Billed TitRed-headed Billed Tit
witkoptimaliaoliveflanknontimaliaassam dwarf creeper (photo)
yellow-throated nontimaliaspotted jungletimaliared-tailed mouse malia
red-winged nontimaliawhite-bellied jungletimaliaIndian grass warbler
red-throated nontimaliastripe chest creepy tigers

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

mountain priniaGray PriniaWhite Welt Prinia
Yellow Belly PriniaJungle PriniaBlack-throated Prinia
gray-breasted prinialong-tailed cutterbird
gray-headed priniarusty prinia
Great Blue HeronLittle EgretReddish Little Bittern
Great EgretCattle EgretMiddle or Yellow-billed Silver Egret
Indi rale heronquack
emperor heronmangroveron
Mountain Great TitGray Crested TitSultan Tit
Woodland WarblerGray Great TitFire Crown or Red-headed Tit
Yellow-faced TitRed-bellied TitBlack Tit
ash gray bulbulhimalayan black bulbulwhite-throated bulbul
striped bulbulred-bellied bulbulwhite-faced bulbul
green-winged bulbulred-bellied bulbulblack crested bulbul (photo)

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

yellow-backed honey-suckergreen-tailed honey suckerred-eared honey sucker
banded spider hunterlittle spider hunterflea-tailed honey sucker
Gould's honey extractorpurple honey extractorblack-throated honey extractor
magpie starlinggreat maniaoevermania
gray-headed starlingjunglemaniastarling
big beomarbled starlingweeping mania
Arabian House MartinIndian Sand MartinRed-rumped Swallow
pale sand martinNepalese house martinrock martin
barn swallowsand martin
small red lead birdlong-tailed red lead birdlarge caterpillar bird
gray-throated red-throated redheadscarlet red-lead birdred redhead
short-billed redhead birdpink red lead bird
Blyth's kingfisherkingfishersmyrna kingfisher
pied kingfisherjungledwarf kingfisherblack-capped kingfisher
Chinese giant kingfisher (photo)ruddy kingfisher

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

alpine swiftlarge house swiftsteKel-tailed Swift
Asian Palm SwiftHimalayan SwiftBlack-backed Swift
Blyth's SwiftSiberian Swift
Indian lapwinglapwingKentish Plover
Indian Spur LapwingLittle Plover
Mongolian plover
bronze drongoking drongoflag drongo
gray drongocrow-billed drongo
hair-crested drongospateldrongo
bearded meestimaliaIndian spectacled birdspotted meestimalia
yellow-legged mosti maliaRed-bellied Meestimalia
Striped MostimaliaRed-headed Mostimalia
big-billed honeybirdgreen-gray honeybirdblack-yellow honeybird
Yellow-billed honeybirdIndian honeybird
spotted honeybirdredback honeybird (photo)

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

brown spotted crakegray-headed crimsontwo-colored purple grouse
banded or bandralboatheadwhite-breasted waterfowl
blue-throated barbetbarred barbetGreat Barbet
Blue-eared BarbetGolden-throated BarbetCoppersmith
slender-billed gullgiant black-headed gull
Alexander ParakeetGray-headed ParakeetCollared Parakeet
blossom-headed parakeetGreat Alexander Parakeet
Blyth's shrike timaliagreen most malia (photo)black-eared spectacled malia
green spectacled maliablack-headed shrike timalia
Bengal LarkLittle SkylarkTibetan Lark
Short-toed Lark
Alpine hedge sparrowstriped hedge sparrowrobin hedge sparrow
brown hedge sparrowhimalayan hedge sparrow

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

pied hornbill (photo)common yearbirdhimalayan yearbird
double-horned hornbill
blueberry beeentererbrown-headed bee-eaterlittle green bee-eater
blue shrikeHimalayan ShrikeLong-tailed Shrike
brown-backed shrike
thin-billed orioleIndian blood-orioleblack-headed oriole
Indian Oriole
Cinnamon Belly NuthatchSplendid Nuthatchwhite-tailed nuthatch
feathered-tailed nuthatch
Reed WarblerSmall MockingbirdLong Reed Warbler
Indian Reed Warbler
brown shrub warblerspotted shrub warblerMandell's shrub warbler
striped grassbird

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

dwarf buntingmask buntingstone orotolan
crested bunting
killersgrebeblack-necked grebe
CormorantIndian CormorantIndian Cormorant
Damselfly CraneCraneBlack Necked Crane (photo)
gray nightjarHorsfields nightjarsavannah nightjar
House SparrowRing SparrowRed-headed Sparrow
baya weaverFinns baya weaver
Bishop or Woolneck StorkBlack Stork
AvocetBlack-winged Avocet

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

Chinese buttonquailblack-throated quail
redhead trogonWards trogon
dollar birdIndian roller
parrot broadbillbrow broadbill
blue-necked pittahooded or black-headed pitta
Great-legged Shrikemotley dwarf thriller
blackneck monarchIndian paradise monarch
yellow-bellied fan tailgray-headed flycatcher
Brown-breasted Long-tailed TitRed-crowned Long-tailed Tit
brown-throated creeperHodgson's tree creeperNepalese tree creeper
water starlingblack water starling
gold forehead leafbirdorange bellied leaf bird
nutmegsSpit-tailed Bronzed Man
OspreyCrowned SwiftWhite-throated Fan Tail
Indian stone curlewhoprock creeper
ibissnavelhimalayan honeyguideWren
bronze-winged jacanagray woodbirdgoldencrest
lesser fork-tailed plovercommon iora (photo)blackbird
Indian bluebackelachura

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, Françoise / Bhutan : Himalayan mountain kingdom

Te gast in Bhutan
Informatie Verre Reizen

Last updated May 2023
Copyright: Team The World of Info