Black-necked Crane spotted in Panbang, Zhemgang

The recent sighting of 4 Black-necked Cranes (BNC) in Panbang, south-central Bhutan, raised a lot of questions among the general public in the country. In the morning of November 17, 2021, the Panbang Youth Cooperatives spotted 4 adult Black-necked Cranes in Panbang for the first time as per the record maintained at RSPN. The cranes were spotted in the farm fields located near the confluence of Mangdechhu and Manas River, a common migratory route for the cranes. According to one of the members of the Cooperatives, a strange bird call was heard in the late evening of November 16, 2021, around the locality which confirmed the calls of Black-necked Crane, the following day.

There are many factors, which causes migrating cranes, or any other birds to land in new sites. Around this time of the year, birds from higher altitude migrate to warmer areas. During the migration, there are many predators in the sky, which depend on such migrations. The migrating birds land in new locations while escaping from the predators.

The cranes follow river valleys as the landmark for their migration route. The location of the current sighting is at the base of Chamkhar river. Therefore, the crane migrating to Bumthang from Tibet would have continued their journey following the Chamkhar chu valley until Panbang.


Furthermore, the long-distance migration sometimes fatigues birds like cranes to make a stopover to regain energy. The cranes are also known to be opportunists, therefore, disturbances in their historic sites would drive the birds to new locations looking for ideal habitats.


RSPN record shows that the sighting of BNC in other sites has become quite frequent now. The record of 2020-2021 indicates spotting of 6 BNCs in Pemathang in Samdrupjongkhar District while 1 was spotted in Yoeseltse in Samtse District in the same year.


 Picture Courtesy: Panbang Youth Cooperative