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Spain Extremadura

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala William Haworth extremadurabirding.co.uk/

Extremadura remains, perhaps, one of the richest regions of all Europe. Of course we express richness not in economic terms, but in a healthy environment, traditions, gastronomy and cultural & historic heritage. Mixing features of Andalucía and the two Castillas regions in Spain with the Alentejo region in Portugal, is a land waiting to be discovered with huge and extremely important bird populations and an incredible variety of species. Extremadura and its wild and unspoilt nature covers 41,602Sq Kms of the Iberian Peninsula's surface, of which more that 30,000Sq kms have been catalogued as IBAs (Important Bird Areas). More than 75% of the territory!

Extremadura has almost all the ecosystems represented in the Iberian Peninsula, except for coastline and seashores. High mountain ranges with altitudes above 8,000 feet, highlands, rice fields, wide steppe areas, isolated relict Mediterranean jungles and the most extensive Cork forests in the world. From North to South, or East to West, you will discover one of the richest places in Europe for birding. Thousands of Common Cranes and raptors know it, coming back every year to over-winter or breed. But which areas do they prefer? See the top sites below.

Top Sites

Jerez de los Caballeros (Dehesa Woodlands)

Satellite View

Southern Extremadura, where villages climb up the hills, and impressive castles nestle on the peaks. Birdwatchers sitting here can explore the horizon with their binoculars, all you can see around are Dehesas. The Dehesa woodland is an open Oak tree forest where traditional human activities are still going on. It is so extensive that you would think that our old continent has no forestry problems at all! Miles and miles of Dehesas supporting extremely rich bird communities: Black Storks have their largest populations, a high density of forest raptors, Hawks and Kites all abound. Abandoned & collapsed houses are shelter for European Rollers, Hoopoes, Thrushes and Wheatears. And if you close your eyes and just listen, you will discover the flying calls of European Bee-eaters and the non-stop song of Red-necked Nightjars.

La Serena Steppes

Some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Extremadura are the huge grassy plains and wide open steppes. These lands, apparently dead during the hot Iberian summer, sustain the most important breeding populations of Little and Great Bustards in Europe, the unforgettable silhouette of Montagu`s Harriers, Lesser Kestrels and hundreds of Collared Pranticoles, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.

Monfragüe Natural Park

Information

Satellite View

What Doñana is to Andalusia, Monfragüe is to Extremadura: A sanctuary for birds! An area where one can still enjoy the best Iberian Mediterranean woodlands spotted with rock cliffs and deep gullies. The best site for searching some of the most endangered species: the biggest breeding colony of Monk Vulture in the world, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Stork, Bonelli's Eagle, and many others. This is a mountainous area alongside the rivers Tajo and Tiétar, about 30 Km in length and with peaks reaching 300m to 700m. It includes two distinct landscapes, precipitous ridges and an extensive area of plains. The two areas are quite distinct, and offer quite different types of birds. It is remarkable for the presence of birds of prey and is considered the best area in the world to see Black Vulture (225 pairs - these birds may be seen at almost any point in the park); Black-winged Kite, Black Kite (abundant); Egyptian Vulture (10 pairs); Griffon Vulture (400 pairs); Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle (4 pairs); and Imperial Eagle (12 pairs). One can also see White Stork (with a high population density); and Black Stork (at 10 pairs it is the best area in Spain).

Vegas Altas of the Guadiana River

The third most extensive rice fields in Spain can be found here. A highly cultivated area, mixed with extenses open Oak woodlands or Dehesas, and huge reservoirs including Orellana – the inner sea - the only Ramsar zone of the region. An impressive landscape which feeds thousands of Common Cranes every year. Winter is the more interesting season for birding, although it is a very cold land, commonly known as Siberia by the locals. Huge populations of Herons, Egrets, Ducks, Plovers, Sandpipers and Raptors can be found here and it is a perfect place to see the beautiful flight of our beloved Merlins and Black-shouldered Kites, in comfort.

Villuercas Ranges

Not far from Monfragüe the horizon has extensive mountain ranges and hidden valleys where the Guadalupe Monastery stands. The surrounding areas are covered with Mediterranean and deciduous forests resembling northern latitudes vegetation such as Walnuts, Silver Birch, Sweet Chesnut and Oaks. Due to the mixing of features of Mediteranean and Atlantic flora, it is a paradise for warblers, passerines and forest birds. At the same time European Honey-buzzards, Black and Red Kites, Short-toed eagles and Egyptian or Eurasian Griffon Vultures fight to establish their own flight territories in the skys!

