Aragon is an ornithological destination par excellence. This amazing region gives you the opportunity to observe most of Spain's avifauna in the four most characteristic habitats of the Iberian Peninsula; Alpine peaks and meadows, Mediterranean forest mixed with spectacular limestone rock cliffs , semi-arid steppes and inland lakes, all of them in a relative short distance from each other.
Entering the untamed Pyrenees; the high valleys as Ordesa, Hecho or Benasque, allows visitors to spot the difficult alpine specialities such as Alpine Accentor, Snow Finch & Wallcreeper whilst enjoying the magnificent forest of beech and fir trees surrounded by spectacular rock cliffs.
The exciting pre-Pyrenees of Aragon: Sierra de Guara, Riglos, or San Juan de la Peña are wild and sparsely populated with humans. However, they densely populated with birds of prey and Mediterranean birds such as wheatears, thrushes, buntings, warblers, bee-eaters and many more. The famous Sierra de Guara is a real Lammergeier sanctuary holding the highest known density of this magnificent bird, as well as Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture. Here, too alpine birds such as Wallcreeper or Alpine Accentor are easy to observe at close range from late autumn to early spring.
Inland the steppes of the Monegros and Belchite dotted here and there with saltlakes, are an arid but fascinating contrast. They are home to perhaps the most Spanish avifauna: raptors, bustards, sandgrouse and larks.
This is a semi-desert area occupying an extensive plain of around 70,000 hectares, with some seasonal lagoons. It is covered with an interesting steppe vegetation. It is an excellent area to observe Great Bustard (32 individuals). There is also a big population of other species, like Stone Curlew, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Dupont's Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark.
This mountainous barrier, that separates France from Spain, is made up of high mountains, extensive pine forests, streams, and green mountain meadows, and is especially recommended for its abundance of birds of prey. One can see Golden, Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli's Eagles; Montagu's Harrier; Red & Black kites, Peregrine and Hobby; and the magnificent Lammergeier, which here has one of its two last strongholds in the entire continent. Other interesting avian species are: Ptarmigan, Capercaille, Dotterel, Tengmalm's Owl, Black Woodpecker, Crag Martin, Water Pipit and Dipper. Apart from bird species, it is remarkable for the presence of Pyrenean Chamois and Red Deer. This area is probably one of the last refuges in Europe of the Boreal Linx and the Brown Bear.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 277
A Birdwatching Guide to The Pyrenees
Jacquie Crozier 87 pages, 8 pp col plates, illus, maps. Arlequin Press 1998
ISBN: 1900159759Buy this book from NHBS.com
Where the Birds are in Northeast Spain
by Steve West Illustrated by Ernest Leahy [Published by Steve West]
ISBN: 8460915999Buy this book from NHBS.com
Where to Watch Birds in North and East Spain
Edited by Michael Rebane Series: WHERE TO WATCH BIRDS IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE: HELM SERIES 295 pages, 35 line illus, 100 maps. Christopher Helm due 2008
ISBN: 9780713683141Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Spanish birding in the Pyrenees and NE Spain…
Birding in North East Spain
BOLETAS (Egyptian Vulture in the local language) was formed in 1994, a stroke of luck enables us to live our long-awaited dream; install ourselves in the peaceful rural village of Loporzano, in the midst of one of the best birding areas in the Iberian Peninsula dedicating ourselves exclusively to our interest in birds…
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Birdwatching Spain (Pyrenees)
In this birding tour Pyrenees we will go in search of one of the rarest and most amazing birds in the entire world, the Lammergeier. Before that, we try to find one of the most elusive birds, the Dupont’s Lark in one of the best preserve steppe habitat of Europe. Other targets are Alpine Accentor, Ring Ouzel, Citril Finch, Yellow and Red-billed Chough, Dipper, Water Pipit, Marsh Tit, Black and Iberian Green Woodpecker, Egyptian and Griffon Vulture and mammals such as the Chamois and Marmot. We will visit amazing landscapes, deep gorges in search of great number of birds.
Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays
If you are looking for a quality natural history holiday, this is a great place to start. The Honeyguide programme offers a mix of the very best of wildlife in fascinating parts of Europe..
