Birding in Goa 

20/12/98 to 2/1/99

See photo page here

This is the systematic list report for a trip to Goa, India, undertaken by Julia Casson, Jacky Harris, Chris Mills and Simon Woolley (all UK). We travelled on a package deal with Manos Holidays, staying at the Marina Dourada hotel at Arpora, Baga. The hotel was excellent and very well placed, and we would recommend it.

Our trip to Molem was arranged by 'BackWoods', a local company run by Leio de Souza et al., and again we would not hesitate to recommend their services. They offer full transportation, 'luxury' tented accommodation (i.e. they have beds, showers and flush toilets!) in the jungle and full board for about 20 pounds sterling per person per day/night.

Backwoods contact details :

Fernandes Vaddo
GOA 403517,

Tel 91 832 436109
Fax 91 832 224901/272341

or alternatively :

Travasso De Cruz,
31st January Road,
St. Tome,
GOA 403 001,

Tel 91 832 236109

Further details available direct by e-mail from Simon Woolley.

We'd much appreciate any comments or observations re. this report, whether you've been to Goa, or are about to go, or are thinking of it. It's brilliant!


20th December 1998 - 2nd January 1999



Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

A few present at Carambolim Lake on each visit
Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

Two flew over with Little Cormorants near Saligao early 31/12. The species is apparently something of a rarity in Goa
Indian Cormorant (or Shag)

Phalacrocorax fuscicollis

About 200 at Ciba-Geigy 23/12, and a few at Carambolim Lake 29/12
Little Cormorant

Phalacrocorax niger

Up to 30 around Baga almost daily, and a few also at Carambolim Lake, and in flight elsewhere
Oriental Darter

Anhinga melanogaster

Two adults and 2 juveniles at Ciba-Geigy 23/12
Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Up to 3 seen on most days, mostly around Baga
Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

Singles seen at Baga and Carambolim Lake, and 2 at Ciba-Geigy 23/12
Striated Heron

Butorides striatus

Noted almost daily around Baga, with a few at other sites such as Carambolim Lake
Indian Pond Heron

Ardeola grayii

Very common indeed, often seen far from water
Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

Commonly seen at the roadside and in fields throughout Goa
Great White Egret

Casmerodius albus

Up to 10 seen most days around Baga; also at Carambolim Lake
Intermediate Egret

Mesophoyx intermedia

A few on the hotel lakes most days, and over 150 present on the Carambolim Lake rice paddies on each visit
Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Very common around the coast and at all wetland habitats
Western Reef Egret

Egretta gularis

A few seen at the coast, max. 9 off Panjim salt pans 23/12, with dark birds predominating. One on the hotel lakes 20/12
Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Two were seen flying over the hotel towards the Beira Mar Hotel area at about 6.40pm 20/12 and 1/1, with one doing the same 30/12
Cinnamon Bittern

Ixobrychus cinnamomeus

The regular female at the Beira Mar Hotel showed very well at dusk 26/12
Asian Openbill Stork

Anastomus oscitans

34 were present at Ciba-Geigy 23/12, and one flew over Carambolim Lake the same afternoon. Also, one was perched in mangroves beside the Mandovi River 24/12
Woolly-necked Stork

Ciconia episcopus

One at Ciba-Geigy 23/12, and one in flight near Saligao 31/12
Lesser Adjutant

Leptoptilos javanicus

Three were present at Ciba-Geigy 23/12. This site has apparently been quite dependable this winter, with birds also being seen on the mangroves on Chorao Island
Lesser Whistling Duck

Dendrocygna javanica

Nine flew over the hotel salt pans early 22/12. Very numerous at Carambolim Lake, with over 500 present on both visits
Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

About 10 at Carambolim Lake 23/12

Anas querquedula

500+ present at Carambolim Lake on each visit
Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Two females at Carambolim Lake 23/12 and a drake there 29/12 - doubtless there were more!
Cotton Pygmy-goose

Nettapus coromandelianus

About 30 seen at Carambolim Lake on each visit
Oriental Honey-buzzard

Pernis ptilorhynchus

Two were apparently resident around the hotel and Baga Hill, and clearly other birds also in the area, but sightings dried up in the second week. Also noted at Molem
Black Kite

Milvus migrans

Very common, with the population showing a good mixture of resident and migrant race birds. Oddly, absent in the Ghats
Brahminy Kite

Haliastur indus

Very common near the coast, but again, absent inland. Beware ID problems with immature birds!

