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Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary – A Paradise for Ornithologists

Being an estuarine mangrove habitat, the beautiful Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary showcases one of the hidden features of Goa. For many visitors, this seaside Indian state is all about beaches and parties, but only a handful of vigilant tourists know that it is not entirely true. Located on the banks of the Mandovi River, this small wildlife sanctuary was established on the western tip of the Chorão Islands. Named after eminent Indian ornithologist, Dr. Salim Moizzudin Ali, the park is home to several exotic birds and animals. Spread in the area of 440 acres, the park is located on a delicate eco-system of the mangrove marshes.

Keynotes on Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary 

Address: Chorao Island, Ilhas, Ribandar, Goa 403006

Established in 1988

Opening time: 6 am to 6 pm

Famous for: Bird watching

Suitable for a day trip

The Ideal Time to Visit  

Winters (October to March) are the most suitable time of the year to visit the park. During the season, several migratory birds make a stop here – an exciting proposition for the amateur and budding ornithological enthusiasts.

It must be noted that the Mandovi River is tidal, and during the low tide period, some portions of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary become inaccessible through boats.  The months between June and September, when the Indian summer monsoon is active, visiting the sanctuary must be supervised with the help of a local.

What to see at Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary?

The beautiful and serene ecological environment of the park is home to several resident and migratory birds. Visitors can spot purple herons, white egrets, woodpeckers, colorful kingfishers, and several other species of birds. Some of the more exotic birds of the park are jack snipe, black bittern, pied avocet, and little bittern.

Apart from birds, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is home to several species of reptiles and animals like fiddler crabs, flying foxes, otters, mudskippers, and so on.

The three-level watchtower of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is one of the best places to observe the natural birds and mangrove trees of the region. Visitors are requested to carry binoculars for a better viewing experience.

The Nature Resource Centre and Other Attractions  

One of the major attractions of the sanctuary is the Nature Research Centre. Well-equipped with documents, videos and journals regarding the local mangroves and local flora and fauna, the place is a treasure-trove of information for the locals.

Vacationers can hire local boatmen to explore the numerous canals. Usually, these boatmen use tiny dugout canoes, suitable for moving in shallow waters, which gives the enthusiastic visitors a close view of flora and fauna of the marshes. Furthermore, the Forest Department of Goa organizes boat tours during the high tide. At one time, around nine people can sit on these boat tours. At the gateway of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, the tourists can also board the small dingy canoes for exploring the marshy canals.

How to reach the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary?

To reach the bird sanctuary, tourists can book a ferry ride from the Ribandar ferry wharf.
Expected fare by ferry- INR 200-250 (Subjected to change due to season)

Downtown to the sanctuary:

Expected time for traveling by car- 1 hour 3 minutes (7.1km/4.4 miles)

Expected fare by car- INR 700-850

Expected fare by drive- INR 190-280

Note: Crossing ferry service is issued for excursion and other purposes, and the charges may vary depending on the size of the group.

You might not be an ornithologist, but the trip to this exciting bird sanctuary could be a rewarding experience. The chance to be close to the eco-system of the mashes is could be a refreshing experience for the travel-weary crowd. 

Further Reading:

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

6 Unmissable Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa