Central Himalayas

Country/Territory Nepal
Area 56,000 km2
Altitude 1500 - 3300 m
Priority high
Habitat loss moderate
Knowledge good

General characteristics

Nepal is one of the most mountainous countries in the world, ranging in altitude almost from sea-level to over 8,000 m. The Himalayan range runs east to west through the country, so the topography changes dramatically from north to south, and the country has an exceptional variety of climatic conditions and vegetation types. This EBA extends through the Himalayas from the extreme east of Nepal to the extreme west, and possibly into adjacent regions of India.

The restricted-range species of the EBA breed in a variety of habitats in the temperate zone. There is geographical overlap in western Nepal between this EBA and the Western Himalayas (EBA 128), but the birds of that EBA tend to occur in relatively dry habitat types and only two of them are known definitely to breed in Nepal. A minor overlap also exists in the extreme east of Nepal with the Eastern Himalayas (EBA 130).

Restricted-range species

Two of the three restricted-range birds, Pnoepyga immaculata and Actinodura nipalensis, breed in Himalayan moist temperate forest between about 1,800 and 3,300 m, and Turdoides nipalensis occupies dense scrub and secondary growth at slightly lower altitudes. The newly described P. immaculata (Martens and Eck 1991) is apparently an altitudinal migrant, as it has been recorded in the lowlands of southern Nepal outside the breeding season; it has only been recorded in Nepal so far, but may prove to be present elsewhere in the Himalayas, although no specimens were found to be present among dozens of Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler P. albiventer skins collected to the east of Nepal in Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bhutan (Martens and Eck 1995). It has also been suggested that Turdoides nipalensis may range further west than is currently known, into north-west India (Inskipp and Inskipp 1991).

Species IUCN Red List category
Nepal Cupwing (Pnoepyga immaculata) LC
Spiny Babbler (Acanthoptila nipalensis) LC
Hoary-throated Barwing (Sibia nipalensis) LC

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
Nepal Annapurna Conservation Area NP001
Nepal Dharan forests NP006
Nepal Kanchenjungha Conservation Area NP010
Nepal Langtang National Park NP013
Nepal Mai Valley forests NP015
Nepal Makalu Barun National Park NP016
Nepal Phulchoki Mountain forests NP019
Nepal Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park NP024
Nepal Tamur valley and watershed NP026

Threat and conservation

None of the restricted-range bird species is considered to be threatened, as they all occur widely within Nepal and are locally common. However, the populations of the two forest species, Pnoepyga immaculata and Actinodura nipalensis, may have declined because, although the area of forest in the temperate zone appears to have remained stable in recent years, its condition has rapidly been made worse by uncontrolled cutting (for fuelwood and animal fodder), livestock grazing and burning (Inskipp 1989).

Langtang, Royal Bardia and Khaptad National Parks and Shivapuri Wildlife and Watershed Reserve support populations of one or more of the restricted-range species (Inskipp 1989), and there are several other protected areas lying within the EBA (IUCN 1990, 1993). These areas are fairly well spread through the EBA, and include substantial tracts of habitat suitable for the restricted-range birds. Proposed protected areas which support some of the species are Phulchowki mountain, Annapurna Conservation Area and the Barun valley extension to Sagarmatha National Park (Inskipp 1989).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Central Himalayas. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/148 on 04/10/2023.