Latpanchar- A birder Paradise 

18th Jan 2019
Photo of Latpanchar- A birder Paradise  1/5 by Praveen Kumar
View of Latpanchar Village

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas between Teesta and Mahananda rivers. Latpanchar is a small beautiful village at an altitude of 4500ft forming part of the Sanctuary . Latpanchar has gained prominence among birder for sighting of Rufous-necked Hornbill in this region. As per ebird data Latpanchar has sightings of 286 bird species out of 815 species sighted in West Bengal. If you want to enjoy peaceful offbeat destination then goto Latpanchar.

Photo of Latpanchar- A birder Paradise  2/5 by Praveen Kumar
Rufous-necked Hornbill (female)

How to reach Latpanchar

Bagdora Airport - 49 Kms - 2hr or more as road condition is bad from Khalijora road. Rs 2500-3000 is charged by Taxi to take you to Latpanchar

NJP Railway Station - 45 Kms - 2hr or more as road condition is bad from Khalijora road. Rs 2500-3000 is charged by Taxi to take you to Latpanchar

Best Time to visit Latpanchar

October to May is the best time to visit Latpanchar.

Places to Stay

Latpanchar has many decent homestays to offer we stayed at Padam Gurung's Hornbill’s Nest Homestay which charges Rs 900 per person inclusive of all meals. He has two good birding Guides Parag Gurung and Ujwal Rai. They charge Rs 800 per day for Birding.

Day 1

I started my journey from Binnaguri at 0600 Am for NJP railway station to pick up my birding friends from Kolkata who were coming by Darjeeling Mail to NJP on 18th Jan 19 morning. We started our journey from NJP railway station to Latpanchar on 18 Jan 19. Earlier we had plans to head to Rongtong for Birding but we changed the plans. We had booked our stay at Padam Gurung's Hornbill’s Nest Homestay. We reached around 1200hr at Khalijhora Forest and started our uphill drive for Latpanchar. As we started gaining elevation so did the birds chirping activity increased. We were eagerly waiting to see and click some avian beauties. We got few birds on our way to Latpanchar. We reached the Homestay kept our luggages, had lunch and again headed to Nursery Area for Birding. As luck favored us we were able to sight Red-headed Trogon on our first day of Birding.

Photo of Latpanchar- A birder Paradise  3/5 by Praveen Kumar
Red-headed Trogon

Day 2

We started our day early morning at 0600Am and headed to Cinchona plantations. We did birding around the forest rest house and a trail inside the forest. You need to buy entry passes for rs 50 to enter the trail. we could see elephant dumping on the trail . Yes elephants do climb such great altitude and come to Latpanchar area for feeding on wild banana plants and other vegetation. Other part of the day we went in search of the rufous-necked hornbill to the fruiting trees. The trail down the jungle is very tiring and risky. But the sight of those beautiful hornbills will make you forgot all the treacherous route which you took.

Photo of Latpanchar- A birder Paradise  4/5 by Praveen Kumar
View of Sunrise from Homestay
Photo of Latpanchar- A birder Paradise  5/5 by Praveen Kumar
Sapphire Flycatcher (Male) in its non breeding plumage

In India, the hornbill has been recorded from the following protected areas

Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh.

Manas National Park, Assam.

Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal.

Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh.

Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh.

Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh.

Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh.

The checklist for day one of Birding

16 species

Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides) 1

Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus) 2

Blue-throated Barbet (Psilopogon asiaticus) 2

Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus) 1

Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus) 4

Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii) 1

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) 3

Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus) 2

Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus) 4

Common Green-Magpie (Cissa chinensis) 1

Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) 4

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) 5

Large Niltava (Niltava grandis) 1

Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus) 2

Gray Bushchat (Saxicola ferreus) 1

Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) 10

View this checklist online at

The checklist for day two of Birding

42 species

Ashy Wood-Pigeon (Columba pulchricollis) 1

Pin-tailed Pigeon (Treron apicauda) 6

Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis) 10

Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis) 5 We saw them feeding on fruit trees

Great Barbet (Psilopogon virens) 2

Blue-throated Barbet (Psilopogon asiaticus) 4

Gray-capped Woodpecker (Yungipicus canicapillus) 1

Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus) 1

Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus) 4

Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) 1

Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) 4

Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) 2

Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus) 2

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer) 1

Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus) 2

Gray Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae) 2

Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) 1

Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea) 2

Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus) 1

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch (Sitta cinnamoventris) 4

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) 1

Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) 4

Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) 6

Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus) 1

Black-chinned Yuhina (Yuhina nigrimenta) 8

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) 8

Nepal Fulvetta (Alcippe nipalensis) 8

Blue-winged Minla (Actinodura cyanouroptera) 2

Blue Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus) 6

Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus) 1

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (Ficedula strophiata) 2

Sapphire Flycatcher (Ficedula sapphira) 4 Saw three of them and heard call of one

Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni) 1

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) 1

Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis) 1

Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata) 1

Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis) 2

Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna) 1

Gray Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) 1

Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni) 2

Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus) 1

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) 4

View this checklist online at