After taking birding holidays in Europe over the past few years, I felt like a change of continent. One place which certainly caught my attention was the Goa region of India. Various trip reports & recommendations from friends whetted my appetite & persuaded me in the decision.
I travelled with my parents from Manchester airport overnight on the 25th Febuary arriving at the Dabolim airport in Goa late morning on the 26th. The flight took around 11 hours including an hour’s break at Bahrain. The length of the flight enabled me to scour the excellent ‘Birds of the Indian Subcontinent’ by Grimmett & Inskipp, which proved to be an essential tool in the field & made identification much easier.
After going through all of the necessary immigration procedures, we boarded our coach & took the 1.1/2 hour trip to our hotel.
We stayed in the Marina Dourada hotel which we found of an excellent standard. It was in a superb centralised location and with many good birding locations on the doorstep. Most evenings, we would eat out & found the food to be excellent & the Kingfisher beer as refreshing as ever.
In the build up to the holiday, I had studied many trip reports to look for the best birding hotspots. Goa is blessed with a vast array of habitats including coastal mudflats & mangroves, hundreds of paddy fields & saltpans, large tracts of woodland, rolling hills, inland lakes, & excellent scrubby areas all thronged with an impressive array of avifauna.
Several areas stood out, & they certainly proved very fruitful in the search for key species. We found some of the best places included Carambolim Lake, Morjim Beach, Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, Mayem Lake, Dona Paula Plateau, the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel, the marsh behind the Biera Mar Hotel, Baga Fields, & the Zuari River. These could all easily be reached by the extremely cheap taxis which gather outside the hotels. Indeed, there are several taxi drivers who are very good birders who will be able to act as a guide as well as the driver. This can certainly help when looking for localised & tricky-to-see species.
We had also pre-arranged a three-day trip to the ‘Backwoods’ camp in the Western Ghats. This included two nights stay in the heart of the Baghwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. I would thoroughly recommend this trip as we found the birding first class. Leio & Pramod, our guides, were superb & their experience in the field proved invaluable. The food here was also excellent & we were lucky in having an excellent group of nine people, all enjoying the birds & having a laugh at the same time. More information regarding Backwoods can be found at www.backwoodsbirding.com
Our approach to birding in Goa was to enjoy all the species which we could find at leisure & not worry about those missed. I found this way of birding very enjoyable as we spent more time studying each individual species rather than running around. We knew that our relatively late timing would mean that wader numbers would be lower & the woodpeckers difficult, but we nevertheless knew birding would still be thrilling. The people in Goa are fantastic & are very welcoming. Not once did we feel threatened in any way when birding in remote areas, as sometimes is the case in other countries.
I have compiled the following list of species, along with a brief description of the number of sightings & locations, which I feel will be more reader-friendly.
If you have any queries regarding this report, or are interested in birding in Goa, please do not hesitate to contact me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Barred Buttonquail : A pair seen on the 11th March at Arpora Woods. The birds were showing very well quietly feeding in the leaf litter near to the end of the nightclub wall.
Red Spurfowl : A pair was seen on both the 5th & 6th March at Backwoods Camp. Both sightings were brief as these secretive birds moved quickly through the dense ground cover. Another pair was seen very well on the 11th March at Arpora Woods feeding in the same location as the Barred Buttonquail. Silence is critical if trying to see these birds. A good tactic is to listen for the rustling on the ground as they forage for food amongst the dry leaves.
Indian Peafowl : All seen on Baga Hill. Two males & a female on the 1st March, followed by a female on the 2nd March, & finally male on the 8th March. All birds afforded good views.
Lesser Whistling-Duck : Hundreds of birds seen at two locations. Large gatherings of birds seen at Carambolim on the 28th Feb and 9th March and smaller numbers, but still in the hundreds, at Batim Lake on 4th March.
Cotton Pygmy Goose : 40+ seen on both visits to Carambolim Lake on the 28th Feb and 9th March. Also a few individuals seen at Batim Lake on the 4th March.
Common Teal : A decent number seen at Batim Lake on 4th March. Probably a couple of hundred birds present.
Garganey : Several seen on both visits to Carambolim Lake on the 28th Feb and 9th March. However, a much higher number(several hundred) seen at Batim Lake on 4th March. These included many fine drakes in full summer plumage.
Pintail : Around 100 birds seen at Batim Lake on 4th March.
Shoveler : Similarly to Pintail, up to 100 were present at Batim Lake on 4th March.
Rufous Woodpecker : 5 individuals seen. A pair at Arpora Woods on the 27th Feb, a really showy pair at Baga Hill on 2nd March, and a single bird at Mayem Lake on 9th March. This is a smart species!
