Pokémon Go Shinies - how to catch Shiny Magikarp, Red Gyarados, and what we know about other Shiny Pokémon

Everything you need to know about the ultra special creatures.

Shiny Pokémon were first introduced in March 2017 with the surprise reveal of Shiny Magikarp and its evolution, the red Shiny Gyarados.

More recent months have seen the reveal of new shinies, including Shiny Pikachu, with more unique variants over time.

Shinies are notoriously rare, as any veteran of the main series will gladly tell you, so what do we know about Pokémon Go Shinies, and how do you catch them?

On this page:

How to find Shiny Pokémon such as Shiny Magikarp and Red Gyarados Pokémon Go

Shinies are found by simply trying to catch Pokémon and seeing if they display as an alternate colour in the battle and post-battle screens.

Normal (left) vs Shiny (right). Credit reddit user skinnysnorlaz

They won't appear as a different colour in the field, so you have to attempt to catch them first.

They of course can also appear in anywhere you'd find a Pokémon, not just the wild - so that includes hatching Eggs, Research task rewards and Raid bonus challenges.

A Shiny creature is extremely rare, so it's simply a case of checking every one you are looking for - such as Magikarp - in the hope it will be a different colour.

Often, the variation is somewhat subtle. You can see the difference in Magikarp in the above comparison image, courtesy of Silph Road subreddit user skinnysnorlaz.

Pokémon Go Shiny list and rarity tier list

Around five months after Shiny Magikarp was first sighted, we started to see the first sign of other shinies.

Though the list has expanded greatly since the arrival of Magikarp and Red Gyarados, the number is small compared to the number of non-shiny creatures in the game.

At a glance, here is every possible shiny creature you can get in the game right now (aside from additions since early February - you can see a more up-to-date list in chronological order later in the article) and their rarity according to a user survey (thanks to AirbenderProdigy on reddit for the research and image):

Credit AirbenderProdigy on reddit

When and how every Shiny was added to Pokémon Go

Magikarp and Gyarados: The first Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon Go were Magikarp and Gyarados in March 2017 which were a callback to what was, for most players, the first Shiny they ever caught: the Red Gyarados at Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal's Lake of Rage.

Shiny Pikachu: August 2017's Pokémon Go Park event in Japan revealed the second set of Shinies.


Those within the event radius had a chance of catching a Shiny Pikachu, which much like the Red Gyarados, could also be evolved into a shiny Raichu.

These have since been made available around the world, and was expanded on with a shiny hatted Pikachu as part of the 2018 Pokémon Day.

Shiny Gen 3 Ghosts: As the Halloween event in 2018 - which introduced the first Gen 3 creatures - rolled on, shiny variations of all five new creatures (Duskull, Dusclops, Shuppet, Sableye and Banette) started to appear.

Here is a video of shiny Duskull in action:

Shiny Gen 3 Raids: With the arrival of 50 Gen 3 creatures in December 2017 came two Raid-specific catches, both of which offering Shiny versions. The remaining 48 also have Shiny models in the game code, though none have been found so far.

Shiny Gen 3 Desert update: The Aron family of creatures all have shiny variants as part of their release in the Janary 2018 Gen 3 Desert update.

Shiny Gen 3 Dragon update: Swablu is one of the few creatures available as a shiny Pokémon, changing its blue body colour into yellow.

Evolving into Altaria will keep that same yellow colour scheme, as shown in this video by Cychreus Gaming:

Valentine's Day 2018: Alongside increased Luvdisc spawns came a shiny version:

Otherwise, there are no other signs more Shinies will be added. The main games had shinies for every single creature, so there's a chance every one in Pokémon Go will offer them at some point, but it makes sense Niantic would want to drip feed them for special occasions and make them more of an event.

