Discovering the wildlife of Goa

Updated on Oct 09, 2019 by Stacey Parsons

Blog > Discovering the wildlife of Goa

To help you track down the most exciting Goa wildlife on your holiday, we've put together a comprehensive guide of all the wonderful wildlife in Goa that you should look out for, and where to find it.

With varying altitudes and soil types, Goa is home to a diversity of forests – from mangrove trees crowding muddy river banks, to open scrub jungle and sub-tropical hill forests.

Among this magnificent flora, a plethora of different species of wildlife can be found, including Indian giant squirrels, Mongoose, slender loris and sloth bears. Plus, with over 400 species of birdlife to find, there’s certainly something for every wildlife-lover.  

Read on to find out where you should go to see the best wildlife in Goa, and what species to look out for...


The birds of Goa

From the slender necked, near threatened Oriental Darter to the rather colourful Purple Swamphen, there’s a lot to be discovered in Goa in the way of birdlife.

A staggering 450 species of avifauna were reported in the state in 2014, so be sure to pack your binoculars and camera equipment to get some great shots of these wonderful birds. 

Oriental Darter, image credit: Koshy Koshy, Flickr

Purple Swamphen, image credit: Soumyadeep Chatterjee, Flickr



Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao

Goa’s only bird sanctuary, a short drive and ferry ride from Panaji will find you in a bird lover’s paradise. Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a great place to visit during the winter, as you’ll get to experience not only the native birds, but several species of migratory birds too. Rich mangroves provide homes to a plethora of different species, including the beautiful blue-winged teals and pintails. Hop in a boat from Chorao Island, where you can cruise through the meandering tributaries up to the watch tower for fantastic panoramic views of the sanctuary.

Another wonderful way that you can experience the birds of Goa is through our Wildernest excursion. Here, you’ll spend a night in an eco-lodge in the picturesque Sahyadri Valley, where you’ll have the opportunity to spend some time exploring some of the best birdwatching trails in Goa.

Blue-winged Teal, image credit: Dan Pancamo, Flickr

Pintail duck, image credit: coniferconifer, Flickr



Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem  

Around an hour and a half’s drive inland is Mollem National Park, home to the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. The largest of Goa’s protected wildlife areas covering 240-sq-kms; this sanctuary is one of the best places to see wildlife in Goa.

The best way to explore is to book an organised tour, so you can get the most out of your trip, and have an opportunity to see Goa wildlife ranging from gaur and chitals (spotted deer), to elephants and jungle cats.

An impressive natural feature that you can also see (and take a little dip in) here is the Dudhsagar Falls, a stunning 603m long waterfall, translated to literally mean 'ocean of milk'. 

Indian Gaur, image credit: Jean, Flickr

Chital, image credit: Srikaanth Sekar, Flickr



Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona Taluka

If you’re after a true jungle setting, where the trees are so tall that barely any light finds the ground, then Cotigao – the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa - is perfect for discovering wildlife in Goa.

Located 60km south of Panaji, there are some true gems to be spotted here. From the Malabar crested eagle to monkeys, spotted hyenas and Indian pangolin, explore the wilderness through the undergrowth, and experience a calming silence like no other.

Watchtowers dotted around the sanctuary provide great views, and are ideal places to sit and wait for the jungle to come to life. This sanctuary is best visited between October and March for a chance of spotting the wild animals of Goa. 

Pangolin, image credit: David Brossard, Flickr

Spotted Hyena, image credit: AindriúH, Flickr



Mandovi – Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary, Dauna Paula

Located just 10km from Panaji, the Mandovi – Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary (or Goa Wildlife Sanctuary) is Goa’s most visited nature reserve. A fantastic place to see both flora and fauna, this sanctuary is home to around 20 different species of mangrove, including the rare kandelia candel variety. Due to the rich plant life, the wildlife in turn thrives, and an assortment of fish, snakes, jackals and crocodiles are just a small selection of the animals in Goa that dwell here. 

kandelia candel, image credit: Vengolis, Wikimedia Commons

If a trip to Goa sounds like your next ideal destination, then visit The Goa Experience website to start planning the holiday of a lifetime.  

Please note, the information provided within the external links we have been unable to verify, so please bear in mind that this information is subject to change. 


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