Accipiter badius

Eight singles noted, mostly at Baga
Common Buzzard

Buteo buteo

One over Coco Beach 24/12, and another over Baga Hill 2/1
Long-legged Buzzard

Buteo rufinus

One over Baga Hill 30/12 and 1/1
Changeable (Crested) Hawk Eagle

Spizaetus cirrhatus

One very vocal individual on the east side of Maem Lake 31/12. Listen for the insistent, rising crescendo of 7 or eight "kleee" notes. The bird regularly favours the exposed 'ash-like' tree about 50 yards north of the dam
Booted Eagle

Hieraaetus pennatus

Daily sightings at Baga 20-26/12, max. 2 22/12, then 3 more there 29/12 and 30/12. Sightings of pale birds outnumbered those of dark birds 7:4
Rufous-bellied Eagle

Hieraaetus kienerii

Three soaring over Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 29/12
Lesser Spotted Eagle

Aquila pomarina

One sub-adult behind the Beira Mar Hotel 21/12 was seen with another bird there 26/12. Also, one near the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 29/12, and another over fields near Saligao 31/12. The species is perhaps more frequent in Goa than is currently thought
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Haliaeetus leucogaster

A total of fourteen sighting of this magnificent bird, the best being an adult on posts off Panjim saltpans 29/12, and an adult in pursuit of a second year bird at Fort Aguada 1/1. Likely to be encountered almost anywhere along the coastal strip
Eurasian Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Nineteen sightings, all over the fields and marshes around Baga and Carambolim Lake
Crested Serpent Eagle

Spilornis cheela

Heard frequently at Molem, and three seen soaring over the forest there

Pandion haliaetus

Present throughout at Baga, with up to 3 on the hotel lakes, but usually just one seen each day
Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

One was over Baga Hill 1/1. In addition, a large falcon seen the day before near Saligao was thought more likely to have been a Laggar Falcon
Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

A male at Vasco da Gama airport 20/12 was the only sighting
Red Spurfowl

Galloperdix spadicea

Two seen briefly on Baga Hill 1/1. Other birders reported more satisfactory sightings near the shrine, early morning only
Grey Junglefowl

Gallus sonneratii

Heard at Tambdi Surla 27/12, and a male and two females seen on the Devil's Canyon Trail, Molem 28/12. Again, early morning is the key time
Indian Peafowl

Pavo cristatus

The only sighting was of a male by the river at Backwoods Camp, Molem 28/12. In addition, feathers were found at Baga Hill on two occasions! Several also reported from the top of Fort Aguada hill
Barred (Common) Buttonquail

Turnix suscitator

Two were seen briefly in the scrub behind Morji beach 25/12. A probable was flushed the next day on top of Baga Hill, and another buttonquail sp. was seen near Backwoods Camp, Molem 28/12
White-breasted Waterhen

Amaurornis phoenicurus

A few noted on most days around almost any wet habitat. A surprisingly shy bird

Gallicrex cinerea

A female was behind the Beira Mar Hotel 21/12, and two were seen there 26/12. Huge birds, likened to a Pheasant x Corncrake hybrid! They don't seem to emerge until it is almost dark (ditto the other 'specials' at the Beira Mar)
Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

Present in large numbers at Carambolim Lake
Purple Swamphen

Porphyrio porphyrio

100+ at Carambolim Lake on each visit. The birds appear to be of the grey-headed (sub?)species poliocephalus
Common Coot

Fulica atra

Present in large numbers at Carambolim Lake
Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Hydrophasianus chirurgus

About 100 at Carambolim Lake on each visit
Bronze-winged Jacana

Metopidius indicus

Less numerous than the previous species, but still common at Carambolim Lake with about 50 birds seen
Red-wattled Lapwing

Vanellus indicus

Up to 15 around Baga daily, and a few seen at other sites
Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Vanellus malabaricus

Seven on flooded rice fields at Mardol, en route to Bondla 27/12. Also reported from Dona Paula
Grey Plover

Pluvialis squatarola

About 20 on the Chapora Estuary 2/1
Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii

Much scarcer than Lesser Sand Plover, with 5 on the first visit to Morji Beach 24/12, and only 2 the next day
Little Ringed Plover

Charadrius dubius

Common around Baga, with up to 25 birds in a day
Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

Four at Baga and 2 at Morji Beach 24/12, with about 20 at the latter site 25/12
Lesser Sand Plover

Chardrius mongolus

Up to 100 seen at Morji Beach on each visit
Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa

One on the flooded rice paddies at Carambolim Lake 29/12; apparently a fairly extreme Goan rarity!