Lunar New Year event 2018: The increase in dog and dog-like spawns saw the introduction of a shiny Poochyena:

Community Day: The creature a Community Day focuses on will release a shiny version at the same time. So far we've had:

  • Dratini (and evolutions Dragonair and Dragonite)
  • Bulbasaur (and evolutions Ivysaur and Venusaur)
  • Mareep (and evolutions Flaaffy and Ampharos)
  • Charmander (and evolutions Charmeleon and Charizard)
  • Larvitar (and evolutions Pupitar and Tyranitar)
  • Squirtle (and evolutions Wartortle and Blastoise)
  • Eevee (and evolutions Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon)
  • Chikorita (and evolutions Bayleef and Meganium)
  • Beldum (and evolutions Metang and Metagross)
  • Cyndaquil (and evolutions Quilava and Typhlosion)
  • Totodile (and evolutions Croconaw, Feraligatr)
  • Piplup (and evolutions Prinplup and Empoleon)

2018 Shinies came thick and fast, including:

  • Magby (and Magmar) Togepi (and evolution Togetic), and Wynaut (and evolution Wobbuffet) for Easter event Eggstravaganza
  • Murkrow (for April Fools' Day)
  • Lugia (brought back for a limited time), and now Ho-oh in the same manner.
  • Wailmer (and evolution Wailord) for the Earth Day event
  • Makuhita (and evolution Hariyama) and Meditite (and evolution Medicham) for May's Fighting event
  • Aerodactyl, Kabuto (and evolution Kabutops), Omanyte (and evolution Omastar) for May / June's Adventure Week
  • Shellder (and evolution Cloyster) and Kyogre for June's Water Festival event.
  • Roselia and Articuno from the Dortmund Summer Tour 2018 leg
  • Plusle, Minun and Zapdos from the Chicago Summer Tour 2018 leg
  • Houndour, Houndoom, Snubbull and Granbull were introduced alongside August's Field Research update
  • Pineco (and Forretress), Nato (and Xatu) and Sunkern (Sunflora) were added following the introduction of Celebi and a Johto event.
  • Wingull and evolution Pelipper from the Japan Summer Tour 2018 leg
  • Growlithe and evolution Arcanine alongside September's Field Research update
  • Grimer and evolution Muk, plus Geodude, Graveler and Golem were available as part of the Kanto celebration in mid-September.
  • Krabby and evolution Kingler alongside October's Field Research update
  • Drowzee and evolution Hypno alongside October's Psychic event
  • Nidoran♀, Nidorina, or Nidoqueen for October's female event
  • Shinx, Luxio and Luxray with the addition of Gen 4's first wave.
  • Drifloon and Drifblim, with their addition in October 2018's Pokémon Go Halloween event.
  • Pinsir, with the Bug-focused November Field Research
  • Caterpie, Metapod and Butterfree also with the Bug-focused November Field Research
  • Ponyta, Rapidash, Cubone and Marowak as part of the launch of Ingress Prime
  • Budow with the addition of several Gen 4 creatures in early November
  • Elekid, Electabuzz and Electivire with the introduction of Sinnoh Stone evolutions
  • Magnemite and Magneton with the arrival of Meltan and the Let's Go Kanto event in November 2018
  • Misdreavus and Mismagius with the arrival of December Field Research
  • Sandshrew and Sandslash as part of an event in Tottori, Japan during December (via painofwrath on reddit)
  • Holiday event 2018 additions Delibird, Azurill (and evolutions Marill, Azumarill) as well as Santa Hat Pikachu line (Pichu and Raichu)

Meanwhile in 2019, we've seen:

