The Birds of Everest
See the Tibetan Snowcock as you trek towards Everest Base Camp – photo by mtnexplorer
When heading up to Everest Base Camp, you’ll pass through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world – and, as you trek through this sublime landscape, you may well spot a variety of the birds that are common to this area of the Himalaya. Many travellers find the birds of the Himalaya particularly inspiring: more than just photography subjects, they are figures the trekker can identify with - strong, solitary and enjoying a unique perspective on the world.
On the ground, you will almost certainly pass some Tibetan Snowcocks on your ascent. These birds can be hard to see, thanks to their perfectly camouflaged colouration, but their cackle-like call often gives them away. They can sometimes be found in villages and around tea houses on the way to Everest Base Camp, and can be as curious about humans as we are about them. Other birds you might see on the ground include the Himalayan Blood Pheasant and the Danfe Pheasant, a bird of striking beauty with peacock-like colours. They are not a common sight, but keep an eye out for them on the early stages of your trek.
In the sky, you can see ravens and Yellow-billed Choughs, hardy enough to survive at high altitudes where food often needs to be scavenged. At certain times you can see Bar-Headed Geese, whose migration routes take them over the Himalaya. Most magnificent, though, are the Lammergeyer or Bearded Vulture, and the Himalayan Griffon (also a kind of vulture), which can be seen soaring high above. These birds’ flight may look effortless, but it is their resilience that allows them to live at such heights – something all Everest Base Camp trekkers can take inspiration from!