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Birding in Goa Tour, India - 15 Days

Birding in Goa Tour, India
2530

Birdwatching Tour in Goa, India

This 15-day, small-group Birding in Goa Tour is a leisurely paced trip available as a set departure (or available on request) focusing on the diverse birdlife of Goa’s varied habitats. Expect to see around 270-300 species of bird including up to 18 endemics of the Western Ghats mountain range, further South Indian endemics, and a good selection of gulls, waders, and waterfowl in coastal wetlands, plus numerous butterflies during this South Indian birding tour.

Our birding tour in Goa is a thorough but leisurely exploration of the beaches, mangroves, rivers, wetlands, and superb endemic-rich tropical forests of this small southwest coastal state, once a Portuguese colony. Goa has a well-established tourism infrastructure, a pleasant tropical climate, and a good variety of habitats that can be covered without any lengthy travel. All of these factors make Goa an excellent choice for a winter birding tour destination and a comfortable introduction to birding in India or Asia. As well as an enjoyable birding experience, Goa offers excellent opportunities for bird photography as well as an impressive selection of butterflies and several mammals in some superb forest reserves.

This Goa birdwatching tour begins along the Arabian Sea coast, where we will explore beaches, mangroves, and wetlands. On foot and by boat we will be looking for a selection of waders, waterfowl, gulls, terns, and more, including Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Painted Stork, Pallas’s and Heuglin’s Gulls, Collared Kingfisher, and White-bellied Sea-eagle.

During this birdwatching tour in Goa, As we explore further afield, into dry fields, wooded hills, and the scrub jungle of the central plateau we’ll look for larks and pipits, Indian Roller, Orange-headed Thrush, Loten’s Sunbird, Jerdon’s Leafbird, the secretive Indian Pitta. Here, we will also begin to encounter our first regional endemics, such as Vigors’s Sunbird, Dark-fronted Babbler, White-cheeked Barbet, and Malabar Lark.

Leaving the coast, we will drive inland to spend the second half of our tour birding in the superb foothill forests of the Western Ghats, a range of low mountains that delineate Goa’s eastern border. These forests are among the world’s most biodiverse regions, hosting 30 endemic birds. As we explore the dense deciduous forests, cane thickets, bamboo brakes, and forest streams on foot we will be looking for the 18 of these endemics that occur in Goa including Malabar Grey Hornbill, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, and Flame-throated Bulbul. Birding here will be immensely enjoyable and productive. We will encounter many more South Indian endemics and Indian forest specialities, such as Malabar Trogon and Malabar Pied Hornbill, and an impressive variety of night birds including Sri Lanka Frogmouth and Indian Scops-Owl in this birding tour in Goa.

To complement our birdwatching tour in Goa, we can expect to come across a small number of mammals including Northern Plains Grey Langur, Bonnet Macaque, and Indian Giant Squirrel, and an impressive selection of South India’s butterflies that includes spectacular swallowtails such as Paris Peacock and Southern Birdwing. As we can explore all areas on foot the opportunities for bird and butterfly photography in Goa are excellent.

Birding in Goa Tour Highlights includes:

  • Leisurely yet productive birding, in a comfortable tropical climate with good accommodation and no lengthy travel.
  • See up to 18 endemics of the Western Ghats, further South Indian regional forest specialities, up to seven species of kingfisher, and large numbers of waterbirds in coastal wetlands.
  • See and hear a good number of nocturnal species at dusk or at day roosts, including Brown Fish-owl, Brown Boobook, Indian Scops-Owl, Jerdon’s and Jungle Nightjars, and Sri Lanka Frogmouth.
  • Encounter an incredible selection of butterflies, including spectacular swallowtails such as Southern Birdwing and congregations of yellows and iridescent blues mud-puddling along forest streams.
  • Experience Goa’s melting pot of cultures and rich past, evident in its cuisine and historical architecture that includes impressive churches and ancient temples.

Please note: this set-departure tour is also available as a private or custom tour on request. Please submit an enquiry with your preferred dates and group size.

If you’d like to try an alternative tour, look at what this North India Birding and Wildlife Tour has to offer.