Contributor

Jorge Garzón

Coordinador - Investnatura - Observación de aves

Andalucía - Extremadura - Portugal - Marruecos

nature@investnatura.org

Useful Reading

Birding Extremadura - Azure Wings in the dogs bowl

by Malcolm Rymer DVD - 90mins ISBN: 142198
See Fatbirder Review Available direct from the filmmaker: http://www.wildlifevideos.net/extremadura_new.html

Finding Birds in Extremadura

By Dave Gosney - Paperback | Aug 2013 | Easybirder | 31 Pages | Black & White Maps
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316425

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Extremadura

DVD | Region 2 | Aug 2013 | Easybirder | Runtime 86 Minutes
See FatbirderReview

ISBN: 9781907316432

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Nature Guide to Extremadura

By Dirk Hilbers | CROSSBILL GUIDES - KNNV | Softcover | 2011 | Edition: 2 | 224 pages, col photos, col illus.
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9050113818

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

ADENEX -Association for the Defence of the Nature and the Resources of Extremadura

Website

Amongst ADENEX`s best known campaigns, we should mention: campaign in defence of Extremaduran holm-oak woods; campaign against Valdecaballeros`s nuclear plant; establishment of a vulture`s feeding places network; campaign against Great Bustard hunting; campaign in defence of birds of prey; campaign for the rescue of the Montagu`s Harrier young; campaign in defence of White and Black Storks; campaign for the conservation of the Crane`s wintering habitats in Extremadura; campaign in defence of the Jerte Valley; campaign for the adaptation and re-arrangement of high-tension lines in Extremadura; campaign in defence of the International Tajo river; campaign for the rescue of Roman Forum of Mérida; campaign for the conservation of the historical centre of Badajoz; campaign Close Almaraz, etc…

Festivals

Extremadura Birdwatching Fair

Website

The Extremadura Birdwatching Fair is now an annual event, running for the 7th time in 2012. FIO is the first fair of its kind in Spain and is run on similar but much smaller lines than the UK Rutland version. It is usually held at the end of February/ beginning of March. Dates for 2012 TBA.

Reserves

Cornalvo Natural Park

Information

Satellite View

Interesting at any time of year, but spring is the best time to watch the birds associated with forests and dehesa. The reservoir has a greater diversity of species in winter and at the end of summer…

La Naturaleza de Extremadura

Facebook Page

Monfrague

Information

Satellite View

El Parque Natural de Monfragüe, referencia obligada del bosque y matorral mediterráneo, se encuentra en la provincia de Cáceres, en el centro del triángulo formado por Navalmoral de la Mata, Plasencia y Trujillo…

Parque Natural de Monfragüe

Information

Satellite View

Monfragüe is roughly in the centre of the province of Cáceres, at the confluence of the rivers Tajo and Tiétar. It is at present the only National Park in Extremadura, with 18,118 ha under this protection…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

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.

2003 [April] - Honeyguide

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2003 [April] - Lutz Lücker

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…Having nothing special to tick off in the Extremadura area, my main aim was to get GOOD views of certain raptors and steppe birds…

2003 [March] - Honeyguide

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2004 [April] - Greg Anderson

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The holiday duration was 12 days, 8 days in Fuengirola with the mother-in- law in her apartment. Then with my wife Linda and two children Katherine 14 and Daniel 12 we departed to our country home for the next four days…

2004 [March] - Honeyguide

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2005 [April] - Audouin Birding Tours

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The arrival to Madrid airport was problem free, and we started going towards Silos reservoir. The journey was smooth and without much traffic. On our way we stopped for views of some raptors, and we saw our first Griffon Vultures flying above the Evergreen Oak forests…

2005 [March] - Honeyguides

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2005 [May] - Hans Schick

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I observed 96 bird species in the steppelands, dehesas and national parks of Extremadura. 9 of these species could be documented by digiscoping and are displayed in the Species List of this report…