Black-Rumped Flameback : A common species with up to fifteen birds noted. Seen on six dates with locations including the area behind the Marina Dourada Hotel, Arpora Woods, Baga Hill, Backwoods, Mayem Lake, & Carambolim Lake.
White-Cheeked Barbet : A very common species seen in decent numbers in all wooded areas. The constant song is a very familiar Indian sound. Observed on six dates with sites including near the Marina Dourada Hotel, Arpora Woods, Baga Hill & Backwoods.
Crimson-Fronted Barbet : Several seen on both the 5th & 6th March at Backwoods. The quicker Coppersmith Barbet-like song often revealed their presence.
Coppersmith Barbet : A common species at most wooded areas near the coast. Most numerous at Baga Hill, but also seen & heard at Arpora Woods, near the Biera Mar Hotel, & Mayem Lake. Not seen at Backwoods. Their repetitive song is another familiar sound in Goa.
Malabar Grey Hornbill : Seen on both 5th & 6th March at Backwoods, with several birds being noted on both days. Some birds gave excellent perched views.
Malabar Pied Hornbill : Similarly to the previous species seen very well at Backwoods on the 5th & 6th March. Several birds seen on both days.
Great Hornbill : Just one single bird seen briefly on the 5th March flying distantly over a ridge from a viewpoint near Backwoods with our guide Pramod.
Hoopoe : Just a couple of birds seen with a single at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb and another single by the saltpans opposite the Marina Dourada Hotel on 2nd March.
Malabar Trogon : One female seen on 5th March at Backwoods. The bird was seen at close range several times albeit rather briefly as it disappeared into the thick foliage.
Indian Roller : A widespread bird seen in small numbers on eight days. Sites included Arpora Village, Baga Fields, Calangute Village, & Batim Lake.
Common Kingfisher : A very common bird indeed. Seen in good numbers anywhere near water on a daily basis. The birds here are very tame in comparison to those in the UK.
Blue-Eared Kingfisher : Just one individual seen at Backwoods on the 5th March.
Stork-Billed Kingfisher : A widespread species seen in low numbers on ten dates. Sites included the saltpans near the Marina Dourada Hotel, Zuari River(numerous), Backwoods, & Baga Ridge.
White-Throated Kingfisher : A widespread, abundant, & very conspicuous Goan bird. Seen practically anywhere with a drop of water, particularly around Baga itself.
Black-Capped Kingfisher : A fairly widespread species at low densities. Seen on four dates with sites including Baga Ridge, Zuari River(numerous), Backwoods, & behind the Beira Mar Hotel.
Collared Kingfisher : 10+ were seen from the boat trip along the Zuari River on the 4th March. This beautiful species is very localised in Goa, and the Zuari River is by far the best site to connect. It also holds very good numbers of some of the other kingfishers mentioned above.
Pied Kingfisher : A rather uncommon species seen in very low numbers on four dates. Sites included the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel, Carambolim Lake, & Batim Lake.
Green Bee-Eater : A very common widespread bird seen daily in a variety of habitats – practically anywhere with a few bushes.
Blue-Tailed Bee-Eater : Another common widespread species but not as common as the previous. Seen on eight dates. The area behind the Beira Mar Hotel was particularly good.
Chestnut-Headed Bee-Eater : A localised species with only several birds seen at Backwoods on the 5th & 6th March.
Banded Bay Cuckoo : Just two individuals seen. Firstly a brief glimpse along the entrance to Backwoods on the 5th March, and secondly, a much more prolonged view at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Asian Koel : A common and widespread bird in most scrubby & wooded areas. Seen on six dates, but certainly heard everyday – a very characteristic bird call of Goa. Birds can be skulking, but patience will normally result in good views.
Greater Coucal : Another common and widespread species noted in similar habitat to Asian Koel. Seen on eight dates at various sites. The low Owl-like call often reveals their presence.
Vernal Hanging Parrot : Only seen in Backwoods on 6th March. Several birds were seen, but all views were extremely brief in flight. Their distinctive zeep-zeep-zeep calls always told us they were about to fly overhead.
Alexandrine Parakeet : A localised species only observed in small numbers on a few dates at Baga along the road from the Marina Dourada Hotel to Anduna. Birds were clearly getting ready to nest in the palm trees here.
Rose-Ringed Parakeet : A common and widespread bird seen on several dates at various locations. However, not seen at Backwoods.
Plum-Headed Parakeet : A widespread species at rather low densities seen on eight dates. Particularly good sites included Arpora Woods, Baga Hill, Backwoods, & Mayem Lake.
Malabar Parakeet : Seen on both 5th & 6th March at Backwoods with several birds seen on both dates. The viewpoint with Pramod on the afternoon of the 5th gave the best perched views of this Western Ghats endemic.
