Birding in Goa is our favorite pastime. We see birds everywhere, in the fields behind our home, in the villages not too far from us, on islands just a ferry ride away, by the Goa backwaters, in jungles of the Goan hinterlands. Not to forget the ones who come to our balcony and on coconut trees in our building.
Top Places for Birding in Goa
We see a rise in birding tours in Goa. A lot of companies engage birding experts to take the tourist on birding trails in Goa. So, we thought of giving you our list of best places for birding in Goa.
Situated behind the Karmali Railway Station in North Goa Carambolim Lake is a quiet lake that birds love. You can see birds in hordes. In thousands, they are sitting on the edges of the lake like they are there for a conference or a big celebration.
Pro Tip – Step into the fields around Carambolim lake to look for many other birds. Do not forget to ask the field owners before you step in.
Curtorim and Maina Villages in South Goa
Imagine a thin strip of coconut tree lined road going through wide fields on both sides with a backdrop of hills. This is Maina village near Curtorim in South Goa. This is birding heaven in Goa. You have to look at fields on either side or on the wires running up, you will be spoilt for choice.
Read More – Walking with the birds in Maina
Goa University Campus
Goa University is built on a plateau. Walk behind its library building and you will pass by a few buildings and many trees. Stand in front of any trees and you will see birds flying around. Look for a dry tree with no leaves and this is your best bet to photograph birds.
Pro Tip – After a long birding walk, eat the student snacks or food in one of the canteens. It is like going back to college days.
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao Island
Honestly speaking this is not the best place for birding. This is where a lot of people land up because of the bird sanctuary tag, but we have never found many birds there. However, this is a great place to take a small boat and go through waters and spot birds that live on the edges of the river. Just take a ferry to Chorao island and wander around or take a boat ride in Mandovi.
Reaching here is a bit tricky, but these backwaters of Mandovi river lies somewhere between Uccasaim and Moira. You can walk along the waters and see many birds away from any road and hence traffic.
Read More – A Walk Through Moira Backwaters
Soccorro Plateau – North Goa
Like most plateaus in Goa, Socorro plateau is a haven for birds and birdwatching in Goa. Just walk around the narrow roads and keep looking up, on the trees.
This is close to Saligao in North Goa. You may have crossed this on your way to famous Baga and Calangute villages. Although you can find birds in most deserted parts of the Pilerne industrial estate, our favorite spot is closer to Nerul river.
This plateau in South Goa is also an industrial estate, but if you can get a bit away from the industrial corridors, you would see wilderness and yes, birds.
Take a ferry boat from Ribandar or Old Goa and get down at the island of Divar. Walk around and you would see not just birds but also crabs on the edges of Mandovi River next to the mangroves. You can see the locals fishing in small ponds. Birds are in the fields, on the naked wires and on trees which are not aplenty on this island. Do you know Divar island is the favorite of the advertisers, you would have seen it in many ad films.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
This Goa birding location is where the famous Dushsagar falls is located. As you trek to the falls or walk through the tracks leading to Dudhsagar falls, you will find birds. You just need to be away from noisy tourist vehicles. Birds do not like too much noise.
Read More – Dudhsagar – The Most Beautiful Waterfall
This is a plateau that connects Panjim to Old Goa that would soon be full of new age buildings. Till then enjoy the views of Mandovi, some backwaters with the birds of Goa.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Cotigao wildlife sanctuary at the southern tip of Goa is home to many hidden streams and waterfalls. With so many water bodies around, birds cannot be far away. Keep your telephoto lenses ready.
Read More – Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mhadei wildlife sanctuary is located in the hinterlands of Goa, away from its popular beaches or main towns. You would typically go here for whitewater rafting during monsoons. Go here for birding anytime.
Beaches like Morjim or Miramar
During winter months, Goa gets some amazing seabirds Seagulls, slender-billed gulls, Caspian terns. Most birders would head to Morjim to see these birds but we usually meet them at our neighborhood beach at Miramar.
Lakes & Fields
In general, if you sit quietly near any lake or field in Goa, the birds of Goa would oblige you generously. We sometimes just stop at random places, closer to water bodies and fields, and more often than not this is our birding in Goa.
Birds Sighting in Goa
Goan Beaches less frequented by Humans receive huge flocks of migratory birds like the Gulls & Sandpipers. Brown-headed Gull, Black-headed Gull & Slender-billed Gull are the most sighted. Sandplovers, Common Sandpipers, Little Stint, Sanderling are sighted in flocks by the beaches. White-bellied Sea Eagles are also spotted by the beaches and Mandovi river & Zuari river estuaries.
Shallow Backwaters, Lakes, Paddy Fields, Marsh Lands, Backwaters
Waterbirds like the Herons, Ducks, Egrets, Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Drongos, Storks, Ibis, Cormorants, Darter, Jacanas, Plovers, Lapwings, Kites, Pigeons, Doves, Bee-eaters, Cuckoos, Rollers, Hoopoes etc are easily seen by these water bodies. Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Lesser-Whistling Ducks, Ruddy Shelducks, Indian Pond Heron, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Western-reef Heron, Wooly-necked Stork, Asian Openbill Stork, Lesser-adjutant Stork, Common Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Little Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Black-headed Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Red-wattled Lapwing, Greater Sandplover, Lesser Sandplover, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Plum-headed Parakeet, Black Drongo, Ashy Drongo, Brahminy Kite, Black Kite, Indian Peafowl, Rock Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Asian Koel, Lesser Coucal, Greater Coucal, Indian Roller, Hoopoe are among the relatively easily sighted birds.
Hinterlands, Plateaus, Wildlife Sanctuaries
Woodpeckers, Hornbills, Swallows, Bulbuls, Babblers, Barbets, Eagles, Pheasants, Parrots, Owls, Wagtails, Shrikes, Flycatchers, Sunbirds, Orioles, Starlings, Weavers, Waxbills etc can be spotted.
Black-rumped Flameback Woodpeckers, Black Eagle, Shikra, Crested Serpent Eagle, Jungle Fowl, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Spotted Owl, Indian Grey Hornbill, Great Hornbill, White-cheeked Barbet, Barn Swallow, Wire-tailed Swallow, White-browed Wagtail, Paddy-field Pipit, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Brown Shrike, Long-tailed Shrike, Jungle Babbler, Grey-breasted Prinia, Ashy Prinia, Purple-rumped Sunbird, Little Spider Hunter, Purple Sunbird, Indian Golden Oriole, Black-naped Oriole, Common Myna, Jungle Myna, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Baya Weaver, Scaly-breasted Munia, White-rumped Munia, Indian Silverbill. There are several varieties of these birds that are hard to identify without some expert help.
The Presence of so many varieties of Birds in Goa is a hallmark of the Biodiversity and beauty of nature. Nature lovers, Birding in Goa can be a great experience, additionally, you will find more biodiversity over and above birds.