Bumdeling – Bhutan Winter residence of Black-necked Cranes


I have always considered Trashiyangtse as another land of Black necked Cranes in Bhutan. Bumdeling, a small well-terraced valley under this Dzongkhag is one of the Bhutan’s maximum recipients of the Black necked Cranes during winter.

Tourists visit Bumdeling to see Black necked crane Bhutan and learn Black Necked Crane Facts. Some of them visit out of curiosity to know Black Necked Crane Population of Bhutan.

Black Necked Cranes in Bhutan

However, when I visited Trashiyangtse on an official purpose in 2014, it was sometimes in June, which of course was during summer month. So I couldn’t see even a trace of Black-necked cranes. I shouldn’t have expected it either.

Bhutan Wildlife Sanctuary of Bumdeling

Black-necked Cranes come to their winter residences sometimes during the start of autumn season. In Bhutan, winter residences of these birds are Phobjikha under Wangduephodrang and Bumdeling under Trashiyangtse. And in Bhutan, autumn season starts from September. Therefore, Bumdeling is one the wildlife sanctuaries in Bhutan.

Habitat maps of Black-necked cranes in Bhutan

But this time, I could make there when Black-necked Cranes have come to their winter residences and have not yet migrated to their summer residences in Tibetan Plateaus. It was on 14th December, 2016.

Bhutan Black Necked Crane Migration

My eagerness to visit Bumdeling and see those rare birds with my naked eyes was amplified by morning winter beauty of Trashiyangtse town and its vicinity.

It was then I went out to take few shots. It was freezing cold yet nothing stopped me from getting out of warm mattresses. I just wanted few shots of Trashiyangtse town.

Trashiyangtse Photos

Home of Black Necked Crane in Bhutan

The following day, I have requested one of my friends there to accompany us and be our guide to Bumdeling. Three of us, left Trashiyangtse town after breakfast. It was bit windy and cold. Yet eagerness to see those birds kept me warm all along.

Bumdeling is a long narrow and well-terraced valley along the bank of Kholong Chhu. They must be feeding on remains of roots, tubers and other small insects.

Bumdeling, winter habitat of black-necked cranes in Eastern Bhutan

This place is bit marshy and one can see their foods quite in abundant. We can see green shoots of paddy plants among the terraces.

The special characteristics of Black-necked Cranes

I have heard and read about it. However, this time, the characteristics of Black-necked cranes I draw here will be based on my own personal observation.

  • They are huge birds. They cannot land or fly directly just like a plane.
  • They are shy birds. They walk or fly away when you go closer to them.
  • They make sharp and short creaking sounds one after another.

Black-necked cranes in Bhutan

I have read that black-necked cranes maintain long bonding relationship with their partners. Male cranes will fight if other males come to mingle with the one each has chosen.

Black-necked cranes are shy birdsTherefore, it is said that black-necked cranes will be together in group and in pair within the main group. I couldn’t see those characters.

You also want to visit Bumdeling to see Cranes?

It was sad on my part that I couldn’t stay bit longer – pressing office works didn’t allow me. I couldn’t see their dances, which I have heard so many times from my father and village elders.

Black-necked crane, Thrung thrung karmo as Bhutanese call are highly loved birds

If you want to visit Bumdeling to see Black-necked Cranes, try to stay in the vicinity. You maybe able to observe them dancing during early dawn. I think two days will be fine.

  • Take photos either during dawn or dusk. During bright day, they don’t come fine.
  • Take camera lens of higher zoom range or focal length. Mine was just 18-200mm.
  • Black-necked cranes come during winter. If your visit is to see them, note this.

If I can travel Bumdeling again in future, I will plan accordingly. I want to have things I missed this time. Other places in Bhutan to watch black-necked cranes are Phobjikha and Bumthang.

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About Author

An auditor by profession, but a traveller, blogger and photographer by passion. This site was created to share travel stories of various destinations within Bhutan and also travel tips of travelling to Bhutan. Read More>>

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