Indian Swiftlet : Surprisngly only seen on two dates – 1 seen by the Marina Dourada Hotel on the 27th Feb, and several seen near Baga Hill on 8th March. Presumably many birds had already moved on.
White-Rumped Needletail : Several birds seen together from the viewpoint with Pramod at Backwoods on 5th March.
Brown-Backed Needletail : Similarly to the last species, only seen on 5th March from the viewpoint at Backwoods(several birds). Although high up, this was an awesome bird to watch!
Asian Palm Swift : Seen almost daily in small numbers, but pretty much always from our balcony at the Marina Dourada Hotel and around Baga itself.
Little Swift : A relatively common & widespread species being noted on several days with sites including the saltpans near the Marina Dourada Hotel, Baga Ridge, & Mayem Lake.
Crested Treeswift : Several individuals seen, but only at Backwoods on the 6th & 7th March. Clearly, the more open viewpoints were the best place to see these smart birds.
Brown Wood Owl : Just a pair of these stunning birds were seen at their roost site near Saliago on 1st March. Our taxi driver knew the site well, & exactly where to watch from to avoid disturbing them.
Spotted Owlet : By far the commonest & most widespread of the owls in Goa. Seen well on several dates with sites including the gardens behind the Marina Dourada Hotel, the Beira Mar Hotel, Carambolim Lake, Arpora Village, & Dona Paula Plateau.
Brown Hawk Owl : Just one individual found by our taxi driver roosting in the small wood near Carambolim Lake on 9th March. Another excellent species of Owl!
Brown Fish Owl : Just one heard, but not seen at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Sri Lanka Frogmouth : A pair of these brilliant birds was expertly found by Leio our guide at their roost site at Backwoods on 6th March. Leio organised us to observe the birds one by one and keeping a reasonable distance until our turn came up. This meant minimum disturbance was created. Voted one of the highlights of the trip by many.
Grey Nightjar : One was seen extremely well calling and perched on a rock on an open hillside at Backwoods on 6th March. Another two individuals were seen very well roosting in trees at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Indian Nightjar : Just one bird seen roosting near the previous species at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Savanna Nightjar : Wonderful views were had of one bird calling from a low tree & in flight just before dusk on an open hillside at Backwoods on 6th March. Leio pointed out the distinctive call as birds became active. Three birds were heard during the evening. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the trip.
Rock Dove : Widespread & very common in all areas, particularly around habitation.
Mountain Imperial Pigeon : Only seen at Backwoods. A good number were seen, mainly in flight, from one of the watch-points on 5th March with smaller numbers from another watch-point on 6th March.
Spotted Dove : A very common & widespread bird in Goa. Seen daily in decent numbers in practically all areas with scrub and trees.
Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon : 15+ were seen at Mayem Lake on 9th March. This is a very localised bird in Goa.
Pompadour Green Pigeon : Only seen at Backwoods on both 5th & 6th March. Numerous birds were seen on both dates, but viewing could be difficult with their green plumage blending in very well with the foliage.
Slaty-Breasted Rail : Just one individual was seen well preening and bathing out in the open on the small marsh behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 28th Feb.
White-Breasted Waterhen : A common & widespread bird in Goa seen almost daily in several locations. Any area with water & thick damp vegetation appeared to hold this species.
Ruddy-Breasted Crake : Just one bird seen very well on 28th Feb and again on 7th March at the marsh behind the Beira Mar Hotel. This individual was seen directly next to the previous two species giving an excellent comparison.
Baillon’s Crake : Just one bird seen, & again at the Beira Mar on the 28th Feb. Crakes/Rails seemed to be very obliging here favouring on particular small pool to bath in.
Purple Swamphen : Seen in large numbers at Carambolim Lake on the 28th Feb & 9th March, with much smaller numbers being observed at Batim Lake on 4th March.
Moorhen : Several birds seen at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb. Surprisingly, this species is much scarcer than the Swamphens!
Coot : Similarly to Purple Swamphens, seen in large numbers(but not as numerous) at Carambolim Lake & Batim Lake.
Pintail Snipe : Positively identified on a few occasions. Two birds seen very well in flight at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb, followed by a single bird sat out in the open at the Beira Mar Hotel allowed close study of the subtle plumage & structural differences.
Common Snipe : Several definite ‘commons’ were seen in a variety of marshy locations. Several other snipe sp. were not seen well enough to clinch identification.
Whimbrel : A few individuals were seen from the boat trip along the Zuari River on 4th March, whilst a few more were seen on 9th March whilst crossing the Mandovi River.
Curlew : Similarly to Whimbrel, only seen on mud along the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers. However, Curlew was much more numerous at both locations.
