15 Best Places for Birding in Goa You Must Explore

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Flock of migratory Seagulls at beach, Goa
A flock of migratory Seagulls at a beach, Goa

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.

Brown-headed Gull at a beach, migratory birds of Goa
Brown-headed Gull at a beach, migratory birds of Goa

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.

A pair of Black-rumped Flameback Woodpeckers on a coconut tree
A pair of Black-rumped Flameback Woodpeckers on a coconut tree

Carambolim Lake

Carambolim Lake Goa
Carambolim Lake 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.

A flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks
A flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks

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.

Ruddy Shelducks in flight
Ruddy Shelducks in flight

Curtorim and Maina Villages in South Goa

A flock of Wooly-necked Storks, Migratory Birds of Goa
A flock of Wooly-necked Storks, Migratory Birds of 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.

Asian Openbill Stork in flight
Asian Openbill Stork in flight

Read More – Walking with the birds in Maina

 

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike

Goa University Campus

Brahminy Kite in flight
Brahminy Kite in flight

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.

A pair of White-throated Kingfishers, Birding in Goa
A pair of White-throated Kingfishers

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

Common Kingfisher bird with a catch of Fish
Common Kingfisher bird with a catch of Fish

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.

Western-Reef Heron
Western-Reef Heron

Moira Backwaters

Indian Pond Heron
Indian Pond Heron

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.

Rose-ringed Parakeet in flight
Rose-ringed Parakeet in flight

Read More –  A Walk Through Moira Backwaters

Soccorro Plateau – North Goa

Indian Peafowl Male
Indian Peafowl Male

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.

Pilerne Plataeu

A flock of Black-headed Ibis in flight, Birding in Goa
A flock of Black-headed Ibis in flight

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.

Purple Swamphen in flight
Purple Swamphen in flight

Verna Plateau

A flock of Glossy Ibis in flight
A flock of Glossy Ibis in flight

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.

Divar Island

Slender-billed Gull in flight over Mandovi river backwaters
Slender-billed Gull in flight over Mandovi river backwaters

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.

Wooly-necked Stork in flight
Wooly-necked Stork in flight

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Black-crowned Night Heron in flight
Black-crowned Night Heron in flight

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

Merces Plateau

White-bellied Sea Eagle in flight, Birding in Goa
White-bellied Sea Eagle in flight, Birding in Goa

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

Baya Weaver, Birding in Goa
Baya Weaver, Birding in Goa

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

Purple Heron in flight
Purple Heron in flight

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.

Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul

Beaches like Morjim or Miramar

A flock of Sandplovers in flight, Miramar beach
A flock of Sandplovers in flight, Miramar beach

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

White-cheeked Barbet with plenty of berries around to savor
White-cheeked Barbet with plenty of berries around to savor

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.

Wire-tailed Swallow
Wire-tailed Swallow

Birds Sighting in Goa

Beaches

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.

Read more:

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Bird Photography at Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Birds of Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Beautiful Birds of Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Birding in Kumaon – Explore Uttarakhand Nature

Birds in my Garden at Gurgaon

Dandeli – Home of Malabar Pied Hornbill

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, National Park near Gurgaon

List of Birds of Goa – Wikipedia

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