Numenius phaeopus

About 10 on the Mandovi River 24/12
Eurasian Curlew

Numenius arquata

One on the Mandovi River 24/12, and four on the Chapora Estuary 2/1
Spotted Redshank

Tringa erythropus

Ten bird days at the lakes around the hotel, though apparently absent towards the end of our stay
Common Redshank

Tringa totanus

Common on the hotel lakes
Marsh Sandpiper

Tringa stagnatilis

Up to five regularly on the hotel lakes, and about 10 on each visit to Carambolim Lake
Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

Up to 10 seen almost daily
Green Sandpiper

Tringa ochropus

Twelve birds noted at the hotel lakes and Carambolim Lake
Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola

Present in good numbers at the hotel lakes, max. 15, and also up to 50 at Carambolim Lake
Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleucos

Very common around the lakes and canals at Baga
Pintail Snipe

Gallinago stenura

Twelve certain birds were noted, at Candolim, Baga Fields, with a max. of 6 behind the Beira Mar Hotel 26/12. Not difficult to identify if seen well - concentrate on structure and the trailing edge of the wing. Some other snipe may have been of this species too
Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

Two behind the Beira Mar Hotel 26/12; probably others too (see above)

Calidris alba

About twenty at the Chapora Estuary 2/1
Little Stint

Calidris minuta

Forty at Carambolim Lake 23/12, and about 20 there and near the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 29/12
Temminck's Stint

Calidris temminckii

Three on the hotel lakes 30/12, with 2 still there the next day
Greater Painted-snipe

Rostratula benghalensis

About three seen very poorly behind the Beira Mar Hotel 21/12, but 4 showed in much better light there 26/12
Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus

Up to 20 on the rice fields at Carambolim Lake on each visit
Small Pratincole

Glareola lactea

Good numbers seen. About 30 were behind the Beira Mar Hotel 21/12, then 500 at Carambolim Lake 23/12 (with 100 there 29/12), 100 and 250 at Morji beach 24/12 and 25/12, and about 30 more spread over the last four days of the trip around Baga
Caspian Gull

Larus cachinnans

The predominant gull species on the Chapora Estuary, with upwards of 500 birds present on each visit. The birds seem to show very much more variation in e.g. eye colour and primary pattern than the widely cited European literature sometimes suggests!
Heuglin's Gull

Larus heuglini

Rather scarcer than the previous species, with between 50 and 100 noted at Morji Beach
Great Black-headed Gull

Larus ichthyaetus

Three adults at Morji Beach 24/12, but only one there the next day. However, 14 were present on the Chapora Estuary 2/1
Brown-headed Gull

Larus brunnicephalus

Abundant at the coast, with more than 500 at Morji Beach on each visit. Also a few offshore from Fort Aguada, and also off Panjim salt pans
Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

Marginally scarcer than Brown-headed Gull, but still present in large numbers at the same sites
Slender-billed Gull

Larus genei

Seven were picked up in flight at Morji Beach 25/12
Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

Up to ten noted on each trip to Morji Beach and Carambolim Lake, and a few noted offshore near Coco Beach
Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

Four at Morji Beach 25/12, and 2 on the Chapora Estuary 2/1
(Great) Crested Tern

Sterna bergii

Up to 10 on each visit to Morji Beach
Lesser Crested Tern

Sterna bengalensis

Up to 30 on each visit to Morji Beach
Sandwich Tern

Sterna sandvicensis

Present at Morji Beach in similar numbers to Great Crested Tern
Pompadour Green Pigeon (Grey-fronted Green Pigeon)

Treron pompadora

Two at Bondla 27/12, and heard widely at Molem (an odd, un-pigeon-like pulsing hoot), with 3 seen there 29/12
Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

Feral birds were commonly noted at the coast
Red Collared Dove

Streptopelia tranquebarica

Two were on wires near Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 27/12. This remains the only site for this species in Goa
Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

Very common throughout; seen daily
Emerald Dove

Chalcophaps indica

One very briefly at Baga Hill 21/12
Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

Quite common near the coast, but usually seen only in flight. Max. c.20 26/12
Plum-headed Parakeet (Blossom-headed Parakeet)