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2006 [05 May] - Maureen & Chris Gibson
Honeyguides tour - pdf
2008 [05 May] - Honeyguide
2009 [06 June] - David Cottridge
…We had more views of Red-backed Shrike but this time supported by a pair of Woodchat Shrikes, as well as Cirl Bunting, Melodious Warbler, several Pairs of Stonechats, a Honey Buzzard drifting overhead and in the distance an Ortolan Bunting could be heard singing. Alongside the road were good numbers of Pyramidal orchids growing and a Great Green Bush Cricket decided to show itself…
2010 [06 June] - Steve Bird
…views of several Calandra Larks as well as Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, Red Kite, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Crested Lark, and Red-legged Partridge. Near one canal, we encountered a Golden Eagle …
2011 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Spanish Pyrenees
…and a short-toed eagle which drifted over us was followed even more leisurely by an adult lammergeier, barely flicking its wing-tips as it traversed the valley…
2012 [02 February] - Chris Hall
…It’s 20th February at the Boletas Birdwatching Centre near Huesca, and the crisp dry early morning air is stirred by the whistles of Spotless Starlings and the bill clapping of White Storks, nesting on the church tower. After breakfast, Josele announces that he has received a call to say that we have an appointment with a Wallcreeper at 10.30am! By 10, we are starring up at the spectacular towering salmon pink and grey conglomerate cliffs above Riglos, watching a pair of shrieking Peregrines gliding on a perfectly clear deep blue sky, while numerous Griffon Vultures soar silently by. Next, we find the Wallcreeper, at 10.27am precisely! I don’t know how Josele did that, but as this charismatic bird busily flicks its moth like wings, while probing the cracks along the base of the cliffs for insects, with a delicately decurved beak, we lie back and enjoy the show for almost an hour…
2013 [04 April] - Chris Gibson - Spanish Pyrenees
A clear dawn saw the early morning crew walking around the hill to the Badlands, taking in excellent views of rock sparrows and an Egyptian vulture low overhead. But the big news was the arrival of nightingales, at least four birds were heard and seen, indicating a substantial overnight arrival – the magic of migration unfolding before our eyes…
2013 [05 May] - Kathie Claydon
…At Gabardito we saw Citril Finch, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle and Alpine Chough. At Lizara, Rock Bunting and a huge flock of about 200 Alpine Choughs were of note. However, birds were often few and far between and we spent a lot of time photographing frozen or very wet plants - including a good range of orchids, hyacinths, wild daffodils and hellebores…
2013 [11 November] - Steve West
…Our first group of Common Cranes greeted us with loud trumpeting and flew up and a little away to join another larger flock feeding on the lakeside fields. Two males and a female Hen Harrier harried one another for a while, and a couple of Red Kites also attracted our attention. A Merlin dashed by and true to its style it couldn’t resist terrifying a pipit or two before it disappeared speedily from view. Largish flocks of Common Linnets, European Goldfinches and Corn Buntings were dotted here and there around the fields surrounding the lagoon….
2014 [05 May] - Chris Gibson - Spanish Pyrenees
...the sun came out. The results were almost instantaneous with griffons appearing from nowhere, red and black kites, and then single booted and short-toed eagles for good measure. A singing male cirl bunting posed well and parties of migrating alpine swifts started to hurtle through every few minutes...
2014 [11 November] - Steve West
...We watched several Red Kites and then enjoyed good views of Eurasian Tree Sparrows in a bush, and also had our first contact with a European Serin. An Iberian Grey Shrike crossed our path and there were several flocks of Common Cranes on the ground ahead of us, but they were nervous and took flight before we could approach. Nevertheless, they made great viewing and contributed enormously to creating a special ambience around the lagoon. There was rarely a dull moment, as when we were not looking at Common Cranes and raptors (Hen Harriers, Western Marsh Harriers, Red Kites, Common Buzzards and Common Kestrels) there were always songbirds to watch, including Crested Larks, Black Redstarts and our first Rock Sparrows...
2016 [06 June] - Chris Gibson
Red and black kites, and before long a few Egyptian and griffon vultures and a hobby, kept us looking up, while the carpets of blue beautiful flax, pink shrubby rest-harrow, and both purple and yellow Jerusalem sages were quite stunning.
Places to Stay
Boletus Birdwatching Centre - Pyrenees
Birdwatching Centre in the Spanish Pyrenees, we inform birders where to go and we organize tours in the northeast of Spain…
Hospedería Villa Pintano
Hospedería Villa Pintano is a nice rural house located in a small medieval village into the mountains of Aragón (Prepirineos) with a population of 30 where you will find total peace and quiet in a natural setting, surrounded by rich natural contrasts, living proof of the pastoral way of life which is still preserved today and where you are sure to be received with plenty of hospitality. …
Amigos de los Monegros
AMIGOS DE LOS MONEGROS es una asociación cultural sin ánimo de lucro que quiere aglutinar a todas las personas con un mínimo de inquietud por el patrimonio natural, artístico y antropológico de Los Monegros. Se trata de trabajar hoy por conservar y recuperar unos valores que tienen que llegar hasta el futuro.
Species, locations, observations excursions and news all about birding in Aragon, Spain…
Atlas de Identificacion de las Aves de Aragon
…identification, sexing and ageing of birds from Aragon (Spain) using photographs…
Birding in Spain
Birds and Birding Tours in northeast Spain: Plan your Birding trip to Catalonia, Aragon and Navarra..
Without a doubt the barren landscape of the Monegros is very beautiful. The conjunction of ochres and greys are lost in the horizon…