  • Taillow (and evolutions), Zigzagoon (and evolution) and Groudon as part of the Hoenn celebration
  • Feebas (and evolution) following Feedbas Day
  • Psyduck (and evolution Golduck) introduced as part of Brazil's Safari Zone event
  • Spoink (and evolution Grumpig) from the 2019 Lunar New Year event
  • Meltan (for a limited time, and evolution Melmetal)
  • Smoochum (and evolution Jinx) from the 2019 Valentine's Day event
  • Cleffa (and evolutions) from the 2019 Valentine's Day event
  • Swinub (and evolutions Piloswine and Mamoswine) from February Community Day)
  • Pidgey (and evolutions) as part of February's Pokémon Day celebrations
  • Ratatta (and evolutions) as part of February's Pokémon Day celebrations
  • Clamperl (and evolutions) as part of February's Limited Research Day
  • Latias (from February's special raid event)
  • Machop (and evolutions) as part of March's Battle Showdown fighting Pokémon event)
  • Mankey (and evolutions) as part of March's Battle Showdown fighting Pokémon event)
  • Solrock and Lunatone, as part of March's Equinox event
  • Lotad (and evolution) as part of March's Limited Research Day
  • Castform (Normal form) as part of March's Limited Research Day
  • Treeko (and evolutions) as part of March's Community Day
  • Ash Hat Pikachu (and evolution) as part of 2019's Photobomb April Fool's
  • Scyther (and evolution) as part of April's Bug Out event
  • Bagon (and evolutions) as part of April's Community Day
  • Latios (from April's special raid event)
  • Buneary (and evolution) as part of April's Eggstravaganza event
  • Shuckle as part of April's Singapore Safari Zone
  • Lapras as part of April's Singapore Safari Zone
  • Diglett and evolution Dugtrio as part of April's Earth Day rewards.
  • Seel and evolution Dugong at the start of May.
  • Aipom and evolution Ambipom with May's Detective Pikachu Field Research and event.
  • Bronzor (and evolution) for May's Extraordinary Raid Week
  • Cresselia, with its reintroduction to Raids in May 2019
  • Onix (and evolution) added as part of Adventure Week in June 2019
  • Anorith (and evolution) added as part of Adventure Week in June 2019
  • Lileep (and evolution) added as part of Adventure Week in June 2019
  • Lileep (and evolution) added as part of Adventure Week in June 2019
  • Slakoth (and evolutions) added as part of June's Community Day
  • Horsea (and evolutions) as part of Go Fest Chicago 2019
  • Alolan Pokémon Rattata, Sandshrew, Vulpix, Diglett, Meowth, Geodude, Grimer, and Exeggutor (and evolutions) as part of June 2019's third birthday celebrations
  • Spinda from the start of June.
  • Nidoran Female as part of Go Fest Dortmund 2019.
  • Mudkip (and evolutions) as part of July's Community Day
  • Ekans (and evolution) added as part of the Team Rocket Invasion
  • Koffing (and evolution) added as part of the Team Rocket Invasion
  • Zubat (and evolutions) added as part of the Team Rocket Invasion
  • Sneasel (and evolution) added as part of the Team Rocket Invasion
  • Rayquaza, with its reintroduction to Raids in late July 2019
  • Ralts (and evolutions) as part of August 2019's Community Day
  • Bonsly (and evolutions) as part of the Gift event in August 2019
  • Poliwag (and evolutions) as part of Go Fest Yokosuka 2019
  • Carvanha (and evolution) and Barboach (and evolution) as part of the Water Festival in late August 2019
  • Sentret (and evolution) and Gligar (and evolution) starting from the first week of Ultra Bonus rewards in September 2019
  • Regional exclusives Farfetch'd, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime, and Tauros starting from the second week of Ultra Bonus unlock in September 2019
  • Mewtwo as part of the third week of Ultra Bonus unlocks in September 2019
  • Elektrike and Manectric were released in September 2019
  • Gen 5's Klink, Patrat and Lillipup as part of the third week of Ultra Bonus unlocks in September 2019
  • Zangoose and Seviper as part of World Tourism Day and the arrival of regional Eggs
  • Oddish (and evolutions) as part of Taipei Safari Zone in October 2019
  • Yamask (and Cofagrigus) as part of the 2019 Halloween event
  • Regirock, Regice and Registeel as part of the A Colossal Discovery event
  • Skarmory as part of the A Colossal Discovery event
  • Moltres in November 2019
  • Meowth and Persian as part of the Team Go Rocket Leaders release
  • Tentacool and Tentacruel as part of the Supereffective Week in November 2019
  • Burmy (and evolutions) as part of the Evolution Event in December 2019
  • Gible (and evolutions) as part of the December 2019 Egg update
  • Snover (and evolution) as part of the 2019 Christmas event
  • Stantler as part of the 2019 Christmas event

2020 saw the introduction of these shiny Pokémon:

