Where to spot Goa’s avian beauties

Goa is a tropical paradise and is, therefore, home to a variety of bird species- small, big, and majestic ones. There are many places in Goa to spot different bird species. Some places may be hard to reach to bring out your adventurous spirit while others are quite easy destinations to travel in.

Let’s start off with Goa’s sanctuaries.

Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary

Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary, Chorao Island, is home to birds like white egrets and purple herons. One can expect to see colourful kingfishers, eagles, cormorants, kites, woodpeckers, sandpipers, curlews and mynahs on a fairly regular basis. The best time to visit the sanctuary is during the winter months when the migratory birds that frequent the area are also in residence. The maximum number of the sanctuary’s inhabitants can be seen in the early hours of the morning and at sunset.


Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the eastern border of the state of Goa, near the village of Mollem. The state bird of Goa - Ruby-throated Yellow Bulbul - is the most common of the 120 species of bird that have been spotted in this sanctuary.


 Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mhadei wildlife sanctuary is located near the village of Valpoi. It is an International Bird area as more than 200 bird species have been spotted here. It is home to species like the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, Malabar parakeet, White-bellied blue-flycatcher, Malabar grey hornbill, etc.


Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

This place contains tall trees and grassland areas. It is located in the Canacona Taluka of South Goa, along the Goa-Karnataka border. The sanctuary is open from 7.00 am till 5.30 pm every day. It has an observation deck where one can spot animals at the watering hole. Some bird species that have been seen here are flame- throated bulbulS, woodpeckers, Asian fairy bluebirds, green imperial pigeons, and more. A good time to catch a glimpse of the Malayan Night Heron is approximately between May to September. Another good time to visit this sanctuary is between September to March.


Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bondla Wildlife sanctuary is located in Ponda taluka. With its abundance of sights and activities, this sanctuary is an extremely popular place to visit throughout the year. Most tourists, especially eco-tourists flock here during October to March, but the monsoon season is also held to be one of the best times to visit since the life-giving rains enhance the scenic beauty of the place. The Bondla Wildlife park is open to visitors every day except Monday throughout the year from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Best places to spot birds here: (a) Ganjem bridge (b) The temple road which is around 500 metres away from the entrance.

This sanctuary has birds like the Malabar whistling thrush, red spurfowl, sunbirds, Oriental dwarf kingfisher, orange minivet, white-rumped shama, and others.


Other great areas to spot birds in Goa are backwaters, lakes, paddy fields, marshlands, hinterlands, plateaus, and some beaches. Here are some of these places:

Carambolim Lake

One of the main months to see all the birds in one place is during the month of May. There are many egrets and herons. Other species include the purple moorhen, white-bellied sea-eagle, black-tailed Godwit, kingfisher, and more. The brown hawk owl and Jungle Owlet live near the trees surrounding the lake. The winter months until March are also a great time to visit.


Batim Lake

This place is a wetland area. The lake is smaller in comparison to other lakes, but here you can get to see species like the Indian peafowl, orange-breasted pigeon, common teal, different ducks, Northern pintail, and more. The lake is between Panjim and Zuari bridge in Tiswadi Taluka.


Shiroda- Curtorim Wetlands

These wetlands have many common and rare bird species. These include the knob-billed duck, white storks, brown crake, sea eagles, etc.


Socorro Plateau

This place is located between Mapusa and Panaji. It is grassland with the presence of trees. Here one can see Indian peafowls, buzzards, nightjars, kestrels, and so on. (There are plateaus in Verna, Merces, and other districts.)


Pilerne Plateau

Pilerne Plateau is in Alto Porvorim. The species that can be spotted here are larks, different eagles, yellow-wattled lapwing, orioles, buzzards, pipits, etc.

Other interesting places to birdwatch are the Butterfly beach, Morjim beach, Miramar beach, Saligao Zor (spring), Mayem lake, Chorao Island, Divar Island, and more.