Psittacula cyanocephala

About 30 seen, mostly around Baga
Vernal Hanging Parrot (Indian Lorikeet)

Loriculus vernalis

About 30 were seen at Bondla and Molem, but all but one gave only poor views. The very distinctive flight call (a whistled almost pipit-like "peeep-peeep-peeep"), once learnt, reveals more than would otherwise be the case
Large Hawk Cuckoo

Hierococcyx sparverioides

One at Backwoods Camp, Molem 28/12
Banded Bay Cuckoo

Cacomantis sonneratii

One was in scrub at the foot of Baga Hill 1/1
Asian Koel

Eudynamys scolopacea

Common and seen daily at the coast, especially on the fruiting trees at Baga Hill. Not noted at Molem or Bondla
Blue-faced Malkoha

Phaenicophaeus viridirostris

Two were seen at Molem 29/12. Very quiet and inconspicuous birds, but not shy
Greater Coucal

Centropus sinensis

About 20 seen, max. 6 at the foot of Baga Hill 21/12. Also quite frequently heard calling
Collared Scops Owl

Otus bakkamoena

One was heard calling at night from Backwoods Camp, Molem, 27/12 and 28/12
Brown Fish Owl

Ketupa zeylonensis

The regular bird at Maem Lake was seen, albeit briefly, 31/12. If trying for this bird, you would be well served by taking a driver who knows the site well, and exactly in which trees to look
Jungle Owlet

Glaucidium radiatum

One was located in daylight behind the fig tree at the foot of Baga Hill 25/12, and two were present and showed very well there the next day. One was seen again there 1/1. Also heard calling from Backwoods Camp, Molem 27/12 and 28/12
Brown Hawk Owl

Ninox scutulata

Heard each evening at Backwoods Camp, Molem, but much better was one roosting in a palm tree in the shola beyond the Stoliczka's site 29/12. The tree is immediately outside the only house in the wood - do ask the elderly lady who lives there - she's very helpful!
Spotted Owlet

Athene brama

One was regular in broad-leaved trees behind the hotel, with two there 1/1. Also one behind Baga beach 26/12
Brown Wood Owl

Strix leptogrammica

One heard behind the hotel in the small hours of 23/12, and another calling near Backwoods Camp, Molem 27/12
Ceylon Frogmouth

Batrachostomus moniliger

Heard at night from Backwoods Camp, Molem 27/12
Jungle Nightjar

Caprimulgus indicus

At least one at dusk at Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 27/12
Indian (Edible-nest) Swiftlet

Collocalia unicolor

A few dozen present on five or six dates over Baga, and also at Molem, but 100+ over Baga 21/12
White-rumped Needletail

Zoonavena sylvatica

About 40 just before dusk at Tambdi Surla temple, Molem, 27/12, but entirely absent from that site on other occasions
Pacific Swift

Apus pacificus

At least one was present with the mixed swift flock at Tambdi Surla temple, Molem, 27/12. The species resembles Common Swift more than Little Swift - rakish and long-winged. Several Little Swifts with moulted tail feathers caused false alarms over Baga
Little Swift

Apus affinis

Easily the commonest swift; seen daily in large numbers
Asian Palm Swift

Cypsiurus balasiensis

Present in small numbers in the coastal plain, wherever there were palms
Crested Treeswift

Hemiprocne coronata

About 30 seen at Bondla and Molem
Malabar Trogon

Harpactes fasciatus

This species was voted highlight of the trip! A stunning male and two females were located by the Devil's Canyon Trail, Molem 28/12. The birds were very inconspicuous, but not shy, perching motionless in the open on lianas and low branches
Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

Not seen daily, and much scarcer than White-throated Kingfisher. Two seen around Baga on five occasions
Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Very common and widespread; seen daily in good numbers
Stork-billed Kingfisher

Halcyon capensis

Present at low density around Baga; rarely more than two in a day. Also noted in small numbers at Molem
White-throated (Smyrna) Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis

Common throughout; regularly 10+ in a day
Black-capped Kingfisher

Halcyon pileata

One was seen on three occasions on the marshy fields behind the Beira Mar Hotel, and another was at Molem 29/12
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Merops leschenaulti

26 seen around Molem, including about 20 on wires near Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 27/12
Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Merops philippinus