Redshank : A very common and widespread bird seen almost daily in many locations including various saltpans, rivers, & the muddy margins of the lakes.
Marsh Sandpiper : Less numerous than Redshank, but nevertheless still common & seen almost daily. Best sites included the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel & both the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers.
Greenshank : Another common & widespread ‘tringa’. Seen in the same locations as the previous two species with numbers similar to those of Marsh Sandpiper.
Green Sandpiper: Only a few birds noted. A couple were seen behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 28th Feb and another single in a damp field near Baga on 2nd March.
Wood Sandpiper : Several seen on most days. Birds frequented most of the paddyfields, saltpans, & marshy areas visited.
Terek Sandpiper : Several birds recorded on two dates. Firstly, along the muddy shores of the Zuari River on 4th March, and secondly, a similar number of birds along the Mandovi River on 9th March.
Common Sandpiper : A very common & widespread bird seen daily along any most saltpans, rivers, paddyfields, etc.
Turnstone : Only three birds seen on the rocks below Baga Ridge on 10th March.
Little Stint : Seen most days, but usually in relatively small numbers on the saltpans opposite the Marina Dourada Hotel.
Temminck’s Stint : Similarly to Little Stint, observed most days in small numbers by the hotel, but also at Carambolim Lake, behind the Beira Mar Hotel, & on the saltpans near the Zuari River.
Black-Winged Stilt : Seen on a few dates in relatively small numbers. Sites included Carambolim Lake, behind the Beira Mar Hotel, & the saltpans near the Zuari River.
Pheasant-Tailed Jacana : Several were seen on both visits to Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb & 9th March, but many more must have been lurking amongst the vegetation. Also a pair was seen on a small pool near the Beira Mar Hotel on a few occasions, with another few birds seen at Batim Lake on 4th March.
Bronze-Winged Jacana : Seen in much larger numbers than the previous species with tens of birds on both visits to Carambolim Lake, & several also at Batim Lake.
Pacific Golden Plover : Recorded almost daily, but only on the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel & by the Zuari River. The maximum count was 14 birds on 2nd March.
Grey Plover : Several seen on the muddy margins of both the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers on 4th & 9th March respectively.
Little Ringed Plover : A very common & widespread bird noted on most of the saltpans, paddyfields, & lake edges.
Kentish Plover : Only seen on two days with c.50 birds on Morjim Beach on 2nd March & several along the Mandovi River on 9th March.
Lesser Sand Plover : A very disappointing total with only a single bird seen on Morjim Beach on 2nd March, plus another individual on the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel on 11th March.
Greater Sand Plover : Another disappointing total with just 3 birds seen on Morjim Beach on 2nd March.
Yellow-Wattled Lapwing : A localised species in Goa, with 3 birds seen at the Dona Plateau on 4th March.
Red-Wattled Lapwing : A very common & widespread species indeed. Seen daily in large numbers around fields, rivers, saltpans, marshes etc. In fact, impossible to miss!
Caspian Gull : Large numbers observed at Morjim Beach at high tide on 2nd March. Birds certainly showed the variation of eye colour, mantle colour, & bill structure.
Greater Black-Headed Gull : Over 50 of these superb birds were noted at Morjim Beach on 2nd March. Most were cracking adults, but a numbers of 1st year and other younger birds were seen.
Slender-Billed Gull : Several birds were seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March amongst the hordes of other gulls. These were a mixture of adult & young birds.
Brown-Headed Gull : The commonest gull with several hundred seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March. Also, small numbers seen in flight off Baga Beach & Ridge on a few occasions.
Black-Headed Gull : A few hundred seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March where it was outnumbered by the previous species.
Gull-Billed Tern : The commonest tern, noted on several days in small numbers. Sites were varied & included Carambolim Lake, Morjim Beach, & the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers.
Sandwich Tern : A scarce species with only several seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March.
Lesser Crested Tern : Similarly to other gulls & terns, only seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March where 30+ were observed.
Greater Crested Tern : Scarcer than the previous species with several seen at Morjim Beach on 2nd March.
Osprey : Singles were seen on several dates. Sites included the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel, Zuari River, & Mandovi River
Black-Shouldered Kite : Just one individual was seen over the large fields near Carambolim Lake on 9th March.
Black Kite : An abundant bird seen daily in very large numbers near the coast. Not seen however in the Western Ghats.
Brahminy Kite : Another abundant bird seen in very large numbers anywhere near the coast, but only one seen in the Western Ghats. Albeit common, this is a beautiful species.
White-Bellied Sea Eagle : A relatively common species, noted on eight dates. Seen regularly around Marina Dourada Hotel/Baga Hill/Arpora Woods area, but also at Morjim Beach, & a few at the Zuari River including a stunning bird perched close to our boat.