  • Heatran on January 7th
  • Piplup as part of January's Community Day
  • Minccino (and Cinccino) as part of the Minccino Limited Research, which was, in turn, part of the 2020 Lunar New Year event
  • Riolu (and Lucario) as part of the Sinnoh region celebration event in February 2020
  • Hippopotas (and Hippowdon) as part of the Sinnoh region celebration event in February 2020
  • Happiny, Chansey and Blissey as part of the 2020 Valentine's Day Celebration event
  • Lickitung (and Lickilicky) as part of the 2020 Valentine's Day Celebration event
  • Darkrai as part of the Darkrai Special Raid Weekend from March 6th to March 9th
  • Altered Forme Giratina as part of the Altered Forme Giratina Special Raid Weekend from March 13th to March 16th
  • Nincada as part of an in-game event in March
  • Skorupi (and Drapion) as part of the March Team Go Rocket takeover
  • Timburr (Gurdurr and Conkeldurr) as part of the Go Battle League Season 1 release
  • Cobalion as part of the Cobalion Special Raid Weekend from March 20th to March 23rd
  • Baltoy (and Claydol) as part of the Psychic Spectacular event in March
  • Teddiursa (and Ursaring) as part of the Safari Zone St. Louis event in March
  • Croagunk (and Toxicroak) as part of April's Tricky Pokémon event
  • Exeggcute (and Exeggutor) as part of April's Spring event
  • Marill (and Azurill and Azumarill) as part of April's Marill Day event
  • Volbeat and Illumise as part of April's Buddy Up Event
  • Virizion as part of the Remote Raid Pass celebration in April
  • Venonat as part of the Kanto Throwback Challenge special research quest line released in May
  • Dunsparce as part of the Johto Throwback Challenge special research quest line released in May
  • Skitty as part of the Hoenn Throwback Challenge special research quest line released in May
  • Glameow as part of the Sinnoh Throwback Challenge special research quest line released in May

It should be noted Shiny Clefairy (and evolution) aren't technically in the game yet, despite being temporarily rolled out by accident during Go Fest Chicago 2019.

Pokémon Go in 2020 continues to add new features, such the arrival of the Go Battle League, Remote Raids and the trade evolution feature. There are also planned changes to PokéCoins on the way. Meanwhile, coming soon is the Sinnoh Throwback quest. Last year saw the release of the first Gen 5 Pokémon, and with it new regional exclusive Pokémon and the introduction of the Unova Stone. Pokemon Go also sees regular events - including weekly Spotlight Hour, monthly Field Research rewards and Pokémon Go Community Day.

Other things to know about Pokémon Go Shinies - independent Shinies, Shiny Ditto and more

Aside the from the basics, there are a few other important points to note about Shiny Pokémon and the way they operate:

  • Shiny Pokémon are independent - in other words, two people can go to the same place and catch the same Magikarp, which has the same stats and IVs, but they won't necessarily both be Shiny. This is generally seen as a good thing by the community: it means people won't all be rushing to the same place after a Shiny is spotted, and 'spoofers' who cheat the system to change their location won't be able to instantly grab a Shiny as soon as one is located.
  • Shiny Pokémon can also be other 'states' of creatures - meaning they can also be Lucky, Shadow and Purified.
  • Ditto pretending to be Shiny Pokémon aren't Shiny themselves - that's right, if you find yourself a rare Shiny Magikarp and it suddenly transforms into a Ditto, the Ditto itself won't be Shiny. If you do suffer such incredibly bad luck, it might be worth holding onto it though, just in case that Ditto is retrospectively changed to Shiny once the game is updated to include Shiny variants for all Pokémon.
  • Shiny Pokémon's evolutions will be Shiny too - the good news, at least, is that Shiny Pokémon will evolve into Shiny Pokémon. So that means a gold Magikarp will turn into a red Gyarados when evolved, and so on. Another reason to hold onto those Candies for any Pokémon you encounter!
  • Shinies have their own entries in the Pokédex - Once you have found a Shiny, visit that creature in the Pokédex and you can view its unique appearance, alongside any gender differences. The following image by Dronpes explains this in closer detail:
Credit: reddit user Dronpes
  • Shiny Pokémon show up as standard colour Pokémon on the map - they only reveal themselves as Shiny once you start the battle sequence with them, which means checking every Pokémon you see now if you want to find Shinies, even if you've already caught plenty of that Pokémon!
  • There's a new warning if you try to transfer a Shiny - if you try and send a Shiny to Professor Willow, you'll get an additional pop-up warning checking that you definitely want to transfer this Shiny Pokémon. A nice touch to stop any fat finger issues!

That's all the important info you need - the rest of it is down to good old fashioned luck, so it's time get searching!

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.


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