About 50 seen in total, mostly in small parties, but about 20 were at Carambolim Lake 29/12
Little Green Bee-eater

Merops oreintalis

Very numerous in all suitable habitat
Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis

Twelve were noted, mostly on wires over arable fields near the coast, but also a few inland

Upopa epops

One at Fort Aguada 1/1 was the only record
Malabar Grey Hornbill

Ocyceros griseus

Four at Molem 28/12, and five there the next day
Malabar Pied Hornbill

Anthracoceros coronatus

Two at Molem 28/12, and 1 near Backwoods Camp, Molem the next day
Brown-headed (Large Green) Barbet

Megalaima zeylanica

Only one seen, at Molem 27/12
White-cheeked (Small Green) Barbet

Megalaima viridis

Common and very vocal, heard and seen almost daily in any lightly wooded or forest habitat. Particularly numerous on Baga Hill
Crimson-fronted (-throated) Barbet

Megalaima rubicapilla

One at dawn at Backwoods Camp, Molem 28/12
Coppersmith Barbet

Megalaima haemacephala

A total of 10 seen, and others heard. A nest hole was found in a dead tree behind the hotel
Speckled Piculet

Picumnus inominatus

One seen briefly at Molem 29/12
Rufous Woodpecker

Celeus brachyurus

Singles were on Baga Hill 23/12 and 25/12, and there were three sightings at Molem 28/12 and 29/12
Black-rumped Flameback (Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker)

Dinopium benghalense

The most commonly seen woodpecker. Sixteen were seen, max. 4 at Molem 28/12. Widely distributed, both on the coast and in the hills
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker

Dendrocopos mahrattensis

A male was seen on Baga Hill 1/1 and 2/1
Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

Dendrocopos nanus

One at Bondla 27/12
Heart-spotted Woodpecker

Hemicircus canente

Heard frequently around Backwoods Camp, Molem, and seen twice, 27/12 and 28/12, the latter in small trees by the camp fire
Greater Flameback (Greater Golden-backed Woodpecker)

Chrysocolaptes lucidus

Two at Molem 28/12, and again the next day
Indian Pitta

Pitta brachyura

After a fruitless but foetid attempt at Fort Aguada, one showed extremely well on several occasions at Backwoods Camp, Molem 27/12 and 28/12
Ashy-crowned Finch-lark

Eremopterix grisea

Three at Baga 30/12, and a further 7, including 2 males, at Chapora Fort 2/1
Rufous-tailed Lark

Ammomanes phoenicurus

Two at the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 29/12
Greater Short-toed Lark

Calandrella brachydachtyla

Three at Baga 23/12
Malabar Lark

Galerida malabarica

Up to 10 on the fields near the hotel throughout, and a few also noted near the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) and Chapora Fort
Dusky Crag Martin

Hirundo concolor

At least one over the hotel lakes 21/12, and a further five there 25/12
Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Genuinely infrequent - only about fifteen noted on only 4 dates
Wire-tailed Swallow

Hirundo smithii

About a dozen seen daily around Baga and elsewhere
Red-rumped Swallow

Hirundo daurica

The commonest hirundine - large flocks of up to 200 noted every day
Long-tailed Shrike

Lanius schach

Seen daily, with up to 10 birds noted
Brown Shrike

Lanius cristatus

A first winter behind the hotel 25/12 and 31/12, and an adult near Backwoods Camp, Molem 29/12. Behaviour apparently rather atypical of a shrike - not really a 'tops of bushes' job. Could easily be overlooked
Eurasian Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

Noted almost daily, with up to ten birds on several days. Particularly common on Baga Hill and at Molem
Black-hooded Oriole

Oriolus xanthornus

One on Baga Hill 25/12, then 3 at Bondla 27/12, 2 at Molem 27-29/12, 1 at Maem Lake 31/12 and 1 at Baga Hill 2/1. All birds noted were males, suggesting that the females are either elusive or difficult to distinguish from Eurasian Golden Oriole
Black Drongo

Dicrurus macrocercus

Very common around Baga
Ashy Drongo

Dicrurus leucophaeus

Possibly overlooked at first, it became clear that perhaps 25-30% of the Drongos in wooded habitat at the coast were of this species. Also present in some numbers (up to 15 daily) at Bondla and Molem
White-bellied Drongo

Dicrurus caerulescens

A total of 5 at Baga Hill, plus 3 at Bondla 27/12 and 2 at Molem 29/12
Bronzed Drongo