Crested Serpent Eagle : Several birds were seen. Seen on a few occasions above Arpora Woods viewed from the Marina Dourada Hotel or the nearby saltpans, also a couple from a viewpoint at Backwoods on 7th March, & a single over Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Black Eagle : Similarly to the previous species, several birds encountered in similar wooded & hilly habitats. The first was seen for a lengthy period over Arpora Woods on 3rd March viewed from the Marina Dourada Hotel, & consequently a few birds were seen from viewpoints at Backwoods on 5th & 10th March.
Marsh Harrier : A common raptor in suitable habitat, observed on at least seven dates. Sites included Carambolim Lake, behind the Beira Mar Hotel, the saltpans near the Marina Dourada Hotel, & Batim Lake.
Shikra : A common species seen almost daily either circling above or dashing around in Sparrowhawk-like fashion. Seen in a variety of sites with patches of woodland.
Besra : Just one individual seen at Backwoods on 6th March.
Oriental Honey Buzzard : Seen on several dates with over 20 individuals observed. Sites included Baga Hill, Baga Ridge, & various locations at Backwoods.
Greater Spotted Eagle : An uncommon species, but nevertheless seen on three dates. An adult at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb showed very well sat on the ground, whilst others included 3 together over the Zuari River & 2 over Arpora Woods all on 4th March, and a single at Backwoods on 6th March.
Booted Eagle : A rather common raptor noted on several days. A variety of pale & dark morph birds were seen. Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, near Morjim Beach, & Backwoods all produced regular sightings.
Rufous-Bellied Eagle : Only seen at Backwoods at a viewpoint with Pramod on 5th March where 2-3 individuals were seen very well.
Changeable Hawk Eagle : Just two individuals were seen. A rather dark bird was seen at Arpora Woods on both 27th Feb & 11th March. On the latter date, it was seen carrying a reptile. Another individual(a very pale bird)was seen extremely well perched in a dead tree at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Mountain Hawk Eagle : One single bird was observed at a viewpoint at Backwoods on 7th March with Leio where it was harassed by an Oriental Honey Buzzard.
Peregrine : Surprisingly, only one record – a lone individual on a distant pylon viewed from our boat along the Zuari River on 4th March.
Little Cormorant : A very common and widespread species noted daily in most habitats near water. Birds often appeared very tame & would allow close approach.
Indian Cormorant : Just one bird was seen in flight along the Zuari River on 4th March. Unfortunately, no access has been allowed recently to the Ciba Geigy Pools where this species can easily be encountered.
Little Egret : A very common & widespread bird seen daily particularly around any saltpans, lakes and marshy areas.
Western Reef Egret : Much scarcer than the previous species seen on 5 dates but in small numbers and always on the coast. Best sites included the rocky shore below Baga Ridge, & the Zuari & Mandovi Rivers.
Great White Egret : Another common egret seen almost daily, but generally in smaller numbers and more solitary than Little. Seen around many pools, saltpans and marshes. The highest concentrations were at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb & 9th March.
Intermediate Egret : A relatively common species seen on a few dates. Most common at Carambolim Lake where many were seen on both visits. A single was also seen a few times on the marsh behind the Beira Mar Hotel.
Cattle Egret : An abundant roadside bird seen everywhere. Very hard to miss!
Indian Pond Heron : Another abundant species seen in very large numbers in a variety of habitats, even some distance from water.
Grey Heron : A regularly seen heron, but generally in small numbers around many of the saltpans, marshes, rivers, & lakes.
Purple Heron : Uncommoner than the previous species, but still seen on several dates at a variety of the wetland sites.
Sriated Heron : Another common heron seen on several dates particularly around the rivers, mangroves, & well vegetated pools. The rather unobtrusive habits means that some birds go unnoticed.
Black-Crowned Night Heron : A relatively common species, but tricky to locate as always. Birds regularly flew over the Marina Dourada Hotel at dusk, and were also seen coming to feed in small numbers as the light fell behind the Beira Mar Hotel. A much larger number was seen though roosting in the mangroves along the Zuari River on 4th March.
Cinnamon Bittern : A very shy & difficult bird to observe well. Just one individual was seen twice at dusk behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 2nd & 7th March.
Glossy Ibis : An uncommon species only seen at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb & 9th March when several individuals were seen on both dates.
Black-Headed Ibis : Several seen on mud along the shore of the Zuari River on 4th March were the only birds noted.
Asian Openbill : A localised bird seen on only 2nd March when 16 birds were observed on a roadside rice field on the way to Morjim Beach.
Wooly-Necked Stork : Another uncommon stork seen on two dates. Firstly, 2 birds were seen together behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 28th Feb. These were followed by two more birds(or possibly the same pair) circling over Baga Hill on 1st March.
Lesser Adjutant : Yet another uncommon stork species only seen on 9th March. The first bird was seen in rice fields close to Mayem Lake, & this sighting was surpassed by 5 birds soaring over the Mandovi River near Charao Island.
Indian Pitta : A truly superb bird with three birds seen extremely well. Firstly seen on 27th Feb at Arpora Woods foraging in the leaf litter at very close range. Another or the same individual was seen at the same location in the open on the path on 3rd March. Finally, a single bird was seen feeding along a small stream behind the kitchen at Backwoods on 7th March.
Asian Fairy Bluebird : Only seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March when several birds were seen on both dates from viewpoints. Birds were mainly seen in flight, but a few of the stunning males were also seen perched.
Golden-Fronted Leafbird : Another colourful forest bird noted on three days. Several birds were seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March, & another single was seen at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Long-Tailed Shrike : A very common & widespread species noted daily in most areas with bushes & scrub.
Rufous Treepie : An impressive colourful magpie-like species seen on several dates. Birds were always in wooded areas & sites included Baga Hill, around the Marina Dourada Hotel, Arpora Woods, & Backwoods.
House Crow : A truly abundant bird. In fact rather a pest, which cannot be missed!
Large-Billed Crow : Noticeably scarcer than the previous species, but still seen on many days, mainly in wooded areas.
Ashy Woodswallow : A real personal favourite. These brilliant birds were fairly common & seen in a variety of habitats on several days. Sites included the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel, Arpora Village, & various places at Backwoods.
Eurasian Golden Oriole : A very common species in most wooded habitat seen in decent numbers on many days. Particularly numerous around Backwoods were small flock were encountered.
Black-Hooded Oriole : Scarcer than the previous species, but still seen on several days in most of the wooded sites visited. The song fluty song often revealed the presence of this attractive species.
Black-Naped Oriole : A very scarce & localised bird in Goa, which we only found at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March with single birds being seen on both dates.
Black-Headed Cuckooshrike : Just three individuals seen. A male at Backwoods on 7th March was followed by another male on Baga Hill on 8th March. Much better, however, was a female showing very well at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Small Minivet : A fairly common species seen on several dates in areas of more extensive woodland. Prime sites included Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, & Backwoods.
Scarlet Minivet : Only seen at Backwoods on 5th, 6th, & 7th March with several birds being seen on all three days.
Bar-Winged Flycatcher-Shrike : Just three individuals seen all at Backwoods. Two on 6th March, & a single on 7th March.
White-Throated Fantail : A fairly common species being observed on several days at most sites with woodland habitat. A really impressive bird due to its bizarre posture & movements.
Black Drongo : An abundant bird seen daily in a variety of habitats, but appearing to be scarcer in the more extensive forest habitats.
Ashy Drongo : A common species seen almost daily in decent numbers. Seen primarily in wooded areas where it is almost as common as the previous species.
White-Bellied Drongo : Seen only in well wooded areas on four dates when a few birds were seen on each date. Sites included Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, & Mayem Lake.
Bronzed Drongo : Slightly commoner than the previous species being seen in similar habitat on several dates with sites including Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, Backwoods & Mayem Lake.
Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo : A striking & impressive species due to its bizarre tail streamers only seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March with several birds on both dates.
Black-Naped Monarch : Surprisingly, only seen on two dates. Firstly seen near Calangute at the Brown Wood Owl site, then a couple of birds were noted at Backwoods on 6th March.
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher : As the name suggests, a stunningly attractive bird. Birds were relatively common in wooded areas & were observed at a variety of sites on several days.
Common Iora : A very common & widespread species being recorded almost daily in many areas with trees.
Large Woodshrike : Just one individual seen at Backwoods on 5th March.
Common Woodshrike : Only two birds seen. Firstly, a single at Baga Hill on 8th March followed by another single at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Blue Rock Thrush : A single male was seen along the coastal rocky outcrop at Baga Ridge on 10th March.
Malabar Whistling Thrush : A few birds were seen. A singing male seen in poor light at Backwoods on 5th March was followed by much better views of at least two birds around the streams at Backwoods on 6th March.
Orange-Headed Thrush : Several birds were seen at Backwoods on 5th March.
Eurasian Blackbird : A female was noted at Backwoods next to the Pitta on 7th March. Another bird with a pale patch behind the eye & greyer plumage seen at Arpora Woods on 11th March was certainly of the race nigropileus.
Brown-Breasted Flycatcher : Several birds of this scarce species were seen well at Backwoods on 6th March. These were followed by a single bird at Mayem Lake 9th March.