2005 [May] - Honeyguides

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2005 [May] - Ray Wilson

Report

Extremadura, located in central Spain, is a popular destination for birders wanting to see many of the Iberian peninsula's speciality birds, such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Great Bustard and Azure-winged Magpie. The following pages give a taste of many of the species you are likely to encounter on a spring trip…

2006 [April] - Audouin Birding Tours

Report

The arrival to Madrid airport was problem free, and we started going towards Silos reservoir. The journey was smooth and without much traffic. On our way we stopped for views of some raptors, and we saw our first Griffon Vultures flying above the Evergreen Oak forests…

2006 [April] - Lutz Lucker

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Extremadura and northwestern Spain,12th to 23rd-April 2006 (deutsche Fassung)- First nights camping rough , then Hotel Rosales in Malpartida de Plasencia and Motorway Motel El Cruce, 10 kms north of Trujillo between la Aldea and Torrecillas…

2006 [June] - Clare Miller

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Monfragüe Nature Park, La Serena plains, Badajoz Reservoirs - A group of us (living in Paris, Brussels and London) decided we would take a birding holiday at Easter to see some Spring migrants and catch some sunshine. After extensive consultation with friends and fellow bird enthusiasts, we decided to head for Extremadura…

2006 [March] - Honeyguides

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2007 [April] - Cristian Jensen Marcet - Audouin Birding

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…This area hosts some of the best Umbrella Pine forests of Spain and also a good representation of dehesa and other Mediterranean forest types. During our first stop we stretched our legs while watching a Crested Tit followed by the "Speedy Josele". Short-toed Treecreper, Blue and Great Tits, Serin, Chaffinch, and Spotless Starling, were among the birds that we were warming up with. The day was unusually cold for this time of year in Spain…

2007 [March] - Honeyguides

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2008 [April] - Cristian Jensen

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…On our way we stopped at a beautiful old town with a medieval castle with breeding Lesser Kestrels, White Storks, Jackdaws, and Crag Martins. From the castle we could enjoy the beautiful landscape of Extremadura. Our first Short-toed Eagle was spotted, together with Griffon Vultures and Black Kites. Barn Swallow, House Martin, Goldfinch, Spotless Starling and Common Swift were also spotted…

2008 [March] - Honeyguide

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2008 [May] - Hans Schick

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From May 20 – 29, 2008 I spent again 10 days in Andalucía and Extremadura in Spain. I was accompanied by Stefan Wedler. We visited some well known places in the Province of Málaga in Andaucía, but spent most of our time in the Province of Cáceres in Extremadura…

2008 [May] - Ian Kinley & Dave Thexton

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Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos…

2009 [March] - Honeyguide

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2009 [May] - Cristian Jensen

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…The three of us then headed to the airport, and on our way there a group of three Monk Parakeets crossed the road just in front of us! Unfortunately Alison and Peter didn’t see them well enough to be sure what they'd seen, so we could not tick the species on our list. At the airport we had a drink and a chat while waiting for the other group members to arrive. The arrival of the other participants at Madrid Airport was without any problems, and we went on towards Extremadura…

2010 [March] - Honeyguide

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2010 [May] - Cristian Jensen

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…After dinner we already had the first contacts with nocturnal birds inhabiting the area. Several Nightingales were singing around the Hotel and a Red-necked Nightjar delighted us with its song, but we couldn’t spot it, no yet…

2010 [May] - Mark Jarrett - Extremadura & Andalucia

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We flew into Madrid, collected the hire car and travelled the 250 km or so to our base in Torrejon El Rubio, situated on the southern edge of Parque Natural de Monfrague. The weather was cloudy and cool with one or two showers and apart from the odd brief stop, all our birdwatching was done from the car…

2011 [March] - Honeyguide

Report

…it was difficult to decide what to look at: a Spanish imperial eagle soaring, a calling peregrine, black storks (including a pair on their nest) and Egyptian vultures, as well numerous griffon vultures. Add to that black vulture, red and black kites and booted eagle…

2012 [February] - Honeyguide

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… we could see another line of cranes coming towards us, followed by another and yet another. We started to scan generally in that direction, and far in the distance we could see groups of cranes heading our way. We were witnessing the very start of the northward migration. The pattern was repeated and repeated: a line approached, broke up amidst a glorious sound of bugling from the birds as they circled, regrouped and then disappeared northwards. It was a moving experience and we all stood in silence and wonder as we took in this very special spectacle.