Dicrurus aeneus

Three at Bondla 27/12, and 2 singles at Molem 28/12 and 29/12. A single on Baga Hill 2/1 suggested that this species is perhaps overlooked in the coastal area
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Dicrurus paradiseus

One at Bondla 27/12, and then a further 7 at Molem 28/12 and 29/12
Ashy Swallow-shrike

Artamus fuscus

A total of eighteen sightings, with birds noted, usually in pairs, at Baga, Baga Hill, Tambdi Surla temple, Molem and behind the Beira Mar Hotel
Chestnut-tailed Starling

Sturnus malabaricus

Most records came from the Baga area, where up to 30 were regular around the fruiting fig tree at the foot of Baga Hill, and over Baga fields. Also 10 at Bondla 27/12, and one at Molem the next day
Brahminy Starling

Sturnus pagodarum

About ten seen in the scrub behind Morji Beach 24/12 and 25/12
Rosy Starling

Sturnus roseus

An impressive flock of about 300 was at the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 23/12, but there were none there 29/12. Also about 50 at Fort Aguada 1/1
Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

Genuinely scarce, with only about five firmly identified, all around Baga
Jungle Myna

Acridotheres fuscus

Much the commoner Myna, with many birds seen every day
Rufous Treepie

Dendrocitta vagabunda

About 13 noted, at various sites such as Baga Hill, Mandovi River, behind the hotel, Molem and Bondla
House Crow

Corvus splendens

Excessively common. 72 gathered in a 'parliament' at the hotel at dusk 29/12
Jungle Crow

Corvus macrorhynchos

Surprisingly frequent around Baga, with up to ten regularly noted, not only on Baga Hill, but also in the village behind the hotel. Also very common in the Ghats
Pied Flycatcher-shrike

Hemipus picatus

A male at Bondla 27/12, and five more at Molem the next day
Large Woodshrike

Tephrodornis gularis

Possibly as many as 20 in a feeding party at Bondla 27/12, and one at Molem 29/12
Common Woodshrike

Tephrodornis pondicerianus

One on Baga Hill 21/12 and another at Molem 27/12
Black-headed Cuckooshrike

Coracina melanoptera

A male at the top of Baga Hill 22/12 and a female at Candolim that afternoon, and 2 near the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 29/12
Scarlet Minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

A male at Bondla 27/12, and two further males at Molem on the next two days
Small Minivet

Pericrocotus cinnamomeus

A total of seven noted, mostly on Baga Hill, but also at Molem
Common Iora

Aegithinia tiphia

Common in all wooded areas, notably Baga Hill, where up to 10 were recorded on each visit
Golden-fronted Leafbird

Chloropsis aurifrons

Six noted at Baga Hill, with 5 at Molem 27-29/12 and another at Maem Lake 31/12
Blue-winged Leafbird

Chloropsis cochinchinensis

It was realized after the event that this species had been seen at Baga Hill, possibly 23/12, with 2 25/12 and another the next day. The local subspecies does not show any blue in the primaries!
Asian Fairy Bluebird

Irena puella

Five at Bondla 27/12, and then a further 7 at Molem 27-29/12
Grey-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus priocephalus

Four at Bondla 27/12, and a further 7 at Molem over the following two days
Black-headed Yellow Bulbul (Ruby-throated Bulbul)

Pycnonotus melanicterus

Two at Bondla 27/12, and six more at Molem over the next two days. The newly suggested English name, Black-crested Bulbul, is entirely silly for the (sub?)species occurring in the Western Ghats, which has no crest and a brilliant red throat!
Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

The commonest Bulbul by far - up to 20 at Baga Hill, and also noted at most other wooded sites visited
Red-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus cafer

Eleven noted on six dates at various sites
White-browed Bulbul

Pycnonotus luteolus

Fourteen noted on seven dates, max. 4 26/12, mostly on Baga Hill
Yellow-browed Bulbul

Iole indica

Two at Bondla 27/12, and a further 25 or so at Molem over the next two days
Black Bulbul

Hypsipetes leucocephalus

Two at Bondla 27/12, and 13 more at Molem 27-29/12
Puff-throated Babbler (Spotted Babbler)

Pellorneum ruficeps

Seen well on several occasions under the large bushes at the foot of Baga Hill, and also three at Bondla 27/12. The technique is to sit very still and listen for leaves being turned over!
Black-headed Babbler

