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Birds in Andalucía

Photo Eva Bratek

Almost 3 metre wingspan. Griffon Vulture. Photo Eva Bratek. Click to enlarge.

Even if you know very little about birds, it is hard not to notice them during your holidays in Andalucía as their abundance and variety are quite remarkable.  Favourable  climate, plenty of food during breeding season and excellent location on the migration path from Africa to Northern Europe makes  the Ronda area with its three large nature reserves a great place for birds and, logically, for birdwatchers. There are about 250 species of birds in the Serranía de Ronda area ( the three Natural Parks), counting in the migrants, and the number varies only slightly according to authors of check lists and bird books. The nearby (40 minutes by car from Ronda) Laguna de la Fuente de Piedra reserve is the second largest European colony of the Greater Flamingo, plus a wonderful place to see many other types of birds.

Whether you are a ferocious twitcher, a professional bird photographer, a relaxed occasional birder or an absolute orni-beginner, this is a great area for all bird lovers. Undoubtedly, the star attraction of the Grazalema, Sierra de las Nieves and Alcornocales Natural Parks are the birds of prey: Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and the four species of eagles breeding in the area: Bonelli´s, Short-toed, Booted and Golden Eagle. You may even spot a rarity: an African species of vulture called the Rüppel´s. The villages where we organise most birdwatching tours from are Montejaque and Grazalema. Virtually any time of the year gives you a good chance to see a variety of interesting species.

Photo courtesy of Juan Luís Muñoz

Short-toed Eagle. Photo courtesy of Juan Luís Muñoz. Click to enlarge.

Winter brings us the birds which come down from harsher climates to milder regions: Ring Ouzel, Alpine Accentor, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, and Redwing. Spring is a riot of song and colourful breeding plumage of all the migrants which have come back to breed yet again with such spectacular birds as Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear, Alpine Swift and the fascinating Woodchat Shrike. Early summer is great birding fun because of the clumsy offspring demanding to be fed by busy parents and the slightly maddening and definitely challenging abundance of young birds which can be quite tricky to identify. It is also the time when watering holes are great for (responsible) photography and birdwatching. Please remember that taking photos with a hide in Natural Parks in Spain requires a permit. Passage periods (February-April then August-November) give you a chance to see birds which only travel through and use our area as a restaurant and a motel on their way up north: Pied Flycatcher, Melodious Warbler, Black Kite, Honey Buzzard or Common Redstart.

Rock Bunting. Photo Eva Bratek

Rock Bunting. Photo Eva Bratek. Click to enlarge.

All year round you can spy on the secret life of Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear or Rock Bunting. Not only the time of the year can be attractive for certain species, it is also the variety of habitats around Ronda which makes birdwatching exciting. River valleys, cork oak and holm oak forests, mountains streams, open fields, limestone sierras and caves make great homes for a variety of birds with different logging and dietary requirements. There are many species we have not mentioned here but you can email us for a complete check-list for the area or any advice on species to see.  Visit our Photo Gallery for more bird images.


European Bee-eater

European Bee-eater. Photo Eva Bratek