Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

Country/territory: India

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 8,565 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2003 not assessed low not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2004 baseline)
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Canacona taluka, is 10 km southeast of Chaudi. The IBA lies partly in the Western Ghats. It was established in 1969 to protect a remote and vulnerable area of forest lining the Goa-Karnataka interstate border. The terrain is hilly and includes undulating uplands. Many small rivulets flow through the Sanctuary in the monsoon, but dry up in summer. The ancient Jeevottam Partagal Math, noted for Vedic studies, lies in the vicinity of the Sanctuary. The main vegetation types are West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forest, West Coast Semi-Evergreen Forest, and Moist Deciduous Forest. The evergreen forests are mainly present on higher altitudes and on riversides.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Not much is known of the bird life of Cotigao but Anil Pinto (pers. comm. 2002) has reported Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii, a globally threatened species (BirdLife International 2001). The site lies in the Western Ghats Endemic Bird Area (EBA 123) in which Stattersfield et al. (1998) have listed 16 species as Restricted Range. Six have been seen till now, but more are likely to be found once detailed studies are conducted. Of the 15 Biome-10 species (BirdLife International, undated), 12 are reported from Cotigao. Of the remaining three, the Ceylon Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger is likely to occur in the thick Tropical Evergreen Forest of the IBA, although it has not been listed by Lainer (1999) or Grubh and Ali (1976). The Indian Ediblenest Swiftlet Collocalia unicolor “may be encountered anywhere in Goa, but most frequently in c. 5 km deep strip along the coast” (Lainer 1999). It is also likely to occur in Cotigao, although it has not been reported from there. The Hill Swallow Hirundo domicola, (called Pacific Swallow H. tahitica by Grimmett et al. 1999), a bird of the southern Western Ghats, is reported as stray in Goa (Lainer 1999 calls it House Swallow).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Leopard Panthera pardus is the apex predator in this small Sanctuary, mainly on Sambar Cervus unicolor, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak and Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna. Gaur Bos frontalis is also found, but an adult is too large a prey for a leopard. The Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista is present.

Slender Loris Loris tardigradus, and Pangolin Manis crassicaudata are present but difficult to see due to their nocturnal habit. Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica and Golden Jackal Canis aureus are the smaller predators. Cotigao has many species of interesting reptiles, including King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah, but not much is known about them. Similarly, the freshwater fish have not been adequately surveyed.

Key contributor: Heinz Lainer.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.