Taiga Flycatcher : Several birds were observed around various sites at Backwoods between 5th & 7th March. These gave an excellent opportunity to study the subtle plumage detail differences of this recently recognised species.
White-Bellied Blue Flycatcher : Just two individuals were seen at Backwoods. A rather brief view on 5th March was followed by brilliant views of this superb species on 6th March.
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher : By far the commonest flycatcher seen on several dates at most of the well wooded sites.
Desert Wheatear : A Goan MEGA. A long staying single female was seen at the Dona Paula Plateau on 4th March.
Bluethroat : Seen on just two dates on the marsh behind the Beira Mar Hotel. At least two were seen on 28th Feb and a single was seen on 7th March.
Oriental Magpie Robin : An abundant & often tame species seen daily in most areas with bushes & trees.
Indian Robin : A surprisingly uncommon bird on our visit seen on only four dates : A single at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb, another single near Calangute on 1st March, a pair at the Dona Paula Plateau on 4th March, & finally a single at Baga Ridge on 10th March.
Common Stonechat : Only seen on two dates. Two were seen at Baga Fields on 28th Feb and another male was seen in a rice field not far from Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Pied Bushchat : A common species noted almost daily particularly in rather open, dry, bushy habitat.
Chestnut-Tailed Starling : A frequently seen bird almost always in flocks and very often around fruiting trees. Recorded at various sites throughout the two weeks. Particularly common around Baga & the surrounding area.
Rose-Coloured Starling : Another common & widespread species during our trip & often observed side by side with the previous species.
Common Myna : Certainly not ‘common’ & seen on only three days & mainly around Baga & the Marina Dourada Hotel.
Jungle Myna : An abundant bird seen daily in very large numbers, particularly around fields and farmland.
Hill Myna : A scarce & localised species only seen at Backwoods. Two were seen from a viewpoint on 5th March whilst another pair were seen near the Tambdi Surla Temple on 6th March.
Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch : Just two birds seen at Backwoods close to the camp on 5th March. A very attractive species.
Black-Lored Tit : Only three birds seen. A single at Baga Hill on 1st March was followed by a pair behind the Marina Dourada Hotel o 2nd March. A smart bird!
Barn Swallow : An extremely common & widespread bird seen everyday in a variety of habitats.
Wire-Tailed Swallow : A common & widespread species also seen daily but in much smaller numbers than the previous & next species.
Red-Rumped Swallow : Another extremely common & widespread species recorded everyday. Undoubtedly the commonest hirundine seen in Goa.
Streak-Throated Swallow : Much scarcer than the previous species but still seen on several days. The best site was the saltpans by the Marina Dourada Hotel but also observed at Backwoods.
Grey-Headed Bulbul : An uncommon & localised species only seen at Backwoods on 6th March when several were seen mainly in pairs or small groups.
Black-Crested Bulbul : A localised species, but fairly common around Backwoods on 5th & 6th March when at least 10 were seen on both days.
Red-Whiskered Bulbul : A very common, widespread, & vocal species seen daily. Birds frequented most areas with trees, bushes, & scrub.
Red-Vented Bulbul : Another common(though not as numerous as the previous species) bird seen almost daily in scrubby & wooded habitat.
White-Browed Bulbul : A fairly common though rather retiring species seen on several dates at a variety of the scrubby & wooded habitats.
Yellow-Browed Bulbul : Similarly to Black-Crested Bulbul, this is a localised species but rather easy to see at Backwoods. Several birds were seen on both 5th & 6th March.
Black Bulbul : An uncommon & localised species only seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March with a single on the first date & a group of several birds on the second date.
Grey-Breasted Prinia : Noted on three dates. A single at Arpora Woods on 27th Feb was followed by another single on Baga Hill on 1st March, & then a few together again at Baga Hill on 8th March.
Plain Prinia : Only a few positively identified. A pair showed very well at the Baga Fields on 28th Feb, whilst another 3 were seen at Backwoods on 7th March. Several other very skulking brown prinias seen throughout the two weeks were believed to be of this species.
Ashy Prinia : Seen on four dates. Firstly, a single was seen by the Marina Dourada Hotel on 26th Feb with a pair showing well at the nearby saltpans on 27th Feb. Another pair gave good views at the Baga Fields on 28th Feb. A single was seen rather briefly behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 7th March, and the last was again around the saltpans near the Marina Dourada Hotel on 11th March.
Paddyfield Warbler : A surprisingly uncommon species during our visit. Presumably, many had already left for breeding sites. A single was noted at Backwoods on 7th March followed by 2 birds at Arpora Woods on 11th March.
Blyth’s Reed Warbler : A very common warbler indeed. Seen almost daily in a variety of scrubby & wooded areas. Some birds afforded excellent views enabling close scrutiny of their subtle characteristics.