2012 [November] - Pat & Judy Hayes

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…Although we have visited the area twice previously, we hadn’t visited in late autumn when all those special species of the region, sandgrouse, bustards, larks and cranes congregate in large flocks - hopefully making them a little easier to locate and photograph…

2013 [April] - Steve West

Report PDF

…Our first wetland birds came in the form of Purple Swamphen, plenty of Purple Herons, a single Squacco Heron, Great, Cattle and Little Egrets, White Storks and Great Crested Grebes. In the reeds we could hear and glimpse, or vainly attempt to, Eurasian Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler, although the star of the moment must have been the Savi’s Warbler, reeling somewhere out there….

2013 [June] - Fraser Simpson

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…Having last visited Extremadura in 2002, I was feeling drawn to return to Monfragüe and its surroundings, particularly the peaceful but magical dehesas. There was no real urge to rush around finding species I had seen well on previous visits. This time I was concentrating on sound recording whatever species I encountered with less emphasis on tabulating numbers of everything seen. As a result, this report concentrates on vocalisations and selected cuts are presented here in mp3 format. This was also Lisa's first visit to south-west Spain and we pitched all week at Camping Monfragüe on the edge of the national park…

2013 [March] - Bob Swann

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…Returned to Parador de Gredos and walked down through the fields on the west side of the hotel. Nice flock of 10+ Rock Bunting, with a pair of Cirl Bunting and a few Song Thrush. By the old stables a pair of Rock Sparrow. Quite a few Black Redstarts, with many in song, despite the weather. Checked the pinewoods fairly thoroughly, though much as yesterday. Found a flock of c30 Siskin, but no sign of citril finch. Perhaps with the cold weather they had not arrived on their breeding grounds….

2013 [March] - Martin Kelsey & Chris Durdin

PDF Report

From the start of the walk various birds of prey were watched flying overhead: red and black kites, a common kestrel, and distant griffon and black vultures, but pride of place undoubtedly went to a pair of booted eagles. Against a clear blue sky, we stood rewarded by the sight of the male making perhaps ten or more deep dives as it sky-danced overhead in courtship, the female soaring close above it….

2013 [March] – Martin Kelsey and Chris Durdin

Report

From the start of the walk various birds of prey were watched flying overhead: red and black kites, a common kestrel, and distant griffon and black vultures, but pride of place undoubtedly went to a pair of booted eagles. Against a clear blue sky, we stood rewarded by the sight of the male making perhaps ten or more deep dives as it sky-danced overhead in courtship, the female soaring close above it…

2013 [May] - Neil Gartshore

Report PDF

…After lunch we continued along the road through the park heading to the Portilla del Tietar, stopping occasionally along the way. Our first stop overlooked over an area of scrubland where there are usually Black-eared Wheatears – one bird was seen briefly in flight. Then it was on to the viewpoint looking over the Monfragüe Ridge and the Rio Tietar below where we saw three close Egyptian Vultures overhead and a singing Subalpine Warbler in the scrub….

2014 [February] - Steve Round

Report

…We then moved on to the lagoons at La Albuera. Two hides overlook the main lagoon which is home to waterfowl. Amongst the more common birds here such as Pochard and Gadwall, of interest were Egyptian Goose, Red-crested Pochard and Black-necked Grebe. A pair of White Storks had taken up residence on top of a tower hide nearby, with more in the trees beyond. A Singing, Southern Grey Shrike was seen in a nearby tree and both Hen and Marsh Harrier were spotted here….

2014 [March] – Chris Durdin

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The Finca’s garden was alive with birds before breakfast, even though group members mostly weren’t out for long, given that dawn comes late here. Cuckoos and hoopoes called, azure-winged magpies moved through and hawfinches perched on tree tops. A one-minute diversion before breakfast was all it took to look at last year’s red-rumped swallows’ nest…

Guides & Tour Operators

Audouin Birding Tours

Tour Operator

Aviantours

Tour Operator

Aviantours promises to teach the art of bird photography & digiscoping as well as offering birdwatching tours in Spain, Morocco & Gibraltar…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Boletus - Josele J. Saiz

Tour Operator

Better known for his wonderful birder's guesthouse in the Pyrenees [Boletas]; Josele guides throughout Spain and Morocco…

Extremadura Birding

Tour Operator

Visit with people who really know the area… we only work in Extremadura and know the area and its birds intimately…

Gone Birding

Tour Operator

This six day tour will be based close to Trujillo, centrally located to the plains, and close to Monfrague National Park. Accommodation will be in a converted farm, with bed, breakfast and evening meal supplied…

Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays

Tour Operator

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..

