of Bangladesh's bird life makes it an ornithologist's
paradise. Of the 525 recorded species, 350 are
resident. Among them are bulbul, magpie, robin,
common game birds, cuckoos, hawks, owls, crows,
kingfishers, woodpeckers, parrots and myna. A
wide variety of warblers are also found. Some
of them are migrants and appear only in winter.
The migratory and seasonal birds are pre-dominantly
Of the 200 species of mammals, the pride of place
goes to the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderbans,
the largest block of littoral forests spreading
over an area of 6,000 sq. km. Next comes the elephants
found mainly in the forests of the Chittagong
Hill Tracts districts. South Himalayan black bear
and the Malayan bear are also seen here. Six types
of deer are found in the hill tracts and the Sunderbans.
Of them the spotted deer, barking deer and sambar
are the most familiar. Clouded leopard, leopard
cat, mongoose, jackal and rhesus monkey are also
Among the bovine animals, three species- buffalo,
ox and gayal- are found. There are about 150 species
of reptiles of which the sea turtle, river tortoise,
mud turtle, crocodiles, gavial, python, krait
and cobra and common. About 200 species of marine
and freshwater fish are also found. Prawns and
lobsters are available in plenty for local consumption
In the shallow water of the floodplains, ponds
and swamps of the country various hydrophytes
and floating ferns grow in abundance. Tall grasses
present a picturesque site near the banks of the
rivers and the marshes. Around 60% of the Gangetic
plain is under rice paddy and jute cultivation.
The village homes are usually concealed by the
lush green foliage of a wide variety of trees,
thickets of bamboo and banana plants. A characteristic
feature of the landscape is the presence of a
variety of palm and fruit trees.
Each season produces its special variety of flowers
in Bangladesh; among them, the prolific Water
Hyacinth flourishes. Its carpet of thick green
leaves and blue flowers gives the impression that
solid ground lies underneath. Other decorative
plants, which are widely spread are Jasmine, Water
Lily, Rose, Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, Magnolia,
and an incredible diversity of wild orchids in
the forested areas.
Lying close to the Himalayas, the Sylhet area
has extensive natural depressed lands locally
called 'haors' (pronounced 'howers', wetlands).
During the winter season they are home to huge
flocks of wild fowl. Outstanding species include
the rare Baer's pochard and Pallas' Fish Eagle,
along with a great number of ducks . Other important
habitats are the remaining fragments of evergreen
and teak forests, especially along the Indian
border near the Srimongal area.
The Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Redheaded Trogon and
a wide variety of forest birds, including rare
visitors are seen in these forests. One of two
important coastal zones is the Noakhali region,
with emphasis on the islands near Hatiya, where
migratory species and a variety of wintering waders
find suitable refuge. These include rare viitors
like Spoonbilled Sandpiper, Nordman's Greenshank
and flocks of Indian Skimmers.
The forest cover of Bangladesh is only about 9
percent. The thickest forests are in the coastal
Sunderbans and the hill tracts in the northeast.
Extensive areas of Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Kushtia
are under mango, litchi, sugarcane and tobacco