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23 October, 2018

We are Counting: Big Migration of Eagle on the Way

21 Oct 2018, My colleague Sandesh has begun migration count at Thoolakharka watch site, Nepal. This year we could set up the count little late so that we couldn't meet up our first Steppe Eagle, which is likely to come our watch site between 7 to 12 October. Based on our previous count, it is likely we missed to say Goodbye to approximately 50 (range: 10 - 110) Steppies. Therefore, this is just a beginning for Steppe Eagle migration in this part and  many more still waiting to make their first takeoff of this long journey from the Mongolian Steppes and some already did it and suffering to cross high Himalayas from the eastern Nepal and even Bhutan. Satellite tracking data shows they mostly enter from the eastern Himalayas and follow the east west extension of Himalayan Mountain chain.

Besides Steppies we get fairly good species of raptors (however in low number), previously 35 species of migrating raptors were recorded here. Additionally 11 resident raptor species are around this watch site, for e.g. these includes majestic Bearded Vulture and Mountain Hawk Eagle. In the last two days Sandesh has recorded 10 species on migration. I made a comparison on these species number with the previous counts. Although it is not a good way to compare the data for only 2 days because the variation on several factors alters the migration timing. However it is the easiest way to mapping migration trend over timing. Presenting you a list of species and number that we got during two initial days and the graph.

This year raptor migration count is sponsored by Raptours (, sincere thanks for the generous support.

List of migrating raptors counted on 21 and 22 Oct

Oriental Honey Buzzard

Himalayan Buzzard 2
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Steppe Eagle 33
Booted Eagle 5
Black Kite 6
Eurasian Hobby 3
Common Kestrel  3
Himalayan Vulture 9
Griffon Vulture 1


08 September, 2018

We are Resuming Raptor Migration Count in Thoolakharka- 2018 and Onwards

Dear friends and supporters, warm greetings on behalf of Raptors of Nepal Team!

 Raptor of Nepal is a Raptor Studies Group in Nepal under Nepalese Ornithological Union ( In Nepal, raptor study is a young field of research. Since 2011, Raptors of Nepal has started intensive study on diurnal birds of prey species throughout the country. In this period, we have conducted several interesting studies focused on birds of prey species. Some of these studies included raptor migration studies, raptor trade studies, wintering raptor survey in Nepal, raptor survey and monitoring in the Himalayas, GPS tracking of Bearded Vulture, breeding study of Indian Spotted Eagle etc. Raptor migration studies is the longest project we are conducting.

 In 2012, we discovered a raptor migration watch-site in the elevation of 2050 m at the mountaintop of Thoolakharka along the southern rim of Annapurna Conservation Area at the foothills of Himalayan Mountains. Since its discovery, we utilized this watch-site to monitor migrating raptors during each autumn. We set up the official count between 15 September to 10 December (total 85 days) and continued until 2015. In 2016 and 2017 autumn, we could not perform count due to some technical reason because we had to focus this time on the Bearded Vulture project on which the lead member of this Group completing PhD.  Now we are pleased to inform you all- 2018 ONWARDS WE ARE RESUMING RAPTOR MIGRATION COUNT. We hope this will certainly provide useful information for the conservation of raptors in the regional scale.

 Thoolakharka is one of the best place in the world to see migrating Steppe Eagle. In each autumn season we count approx. 6 000 – 9 000 migrating individuals of this eagle species. Since 2015, Steppe Eagle is categorized as endangered species by IUCN. Population of this eagle is considered continue in decline. In this sense, it is very important to conduct population monitoring and we are now in an ideal position to contribute species conservation by doing this. Our experience indicates, approximately 15 000 individuals of more than 35 species of raptors (including EIGHT globally threatened species and THREE near-threatened species) use this flyway to meet their wintering ground to the south.

 We need your support to make this research possible. If you are interested to support (volunteering and others) raptor migration count please contact us at 

For our previous report click here 

For peer reviewed journal article  click here