We have repeated it time after time. Andalusia has absolutely everything you need. Three thousand-year-old cities, impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, National Parks, first-class ski resorts, endless beaches, renowned museums, an outstanding culinary scene – with a wide range of Michelin-starred restaurants, a remarkable way of life, amongst countless things.
But also, due to its strategic location, birdwatching in Andalusia is a highly recommended activity. Birders will find their very own paradise, and also one of the most ecologically diverse areas in Europe. Thanks to a wide variety of habitats – we can find deserts, alpine climate, evergreen forests, marshlands and wetlands, it is possible to admire and discover a large variety of birds, including those on migration routes to Africa, through the Strait of Gibraltar.
Depending on the birds you want to see, there are different areas worth exploring. We have selected some of the most popular birdwatching areas in Andalusia for your information.
Birdwatching in the Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is one of the best places for birding in Andalusia. It separates Europe and Africa and it’s 13 kilometres wide. It is one of the world’s most famous migration routes and there are several viewpoints on the area that are ideal for birdwatching. The whole area is a Natural Park and is continental Europe’s most southerly protected area. It is also part of the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean.
Some of the most common birds found here are the booted eagle, the short-toed eagle, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, black kites, the honey buzzard, subalpine warbler, osprey, the lesser kestrel and white stork, to name but a few.
Almost 500,000 birds cross the Strait of Gibraltar every year. A chance not to miss!
In Meridional Events, we will be delighted to organise your birdwatching tour of Andalusia. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
Birdwatching in Malaga
Located an hour north of Malaga city, lies the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra. This wetland is home to one of Europe’s largest greater flamingo colonies. It is Andalusia’s biggest lagoon and it is saline – salt was harvested since the Roman times until the 50s.
In 2020, near 20,000 flamingos could be found in Fuente de Piedra, including 8,000 breeding pairs. The flamingos live there during the nesting period, from March until July, and spend the winters in Morocco. Over the last 30 years, more than 220,000 chicks were born in Fuente de Piedra.
But, besides flamingos, the visitor can find many other species. Gull-billed terns, black-headed gull, slender-billed gull, Kentish plover, stilts and pied avocet.
Another point of interest is the Guadalhorce Estuary, located on the outskirts of Malaga city. Yet a small area, compared with the ones mentioned before, it is still worth a visit.
Species like the white-headed duck, slender-billed gull, Audouin’s gull, Mediterranean gull, Eurasian spoonbill, kingfishers, Caspian tern and, with any luck, the booted eagle in hibernation.
And, while you are in Malaga, you could visit one of the more than 36 museums found in the city, where we can highlight the Pompidou Museum, the Thyssen Museum and the Picasso Museum.
Birdwatching in Huelva
Huelva is home to Doñana National Park, whose variety of ecosystems is unique in Europe. Marshes, streams, sand dunes and the delta where the Guadalquivir river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. Birding in Doñana is an experience on its own.
There are more than 300 species, including the magnificent Spanish imperial eagle, griffon vulture, short-toed snake eagle, cinereous vulture, great cormorant, peregrine falcon, crested tit, red-knobbed coot, glossy ibis, squacco heron, hoopoe, little bittern and the purple heron, amongst many other species.
Also, if you decide to visit Doñana, besides a large number of bird species, you could admire the outstanding beauty of the Iberian lynx, red deer, wild boars and two indigenous breeds of horse.
As you have seen, birdwatching in Andalusia is a once in a lifetime experience. Easily reachable from the majority of European cities – Malaga airport, Seville airport, Jerez airport, Granada airport and Faro airport – in Portugal, are the main gateways to reach Andalusia.
In Meridional Events we will be delighted to organise your Birding Tour of Andalusia, a fantastic opportunity to know our fauna and discover a lesser-known activity in our region. Get in touch with us and we will prepare the perfect Birdwatching Holiday in Andalusia.
The team at Meridional Events