Alternative Tour Name: Goa Birding Tour
Day 1
Days 1 to 6 - Coastal Goa

Arrivals into Goa (Dabolim) airport in the morning of day 1 for a six-night stay. We have the afternoon, and further five days to explore the varied habitats present in the coastal region of northern Goa from a base at the resort of Arpora, making excursions further inland into the grasslands and scrub jungle of the central plateau. The habitat diversity here is reflected in the variety of birds found in this region, and we can expect a good selection during our stay here, from waterfowl to woodland species, including our first regional endemics.

Immediately surrounding Arpora a sizeable stretch of dry fields will likely provide some of the first birds of the tour, including various pipits including Richard’s and Blyth’s, Malabar Lark, Spotted Dove, Indian Roller, Little Green and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Wire-tailed Swallow, Rosy Starling, Black Drongo, Long-tailed and Brown Shrikes, Bluethroat and Spotted Owlet. Remnant patches of mature woodland on coastal headlands will offer additional species such as Eurasian Golden Oriole, Vernal Hanging-parrot, Grey-headed and Brahminy Starlings, Loten’s and Vigors’s Sunbirds, Tickell’s Blue, Asian Brown and Indian Paradise Flycatchers, Black-naped Monarch, Jerdon’s Leafbirds, White-browed and Grey-headed Bulbuls, White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets, Dark-fronted Babbler, Orange-headed Thrush and the secretive Indian Pitta.

Further afield, quieter beaches and Goa’s few sizeable lakes, together with areas of marsh and mangrove, host a good selection of gulls, terns, shorebirds, waterfowl, rails and crakes, including Grey-headed Swamphen, Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Lesser Whistling-duck, Indian Spot-billed and Comb Ducks, Cotton Teal, Wood and Terek Sandpipers, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Red-wattled and Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Cinnamon Bittern, Greater Painted-snipe, Baillon’s and Ruddy-breasted Crakes, Painted and Woolly-necked Storks, Asian Openbill, Lesser Adjutant various egrets, Indian Baya and Streaked Weavers, Indian Reed-warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Citrine Wagtail, gulls including Pallas’s and Heuglin’s, Greater and Lesser Crested Terns, Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Small Pratincole, and birds of prey including Indian Spotted Eagle, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Brahminy Kite and Crested Goshawk.

A boat ride along the Zuari River will take us into the mangroves of the Cumbarjua Canal, in search of the highly localised Collared Kingfisher, Stork-billed, Black-capped and Lesser Pied Kingfishers and Slaty-breasted Rail.

In this coastal area, and its predominantly dry scrub we'll also encounter a selection of dryland butterflies, including Common Crow, Blue, Glassy and Striped Tigers, Lemon, Blue and Chocolate Pansies, Common Jezebel, Common Sailer, Common Castor, Tiny Grass Blue and Grass Jewel, the smallest in the Indian region.

Day 7
Days 7 to 10 - Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Bondla

We will experience a change in landscape and habitat as we drive inland into the foothills of the Western Ghats for a four-night stay. These hills delineate Goa’s eastern border and are considered one of the most ecologically rich regions in the world, home to 30 restricted range endemic and near endemic birds. In the moist deciduous forest, interspersed with cane thickets, bamboo brakes and trickling streams we will look for up to 18 Western Ghats endemics available in Goa among further peninsular endemics and south Indian forest specialities, including Malabar Grey, Malabar Pied and Great Pied Hornbills, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Greater Racket-tailed and Spangled Drongos, Malabar Trogon, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Malabar Whistling-thrush, Asian Fairy Bluebird, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Small Sunbird, Flame-throated and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Malabar Barbet, Malabar Parakeet, Dark-fronted and Puff-throated Babblers, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Indian White-rumped Spinetail, Brown-backed Needletail, Crested Serpent-eagle, Rufous-bellied and Black Eagles, and a selection of night birds including Ceylon Frogmouth, Indian Jungle and Jerdon’s Nightjars, Brown Hawk-owl, Jungle Owlet and Brown Fish-owl.

We will also visit nearby Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary looking in particular for Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Blue-faced Malkoha, Rufous and White-naped Woodpeckers, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Blue-capped Rock-thrush, Grey Junglefowl and Red Spurfowl.

