Birding in Bhutan

Climate Zones

Bhutan’s varied altitude and topography produce a wide range of climatic conditions. The dominant factor influencing climate is the monsoon air stream that blows north from the Bay of Bengal. This brings heavy rainfall to the foothills and to exposed slopes and valleys further north, especially from June to September. As explained below, Bhutan can be divided into three climatic zones: (1) subtropical; (2) mid-Montana; and (3) Alpine.

The subtropical zone lies at an altitude of about 1,800 m (5,900 ft.), between the foothills along the Indo-Bhutan border and the mid-Montana ranges. This zone is warm in winter, as it is hot and very humid with heavy rainfall in summer. It is characterized by steep slopes and dense broadleaf forests.

The mid-Montana zone covers the area between 1,800 m (5,900 ft.) and 3,500 m (11,480 ft.). The climate is more temperate, with cool or cold winters, hot summers, and more moderate rains. There are coniferous forests on drier slopes and in the valleys. Several main valleys are very dry for most of the year, except during the monsoon season.

The Alpine zone lies above 3,500 m (11,480 ft.). Here, summers are short and cool, and winters are cold with significant snowfall. This region has tundra vegetation, Alpine meadows; snow-covered peaks, and glaciers.

Off to Bhutan’s guides are familiar with all of Bhutan’s climate zones and their native bird species. Allow us to recommend a birding itinerary or work with us to plan an itinerary tailored to your interests.

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