The tiny state of Goa (which measures less than 80 miles by 50 miles) has a bird list of over 450 species, including more than half of the species which are either endemic or near-endemic to the Western Ghats. Those we hope to find include Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Flame-throated Bulbul, Crimson-backed Sunbird and White-bellied Blue Flycatcher. We will also look for a host of South Indian specialities such as Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Malabar Trogon, as well as forest and coastal species including Indian Pitta, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Indian Scops Owl, Jerdon’s Nightjar, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Lesser Adjutant plus eight species of kingfisher.
In addition to the wonderful avifauna, there are many beautiful butterflies (with over 250 species recorded in Goa) as well as some exciting Indian mammals.
Broadly speaking, Goa can be divided into three main ecological regions: the low-lying coastal plain dissected by numerous mangrove-lined waterways and freshwater wetlands, the central dry, rocky plateau of scrub and savannah grassland and the undulating tropical forests of the interior. From its Arabian Sea coastline, the terrain rises into the Sahyadri Range of the Western Ghats. The proximity of the ghats to the sea results in a considerable variety of habitats and thus an amazing diversity of species.
Our trip to Goa differs from those of some other companies as we use three centres rather than the traditional two. We start by spending three nights in South Goa, an area that is surprisingly under watched given the superb woodland habitat in the foothills of the Western Ghats. From there, we move northeast to spend three nights at a birding lodge close to an impressive forest reserve, Bhagwaan Mahaveer, before concluding our holiday with four nights near the coast at the resort of Arpora, where we explore a fine array of wetland, coastal, grassland and woodland sites and take a boat trip along the Zuari river.
This tour offers a relaxed, comfortable and bird-filled introduction to India, making it ideal for first-time visitors, and a refreshingly ‘easy’, yet remarkably diverse, birding destination for more experienced travellers to the Indian Subcontinent. Accommodation is good and on a previous tour some clients rated the tasty cuisine as the ‘best ever on a bird tour’.
Limosa has operated a wide-ranging programme of birdwatching tours across India since 1990. Our January 2022 tour will be guide David Walsh’s ninth visit to the Indian subcontinent and his third trip to Goa accompanied by our local wildlife expert.
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