Goa, India's smallest state is cosily tucked in between the Western Ghats in the east and the warm sands of the Arabian Sea in the west. Physio-graphically, Goa is broadly divided into three regions viz. Coastal Plains, Interior Highlands and the Western Ghats. This unique geographical location of the state has given rise to a range of habitats which harbour a good diversity of avifauna. The sandbars, tidal mudflats, coastal islands and estuarine mangroves of the coastal plains in the state is home to some of the most fascinating resident birds like the Collared Kingfisher and the Lesser Adjutant while in winter rarities like the Great Knot, Indian Skimmer and Eurasian Oystercatcher can be found. Gulls, terns, plovers and other migrant raptors throng these areas in large numbers during the migratory season making it a birder's and in particular a bird photographer's paradise.
The inland wetlands, agricultural fields, grasslands and lateritic plateaus are the important bird habitats in the interior highlands of Goa. These inland wetlands are home to resident waterfowl like the Lesser Whistling Duck, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Purple Swamphen and other species. In the winters, thousands of migrant waterfowl like the Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Garganey, Green-winged teal and Ruddy Shelduck visit these wetlands. Occasionally, rarities like the Pied Avocet and Common Shelduck can also be sighted at some of these areas. The lateritic plateaus on the other hand are very unique and less explored bird habitats of the interior highlands in the state. Species like the Desert Wheatear, Jungle Bush-quail, Short eared Owl, Savanna Nightjar, Oriental Skylark, Malabar Lark and other Pipits can be found in these areas.
The Western Ghats has been recognized as one of the world's eight 'hottest hotspots' of biological diversity along with Sri Lanka. Of the total 1, 60,000 km2 of the Ghats, 600 km2 lies in Goa. The range extends in the form of an arc for a length of about 125 Km north to south. The vegetation type varies from moist evergreen to dry deciduous with a good tree and liana diversity. Four wildlife sanctuaries and one National Park cover the major portion of the forests of Western Ghats and are protected by the Goa forest Department. The Western Ghats section of Goa forms the most important bird habitat of the state. Of the 18 Western Ghats endemic birds, 11 are reported from the state chief among them being the Nilgiri Wood-pigeon and Grey headed Bulbul which are listed in the IUCN Red Data Book as Vulnerable and Near Threatened species respectively. Wynaad Laughingthrush, White-bellied Treepie and Rufous Babbler are some of the elusive endemic species while the Malabar Grey Hornbill Small Sunbird and Vigor's Sunbird are abundant in the state.