Ladakh is a unique Himalayan ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir, which you can visit on Ladakh tours with Kashmir Tourism. The starkly beautiful landscape of Ladakh is often described as a moonscape because of its dramatic barren appearance. However even in this seemingly barren environment there are many beautiful and rare birds to be found. These include the rare and elusive Black Necked Crane. Revered in the mythology of Ladakh and protected by the Buddhist faith of the local Ladakhi people, these rare birds and many others find this Himalayan habitat a safe nesting ground. You can see many of these rare birds on tours of Ladakh with Kashmir Tourism.
Around 170 species of birds are found in Ladakh. Many of these birds are migratory in nature. They feed and nest in the higher reaches of the slopes in summer and migrate to the lower and warmer slopes in winter.
Some of the birds found in Ladakh include Himalayan Snowcocks, Himalayan partridges, and pheasants including the Monal Pheasant. These birds are mostly ground dwellers and are valued for their plumage and meat. The Mongolian Plover is a variety of ground nesting bird seen in Ladakh. It is known for its distraction display, which it uses to distract a predator such as a fox or human who approaches its nest. To protect its eggs or chicks the Plover pretends to be injured and holding a wing as if it were broken, attracts the attention of the threatening predator and leads it away, only to fly away at the last moment, after its sure its chicks are safe.
Predatory birds found in Ladakh include the Lammergeyer or Bearded Vulture. This fascinating bird drops bones that it has scavenged, onto bare rocks from a height, to break the bones and eat the marrow within. Griffon vultures, falcons and kites are also seen riding the thermal air currents over the Himalayas in Ladakh.
Rare Geese found in Ladakh include the Bar Headed Goose which breeds in large breeding colonies on the Tso Morari Lake.
The Black Necked Crane
Zoological name: Grus nigricollis
Range: The Black Necked Crane is a rare species of crane found in Ladakh Region of Jammu and Kashmir India. The Black Necked Crane is found in large numbers in Tibet and China.
Appearance and behavior: The Black Necked Crane is an elegant bird. Its body is covered with whitish-gray feathers. Its neck, face, feet and secondary feathers are black providing its striking appearance. Its long beak is gray-green. The Black Necked Cranes fly together in a characteristic V-shaped formation with each bird flapping its wings in a smooth and graceful movement.
The Black Necked Crane has a distinctive call like the sound of a trumpet, which can be heard from some distance away. The courtship dance of the Black Necked Crane is a beautiful sight. A pair of Cranes bonds for life and their courtship is characterized by unison calls, bowing, dancing, flapping of wings and exchanging of bits of grass and twigs. The Black Necked Crane builds its nest on the ground in its wetland habitat. The Black Necked Crane nests in Ladakh in summer and feeds on various roots, aquatic life and shoots in the marshes of Ladakh.
Population: There are between 5,600 and 6000 Black Necked Cranes worldwide. You could see the rare Black Necked Crane if you’re lucky, since it is an elusive bird, on Ladakh bird watching tours with Kashmir Tourism.