Rhopocichla atriceps

Ten at Bondla 27/12, and four more at Molem that day and the next
Jungle Babbler

Turdoides striatus

Patchy and erratic in appearance, about 40 were seen on five dates, max. 15 30/12 at Baga
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta

Alcippe poioicephala

A few on Baga Hill, and very common at both Bondla and Molem (c. 20 daily there). The fluty whistling song is worth learning - it sounds as if it should come from a much more exciting bird!
Asian Brown Flycatcher

Muscicapa dauurica

Six recorded around the hotel and Baga Hill, and three more at Molem 27-29/12
Brown-breasted Flycatcher

Muscicapa muttui

One was along the dry stream at Bondla Zoo 27/12, and another was at Molem 29/12
Red-breasted Flycatcher

Ficedula parva

A total of about 10 was seen, but only one male, behind the hotel 22/12
White-bellied Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis pallipes

Two males were seen, one at Bondla 27/12, and the other at Molem 29/12
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis tickelliae

Three noted at Baga Hill and Saligao Zor, and a further four or so at Bondla and Molem 27-29/12
Verditer Flycatcher

Eumyias thalassina

A superb male was seen briefly at Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 28/1h
White-throated Fantail

Rhipidura albicollis

Seen quite frequently at Baga Hill, max. 3 22/12 and 23/12, and also at Saligao Zor and Molem
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Terpsiphone paradisi

A total of eight was recorded, always singly, at Baga Hill, Saligao Zor, Molem and Bondla. Two white males were at Molem 27/12, and 1 superb bird of this type was at Saligao Zor 31/12
Black-naped Monarch

Hypothymis azurea

Three at Bondla 27/12, and 6 more at Molem 27-29/12. Also two at Saligao Zor 31/12
Plain Prinia (Tawny-flanked Prinia)

Prinia inornata

About 8 near the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 29/12
Ashy Prinia

Prinia socialis

Ten on Baga Hill 21/12, 5 at Bondla 27/12, 4 at Maem Lake 31/12, and 1 back at Baga Hill 2/1
Common Tailor Bird

Orthotomus sutorius

Fourteen noted on seven dates, max. 5 at Baga Hill 1/1
Clamorous Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus stentoreus

Five behind the Beira Mar Hotel 21/12, and 2 there 26/12, 1 at Candolim 22/12, singles at Baga 30/12 and 31/12, and another near Saligao 31/12
Blyth's Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus dumetorum

Heard very frequently, in almost any scrubby cover, often far from water. Also seen almost daily
Greenish Warbler

Phylloscopus trochiloides

Very common indeed. Once the distinctive 'Pied Wagtail' call is learnt, it is apparent that birds are almost everywhere. One showing characteristics of P.t.viridanus (Green Warbler) was at Bondla 27/12. Beware birds superficially resembling Two-barred Greenish Warbler (P.t.plumbeitarsus) - this (sub)species is unknown in India! (Russell Slack)
Western Crowned Warbler

Phylloscopus occipitalis

A total of six was noted at Molem 28/12 and 29/12
Oriental Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

Frequently seen, usually in small numbers, but about 10 were estimated between Ponda and Carambolim Lake 29/12
White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

Two at Bondla 27/12, and another seen and frequently heard around Backwoods Camp, Molem 27-29/12, at one point sunning itself and dust-bathing outside the tent!
Chat sp.

Saxicola sp.

The regular wintering male at Carambolim village was seen twice, 23/12 and 29/12. While formerly believed possibly to be a Stoliczka's Bushchat, the identity of this bird is now regarded as unknown, possibly a hybrid.
Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

Up to three males at the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village), and another near Saligao 31/12
Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

A pair was regular around the hotel lakes throughout, and there were several other records of single birds or pairs throughout
Indian Robin

Saxicoloides fulicata

Eight seen, mostly singly, at various sites, until 10+ were noted on the dry slopes around Chapora Fort 2/1
Blue Rock Thrush

Monticola solitarius

Two first winter birds at Chapora Fort 2/1
Malabar Whistling Thrush

Myophonus horsfieldii

Heard rather frequently at Molem, but not seen until 29/12, when two separate birds were located, one along a river, and another less classically in bushy scrub. Also recorded at Maem Lake 31/12, with one seen and others heard
Orange-headed Ground