We will no doubt encounter an impressive selection of butterflies in this region, with spectacular forest swallowtails and endemics that include Tamil Yeoman, Tamil Lacewing, Blue Oakleaf, Paris Peacock and Blue Mormon, with Indian Sunbeam, Leaf Blue and Common Map along forest streams, and the striking Southern Birdwing, the largest butterfly in the Indian region.

Day 11
Days 11 to 14 - Cotigao and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries

On day 11, a short drive south will take us to the coastal resort of Patnem in southern Goa, our base for exploring both Cotigao and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries during a four-night stay here.

Cotigao is noticeably drier than other forest reserves in Goa, and we will look in particular for endemics and forest species that favour these conditions, such as Malabar Woodshrike, White-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-footed and Grey-fronted Green-pigeons, Green Imperial Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Forest Wagtail and Oriental Scops-owl.

At Netravali, one of Goa’s least-explored areas, the sanctuary road climbs through primary forest to the peaks of a series of rounded hills where we hope to encounter Indian Rufous-babbler, Indian Scimitar-babbler, Speckled Piculet, Malabar Trogon, Indian Blue Robin.

Butterflies are diverse in the superb primary forest and we'll look for gems including Gaudy Baron, Red-spot Duke, Common and Crimson Rose, Orange Oakleaf and the delicate Malabar Tree Nymph. Both here and in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary we will also come across a small selection of mammals, including Bonnet Macaque, Northern Plains Grey Langur, the Malabar subspecies of Indian Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Civet, and the ubiquitous three-striped Palm Squirrel, with the chance of Gaur and Leopard at Cotigao.

Day 15
Day 15 - Depart from Goa

Depending on group departure plans we may have time for some final birding at Cotigao this morning. Departures from Goa (Dabolim) international airport this afternoon.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Birds: Indian Pitta, Malabar Trogon, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Small Sunbird, Vigors’s Sunbird, Loten’s Sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Indian Paradise-Flycatcher, White-bellied Woodpecker, White-naped Woodpecker, Black-rumped Flameback, Lesser Yellownape, Malabar Woodshrike, Indian Blue Robin, Malabar Whistling-thrush, Orange-headed Thrush (White-throated race), Dark-fronted Babbler, Puff-throated Babbler, Indian Rufous Babbler, Indian Scimitar-babbler, Flame-throated Bulbul, Grey-headed Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Square-tailed Bulbul, Orange Minivet, Malabar Parakeet, Malabar Barbet, White-cheeked Barbet, Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Starling, Southern Hill Myna, Black-throated Munia, Malabar Lark, White-rumped Needletail, Grey Junglefowl, Red Spurfowl, Indian Swiftlet, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Jungle Nightjar, Jungle Owlet, Indian Scops-Owl, Brown Wood-Owl, Brown Fish-Owl, Indian Spotted Eagle, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Grey-headed Swamphen, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Pallas’s Gull, Lesser Sandplover, Greater Sandplover.

Mammals: Bonnet Macaque, Northern Plains Grey Langur, Indian Giant Squirrel.

Butterflies: Southern Birdwing, Paris Peacock, Crimson Rose, Blue Mormon, Malabar Tree Nymph, Blue Oakleaf, Tamil Lacewing.

What is included?

  • Accommodation in comfortable wildlife lodges and hotels (14 nights; double occupancy)
  • Single occupancy available at additional cost (ask us about single supplements)
  • All meals (lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 15)
  • Bottled and/or filtered drinking water throughout the tour
  • All ground transport throughout the tour, including airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Services of a professional English-speaking bird guide
  • All birding and wildlife activities as specified within the tour itinerary (including all boat charges)
  • All entrance fees to national parks and reserves
  • Tour information, travel notes and checklists
  • All currently applicable taxes

What is not included?