Clamorous Reed Warbler : Just three individuals observed : A rather showy bird at Carambolim Lake on 28th Feb, another single in amongst a feeding flock at Backwoods 7th March, and finally a bird in the damp vegetation behind the Beira Mar Hotel also on 7th March.
Common Tailorbird : A common & widespread species seen on several dates at most of the woodland sites. A rather attractive little bird!
Greenish Warbler : Another common warbler. This species was noted almost daily in any areas with stands of trees. The distinctive call regularly drew attention to their presence.
Western Crowned Warbler : Only seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March where several were seen. The open areas around the campsite were as good as anywhere.
Puff-Throated Babbler : Seen on several dates. Sites included Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, Mayem Lake, & Backwoods. Some birds gave stunning views down to a few feet foraging in the leaf litter. As with many woodland birds, listening for rustling is always a good way to find them. Birds certainly appeared more unobtrusive rather than actually shy.
Dark-Fronted Babbler : Seen at Backwoods on 5th, 6th, & 7th March. Birds in small parties were seen on all three dates.
Jungle Babbler : A rather common & widespread species seen on several dates always in groups of several noisy birds. Prime sites included Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, & Backwoods.
Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta : Another rather common woodland species, though quite retiring habits & drab plumage means they could be overlooked. Seen on several dates at the same sites as the previous species.
Ashy-Crowned Sparrow Lark : A very localised bird only observed at the Dona Paula Plateau on 4th March where at least 4 birds were seen including a couple of the smart males.
Rufous-Tailed Lark : Just one individual seen in the fields near to Carambolim Lake on 9th March. The rufous uppertail coverts & tail really stood out a mile in flight.
Malabar Lark : Seen on a few dates with sites including Baga Fields, the saltpans near the Marina Dourada Hotel, near Calangute village, & the Dona Paula Plateau. Several of the birds certainly did not appear as rufous as the field guides illustrate them.
Oriental Skylark : A very localised species only seen at the Dona Paula Plateau on 4th March when a pair was seen at very close quarters.
Pale-Billed Flowerpecker : A fairly common species seen at most of the woodland sites. Baga Hill appeared a very reliable site.
Plain Flowerpecker : A very common species noted almost daily in any wooded habitat. Certainly commoner than the previous species. Many other flowerpecker sp. were seen in their buzzing flight mode as they dashed through the trees & consequently couldn’t be ascertained to specific species.
Purple-Rumped Sunbird : The commonest sunbird seen in good numbers almost daily in areas with bushes & trees. They were not quite as common when at Backwoods.
Crimson-Backed Sunbird : Only seen at Backwoods on 5th, 6th, & 7th March where rather common. This species almost appears to replace the previous species at many of the Backwoods sites.
Purple Sunbird : Another common sunbird seen on several dates at a variety of the woodland sites.
Loten’s Sunbird : Just three individuals recorded being a female at Backwoods on 7th March followed by a male & female at Mayem Lake on 9th March.
Crimson Sunbird : An uncommon species seen on four dates mainly around Baga Hill, Arpora Woods, & in wooded areas around Baga town itself. Males are truly stunning birds!
House Sparrow : Frequently recorded around habitation & villages, but in all fairness to them, not much attention was paid.
Chestnut-Shouldered Petronia : Only seen at Backwoods on 5th & 6th March when several birds were seen on both dates.
White-Browed Wagtail : A very common & widespread species seen in a variety of wet & dry habitats. A very easy & vocal species.
‘Yellow’ Wagtail : Several birds were seen around various saltpans & notably Carambolim Lake. Plumage details were too non descript to determine specific subspecies status. No adult males were observed.
Grey Wagtail : Just one lone bird was seen near the Tamdi Surla Temple at Backwoods on 6th March.
Richard’s Pipit : A common & widespread species seen in a variety of fields & cultivation. Some birds allowed very close approach.
Paddyfield Pipit : Another fairly common pipit seen in the same habitats at the previous. Many birds appeared extremely similar plumage-wise to Richard’s, but the diagnostic chip-chip-chip call gave them away.
Tawny Pipit : Surprisingly, just one bird recorded at the Dona Paula Plateau on 4th March.
Tree Pipit : One single seen on bushes behind the Beira Mar Hotel on 28th Feb.
White-Rumped Munia : A very common & widespread species seen daily in most areas with bushes & scrub(even in the climbing plants which covered parts of the Marina Dourada Hotel)
Scaly-Breasted Munia : Only seen on 7th March behind the Beira Mar Hotel when 5 individuals were seen sat in the bushes in the marsh.
Black-Throated Munia : A very localised species only seen at Backwoods on 5th March when several birds were noted.