Thrush Zoothera citrina

A pleasing number of sightings. One was at the Fort Aguada Pitta site 22/12, about 7 were at Bondla 27/12, and there were a further 8 sightings at Molem 27-29/12
Eurasian Blackbird

Turdus merula

A female was at the Fort Aguada Pitta site 22/12, and a male was near Backwoods Camp, Molem 27/12
Black-lored Tit

Parus xanthogenys

One at Baga Hill 23/12, five around Baga 25/12, and 2 behind the hotel 31/12
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Sitta frontalis

Two were at Bondla 27/12, and three were seen at Molem the next day
Tree Pipit

Anthus trivialis

Seven located in fields near Baga 30/12
Richard's Pipit

Anthus richardi

About 10 were at Chapora Fort at dusk 2/1
Paddyfield Pipit

Anthus rufulus

Frequently seen around cultivated fields near the coast, and at the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) and Carambolim Lake
Blyth's Pipit

Anthus godlewskii

One near certain individual near the hotel 25/12
Tawny Pipit

Anthus campestris

Five noted at various dry sites, and about 10 at Chapora Fort 2/1
Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

Fifteen at Carambolim Lake rice paddies 23/12, and also present there 29/12, and one over Baga 30/12
Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

One behind the Beira Mar Hotel 26/12, 2 at Bondla 27/12, and a further 2 at Molem 28/12 and 29/12
White-browed Wagtail (Large Pied Wagtail)

Motacilla maderaspatensis

Seen everywhere except Molem, but never very common, max. 10 on two dates around Baga
Thick-billed Flowerpecker

Dicaeum agile

One at Bondla 27/12
Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Tickell's Flowerpecker)

Dicaeum erythrorhynchos

Seven noted at Baga Hill early in the trip
Plain Flowerpecker

Dicaeum concolor

Singles recorded on three dates. It is probably clear that many flowerpeckers were left unidentified once we'd seen all three!
Purple-rumped Sunbird

Nectarinia zeylonica

The commonest sunbird, with up to 15 around Baga Hill and other lowland sites. Absent at Bondla and Molem
Crimson-backed (Small) Sunbird

Nectarinia minima

Only seen at Bondla and Molem, where very common - over 50 estimated at the former site
Loten's Sunbird

Nectarinia lotenia

Seven noted on six dates, mostly on Baga Hill, but also at Molem and Saligao Zor. The call resembles nothing less than a Siskin - "dzweee"
Purple Sunbird

Nectarinia asiatica

Eight noted on five dates, both near the coast and in the hills
House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Recorded almost daily around habitation
Chestnut-shouldered Petronia

Petronia xanthocollis

Two at the Stoliczka's Site (Carambolim village) 23/12, 2 near the hotel 25/12, 1 at Bondla 27/12, about 200 on electricity pylons near Molem town 28/12, and 30 again at the Stoliczka's Site 29/12
Baya Weaver

Ploceus philippinus

Large concentrations of up to 200 birds were noted near the hotel, at Candolim and at Carambolim Lake
White-rumped Munia

Lonchura striata

Seen almost daily in small numbers, max. 20 on three dates
Scaly-breasted Munia (Spotted Munia)

Lonchura punctulata

Four behind the Beira Mar Hotel 26/12, 2 at Molem 28/12 and seven there the next day
Grey-necked Bunting

Emberiza buchanani

At least five were seen at Chapora Fort 2/1. Also reported from Baga fields in early January
Black-headed Bunting

Emberiza melanocephala

A female was on top of Baga Hill 22/12, 30 were near Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 27/12, with 10 there the next day
Red-headed Bunting

Emberiza bruniceps

At least 3 were with Black-headed Buntings near Tambdi Surla temple, Molem 27/12. A few were also reportedly seen at Baga in early January




237 species recorded



Additional records reported by others during our stay :




Yellow Bittern Behind the Beira Mar Hotel
Glossy Ibis Carambolim Lake, at dusk
Comb Duck Carambolim Lake
Ruddy-breasted Crake Behind the Beira Mar Hotel
Pallid Harrier Baga fields
Black Eagle Baga Hill
Terek Sandpiper Panjim saltpans
Alpine Swift Over Baga
Great Pied Hornbill Molem
White-tailed Stonechat Behind the Beira Mar Hotel
Oriental Skylark Dona Paula ridge

Last Updated on 23/3/02
By S.K.Woolley