  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Any flights, international or domestic
  • Drinks other than water, snacks
  • Any activities not mentioned in the tour itinerary, or those provided by lodges/hotels at extra cost
  • Camera fees
  • Items of a personal nature (such as laundry, telephone bills etc.)
  • Optional tour extensions (ask us if you would like to extend your holiday)
  • Tips & gratuities
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. officer
    Kari Soilevaara01 Jan 2019
    5
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    me and my birding group have been guided these guides about 17 times 17 different years! They are professionals at finding birds and operate with birdwatchers! Recommended 100%. All my about 100 customers have been more than satisfied! BIG recommendation!

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Why should I book with India Nature?

India Nature is a specialist travel company offering small group and private/custom bird tours and combined bird/wildlife holidays across India, all based around our own personal passions for birding and travel. We have been in operation for over a decade as India Nature, and beyond this have over 20 years of field, tour, and hospitality experience both within India and internationally. Concentrating on the destinations we ourselves know well, our tours are thoroughly researched and planned. We take great satisfaction from making sure you have a great time enjoying memorable wildlife experiences, and pride ourselves in our high level of repeat custom and personal recommendations. Between us, we personally handle all enquiries and are always available to offer advice so feel free to get in touch!

What is the group size of small group scheduled departure tours?

Our scheduled departure tours operate with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 participants. The tour price stated here is applicable to a group size of 6-8 participants. Please refer to the Group Discount Guide in the Price and Availability section for pricing details for smaller groups.

What is the standard of accommodation?

We carefully select all the accommodations we use on any tour, based on a variety of factors. On this tour, we stay in comfortable, clean hotels and wildlife lodges of good standard throughout, all rooms with private en-suite facilities.

What is the food like?

Meals are often in the form of a buffet featuring both international and delicious local cuisines, at times served as a picnic in the field to better support our bird/wildlife activities. If you are concerned that foods may be too spicy, this is generally not the case and there are always plenty of options to choose from. Goa in particular offers a wide selection of good international fare at larger hotels and restaurants, excellent seafood and a selection of local vegetables and sweets. Vegetarians are very easily catered for in India, and we can cater to most other special dietary requirements with advance notice.

Who can join this tour?

Anyone! We welcome beginners and experts alike. Our tours do not normally entail a large amount of strenuous activity, but you should be fit and in general good health, and able to complete moderate walks over varying terrain. The daily schedule can be quite busy in terms of time spent in the field, with early mornings and some late returns to make the best use of each day, but there is usually the chance to take a midday break and the possibility of opting out of early morning or late afternoon birding sessions on most days. The tour is generally quite relaxed, staying in only three centres with minimal travel time between sites and a good amount of time in each. Goa is a very easy and enjoyable birding destination but if you have any concerns about your participation based around your health or mobility, please contact us so we can offer our advice.

Are there any particular health/vaccine requirements?

We will send you full details to enable you to prepare in advance of your tour with us. In brief, there are no particular vaccine requirements for entry into India but (depending on your chosen tour and your own underlying health) you should be up to date with some recommended vaccinations, and may need to take anti-malarial medication before, during and after your tour.

What should I bring on the tour?

We will send you a full list of recommendations to enable you to prepare in advance of your tour with us.

Do you arrange airport pick up/drop off?

Yes, and this is included in the tour cost.

Can you book accommodation for us prior to the start of the trip/tour/safari?

Yes, we can arrange any accommodation you need at the start or end of the tour, to suit your international arrival and departure times. We can also arrange a tour extension, should you wish to extend your trip.

Can I book a private or custom tour?

Yes, we can arrange a private tour following any of our tour itineraries for any size group. We can also create a custom tour just for you, incorporating any special requests, specific targets or other interests. The best time to plan this tour would be November to March. If, having read the tour description and these FAQ’s you are concerned that this tour may not meet your requirements, please get in touch with us anyway. We may be able to reassure you, suggest amendments to the usual itinerary or propose a more suitable alternative.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

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01/12/2022 - 15/12/2022 available USD 2,530
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01/12/2023 - 15/12/2023 available USD 2,530
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15 Days

Price & Availability

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USD2,530 / per person
Single Supplement USD 460
This tour is operated by: India Nature
5 based on 2 reviews

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5 Based on 2 reviews
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Tour Facts

  • Goa, India
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • 15 days
  • November to March
  • 12+ years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English
  • Goa International Airport
  • Goa International Airport