Sattal - 2023

After the relatively disappointing Jim Corbett National Park, we continued to Sat Tal (or Sattal). Sattal is named from several lakes in the area (Hindi for “seven lakes”) and is situated in the Lower Himalayan Range near Bhimtal, a town of the Nainital district in Uttarakhand, India. The altitude of the Sattal Lake is 1370 meters. Sattal holds about 250 resident and migratory bird species.

Sattal, unique for its biodiversity and unspoiled ecosystem, is a well-known birding hotspot a short drive from Bhimtal town. I stayed at a hotel overlooking the Bhimtal lake, and from there we visited Sattal but also other areas in the region. Two of the mornings in Sattal we visited bird hides. Except for waterfowls, bird photography was surprisingly difficult in India. Small birds actively feeding in the dense brush rarely sit still for more than a few seconds, and I missed a lot of photos this way (I think I might have missed about 50% of the seen birds!). So, the bird hides gave an excellent chance to get photos of some of the more abundant species. In retrospect, Sattal was probably one of the best birding locations I visited during my trip.

Near Bhimtal we not only visited the Sattal area, but also other nearby hotspots. A river stretch along the Bhatalia road to the east of Bhimtal was search several times for fishing owls (to no avail). For simplicity, I don't name the different areas on this page, but include all birds seen under the Sattal umbrella.



Rufous-throated Partridge (Arborophila rufogularis)

Rufous-throated Partridge


Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus)

Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos) - female


Kalij Pheasant - male

Crested Kingfisher (Megaceryle lugubris)


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Grey-headed Woodpecker / Gråspett (Picus canus)


Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus)

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha)


Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus)

Brown-fronted Woodpecker (Dendrocoptes auriceps)


Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos macei)

Oriental Turtle-dove (Streptopelia orientalis)


Incredible Sattal!

Red-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha)


Grey Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)

Black-headed Jay (Garrulus lanceolatus)


Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos japonensis)

Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)


Plum-headed Parakeet. Male feeding the female

Slaty-headed Parakeet (Psittacula himalayana)


Slaty-headed Parakeet at the nest

Spotted Forktail (Enicurus maculatus)


Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus)

Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii)



Banded Bay Cuckoo


Roadside birding, Sattal


Sattal lake

Great Barbet (Psilopogon virens)


Blue-throated Barbet (Psilopogon asiaticus)

Punk birds! Striated Laughingthrush (Grammatoptila striatus)


Striated Laughingthrush

White-throated Laughingthrush (Pterorhinus albogularis)


White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus)

Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush (Ianthocincla rufogularis)


Streaked Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron lineatum)

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler (Erythrogenys erythrogenys)


Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler

Dark-sided Thrush (Zoothera marginata)


Dark-sided Thrush. This is a rare species

Grey-winged Blackbird (Turdus boulboul) - female


Grey-winged Blackbird - male

Blue whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)


Black-throated Thrush (Turdus atrogularis)

Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis)


Rufous Sibia (Heterophasia capistrata)

Grey Bush Chat (Saxicola ferreus) - female


Grey Bush Chat - male

White-tailed Nuthatch (Sitta himalayensis)


White-tailed Nuthatch

Black-throated Bushtit (Aegithalos concinnus)


Green-backed Tit (Parus monticolus)

Himalayan Black-lored Tit (Machlolophus xanthogenys)


White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)

Himalayan Prinia (Prinia crinigera)


Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) - female

Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata)


Black-throated Sunbird

Red-billed Leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea)


Blue-winged Minla (Actinodura cyanouroptera)

Grey-hooded Warbler (Phylloscopus xanthoschistos)


Lemon-rumped Warbler (Phylloscopus chloronotus)

Himalayan Rubythroat (Calliope pectoralis)


Himalayan Rubythroat

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)


Sattal landscape

Slaty-blue Flycatcher (Ficedula tricolor)


Slaty-blue Flycatcher

Blue-fronted Redstart (Phoenicurus frontalis)


Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica)

White-capped Redstart (Phoenicurus leucocephalus)


Plumbeous Water Redstart (Phoenicurus fuliginosus)

Indian White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)


Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii)

Black-chinned Babbler (Cyanoderma pyrrhops)


Black-chinned Babbler

Russet sparrow (Passer cinnamomeus)


Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata)

Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)


Mountain Bulbul (Ixos mcclellandii)

Ashy Bulbul (Hemixos flavala)


Ashy Bulbul

Himalayan Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)


Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus)

Rufous-bellied Niltava (Niltava sundara)


Small Niltava (Niltava macgrigoriae)

Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus) - male


Long-tailed Minivet - female

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)


Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides)

Yellow-throated Marten (Martes flavigula)


Sambar (Rusa unicolor)

Common Peacock (Papilio bianor)


Glassy Tiger (Parantica aglea), the only tiger i saw! :)

Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia)


Monkey in Sattal