Iberia Nature

Tour Operator

Iberia Nature is an Extremadura-based company offering, through its nature guiding service the possibility of getting to know first hand the rich natural legacy of this Region. It arranges guided visits, nature photographing and much more. It guarantees a combination of top standards with a fully-committed respect for the natural medium…

Iberian Wildlife Tours

Tour Operator

The combination of such diverse geography and habitats in the Extremadura region make it one of the best in Europe for wildlife, especially birds…

Julian Sykes Wildlife Holidays

Tour

Extremadura is world famous amongst naturalists and birdwatchers with its incredible diversity, sheer numbers of raptor and steppe species, needs no introduction…

Spain Birds

Tour Operator

SPAINBIRDS is a small company which efforts are appointed to organize ornithology tours over all spanish geography. Its expert leader, Santiago Villa, has a deep knowledge about iberian birds. Natural Parks as Doñana, Cabañeros and Monfragüe are his favourite spots, in which he has spent unforgettable moments, and also there, there is one of the most vulnerable raptors of the world: Spanish Imperial Eagle. Species that he knows very well, in fact he controlled a pair for two breeding season in the Monte de El Pardo. In spite of that he was born in Madrid, he is very bound to Extremadura by strong affection since he was a child, due to his parents were born in Membrio, a little village placed between Sierra de San Pedro and Llanos de Brozas, with no doubt, two of the best conserved places in Europe.

Places to Stay

Casa Rural El Recuerdo

Accommodation

Run by birders, for birders…

Casa Rural Las Canteras - Trujillo

Website

Casa Rural La Canteras is an old manor house, dating back to the late 19th Century. It is located 12 km by road from Trujillo, within a Special Protection Area for Birds, a paradise for birdwatchers. Its privileged situation makes it an ideal place to explore Extremadura…

El Elanio - Country Guesthouse

Accommodation

The house has 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room and kitchen. The decoration, also developed by us, looking for a rustic, yet comfortable, austere, yet cozy. Our heating, a mixed system based electricity and oak wood, once again looking for more sustainable methods possible….

El Tenado

Accommodation

Casa Rural con encanto en Extremadura Para disfrutar de la naturaleza y los placeres rurales…

Finca Al Manzil

Accommodation

Finca Al-manzil is 22 hectare finca on the S.W. slope of the Sierra de Montanchez. One approaches the finca along a winding lane, part of the ancient system of communication that link even the most remote parts of the sierra…

Ornithological Rural Houses of Extremadura

Accommodation

Vaquería CantaElGallo

Website

The Vaqueria CantaElGallo offers a natural retreat. Spend a few days here enjoying the many outdoor activities or simple relaxing and you will discover the pleasure of being surrounded by the peace and tranquility of nature…

Vina las Torres

Accommodation

You could not wish for a better base for exploring Extremadura - Vina las Torres is a comfortable, family run, rural hotel situated in the heart of the Lagares Mountains, in the province of Caceres, Extremadura, just 10 km. outside Trujillo - what an unexpected and delightful surprise. It is a stately home, which has been carefully restored to provide a warm and comfortable environment… info@vinalastorres.com +34 927 319 350

Other Links

Birds of Extramadura

Website

The combination of such diverse geography and habitats in the Extremadura region make it one of the best in Europe for wildlife, especially birds…

Extremadura Birds

Information

Extremadura is very popular with bird lovers all over Europe, for it has a very divers population of interesting species of birds. All the year round one can enjoy particular species of birds that are difficult to be found anywhere else in Europe…

Extremadura Birds

Website

Extremadura is very popular with bird lovers all over Europe, for it has a very divers population of interesting species of birds. All the year round one can enjoy particular species of birds that are difficult to be found anywhere else in Europe…

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Lluis Sogorb

Gallery

Artistic BLOG