Fuerteventura Chat Saxicola dacotiae ©Ray Purser Website
Birding Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura literally meaning ‘strong fortune’ but translated by some as ‘Strong Winds’ or a corruption of the French term for ‘Great Adventure’ is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the North Africa region, politically part of Spain. At 1,660 square kilometres (641 square miles), located just 100 km (62 mi) off the coast of north Africa, it is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife. The island is 100 kilometres (62 miles) long and 31 kilometres (19 miles) wide. It is part of the province of Las Palmas and has six municipalities. It was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO (May 2009). Its capital is Puerto del Rosario. The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year, so often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea regulates air temperature, diverting hot Sahara winds away from the island. During the winter months, temperatures average a high of 22 °C (72 °F) and a low of around 15 °C (59 °F), whereas during the summer a mean high of 28 °C (82 °F) and a low of 20 °C (68 °F) can be expected. Precipitation is just 147 mm (6 in) per year, most of which falls in autumn and winter. December is the month with highest rainfall. The island is home to one of the two surviving populations of the threatened Canarian Egyptian vulture. On the barren, rocky land there are Barbary ground squirrels and geckos. It is the only place in the world that the Canary Island Chat is found (a separate subspecies on the islets of Allegranza and Montaña Clara to the north of Lanzarote is now unfortunately extinct). Other interesting species best seen on Fuerteventura include the Barbary Partridge, Cream-Coloured Courser, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Spectacled Warbler, Berthelot’s Pipit, Hoopoe, Southern Grey Shrike and Trumpeter Finch. A good tip for birding in the Canaries is to head for fresh water, as birds tend to congregate around it, especially on the very dry Eastern islands.

Return to the Canaries page: Canary Isles Main Page</

  • Number of endemics: 1

    Canary Islands Chat Saxicola dacotiae
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Fuerteventura Bird Watch

    Tour Operator
    Fuerteventura Bird Watch is run by Derek Bradbury who has worked as a volunteer on conservation projects on the island of Fuerteventura for many years. It has been primarily a research project undertaken to record the impact that the fast growing tourist industry and the massive changes in the infrastructure is having on the indigenous bird species of this island and the migratory birds, some of which breed, and some that stop off on their migration passage north or south depending on the time of year.
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [01 January] - Dave Andrews

    PDF Report
    …Getting into our hire car at the airport, the first birds of the trip, 5 Berthelot's Pipits were foraging at our feet. This Canary Island endemic proved to be the commonest bird of the trip and could be found at almost every site we visited. A short distance south from the airport was our accommodation, a no-frills though adequate self-catering cottage in Costa de Antigua. Dropping off our small amount of luggage at the cottage we added Eurasian Linnet of the eastern Canaries race harterti, Spanish Sparrow, Collared Dove and Feral Pigeon in the accommodation compound, while Atlantis Yellow-legged Gull passed overhead….
  • 2014 [01 January] - Jean Roberts & pete Marsh

    …Hot dry and sunny. First bird was Southern Grey Shrike on roof of the accommodation (Costa de Antigua). Visited El Cotillo plain accessing from the south end, but could not progress beyond the barranco due to road erosion. A disappointing start bird-wise but a Vagrant Emperor was seen and a nice damp hollow was located at the back of the residence with castle turrets and this produced a lot of nectaring plants hosting two Striped Hawk Moth, c16 Scarce Bordered Straw, one Bordered Straw and several Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and the pyralid Spoladea recurvalis… plus an Emperor dragonfly. Birds comprised Bertholet’s Pipit, a flock of 17 Raven and a few Spanish Sparrow, plus a single Chiffchaff. A low-key start in the hottest weather of the trip! Visited fields north of La Oliva but didn’t see any bustards but located two Palm/Laughing Dove with the Collared Dove and 15-20 Linnet. Difficult windy afternoon conditions for locating passerines. We then visited Los Molinos reservoir at the dam end and immediately located male and female Fuerteventura Chat. Also c30 Black-winged Stilt, 6+ Little Ringed Plover, 4 Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, 100 Ruddy Shelduck, Teal, Redshank (the day’s island tick for Pete), Greenshank, Coot and single Moorhen. Evening seawatch at Costa de Antigua produced Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls!…
  • 2014 [02 February] - Anders Hangaard

    …A nice window from work in winter with my ten-year-old son Eskil, who bacame a valuable spotter on the narrow tarmac roads of Fuerteventura. Thanks to Terje Axelsen for once again lending me his copy of "A Birdwatchers' Guide to The Canary Islands" by Tony Clark and David Collins. I also brought my GPS and several recent trip reports to make sure that all needed species of birds would be securely ticked off. Apart from being a tourist-trap badly infested by Brits and Germans (however not as bad as Tenerife, which I visited last year), this desolate island in the Atlantic ocean certainly produced many brilliant birds, thank you very much…
  • 2014 [02 February] - Julian Hughes

    PDF Report
    …Our cottage on the northern edge of Lajares had a limited amount of vegetation in the garden, where spectacled warbler and the pipit were regular, as well as Barbary ground squirrel. We heard stone-curlew on several occasions from the terrace, saw a covey of Barbary partridges one evening, had an Egyptian vulture overhead as we left and saw trumpeter finches along the entrance track…
  • 2014 [10 October] - Geoff Upton

    PDF Report
    ...The first birds I heard were southern grey shrikes rasping at each other, although I didn’t know what theywere at the time. A few other birds in the village fields and rooftops collared doves, Spanish sparrows, and akestrel. A few ravens of the Canary Island race tingitanus – smaller than Corax and with a less honking, morecrow-like call – flew over. 10 minutes’ walk from the house took me into open desert country with lowvegetation which looked to have potential for desert birds. After a while I was looking at my first Berthelot’spipit and shortly afterwards a group of four trumpeter finches landed among the rocks...
  • 2015 [02 February] - Kilian Wasmer

    PDF Report
    ...Ruta de Queso (X p. 147)Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Stone Curlew, Trumpeter Finch, Lesser Short-toed lark...
  • 2015 [02 February] - Richard Howard

    PDF Report
    As to the birds, there were four definite new ones for me, being year-round residents and one being endemic to theisland. These were Berthelot’s Pipit, Fuerteventura Chat, African Blue Tit and Houbara Bustard. Apart from these,there was a further summer visitor, Plain Swift, which was in theory a possibility, but judging from reports I hadread, they tended to come in later unless an early bird could be found...
  • 2015 [03 March] - David Collins

    PDF Report
    ...Within an hour we were lucky enough to have great close views of no less than five houbaras and an absolutely delightful pair of cream-coloured coursers feeding happily very close to the minibus.
  • 2015 [03 March] - Paul Sharp

    PDF Report
    ...Hoping that the area above the rise would provide a good vantage point we stopped to scanthe area, picking out little but a further distant Barbary Partridge and a few larks tending toland out of sight. As we got out of the car to check the larks we flushed two Black-belliedSandgrouse, and then from where these birds had flown, picked out another pair on theground. Soon we confirmed that the larks were Lesser Short-toed Larks (almost ever-presentbut often elusive), and as it was by now mid-morning started to think about breakfast.
  • 2016 [04 April] - David Karr

    PDF Report
    A birding trip to the Spanish Canary Islands would not be complete without a visit to Fuerteventura(Strong Winds). I did a day trip from Tenerife and managed to see all of my ‘European desert’ andCanaries endemic wish list: Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse,Egyptian Vulture and Fuerteventura Stonechat with my excellent local guide, Marcelo Cabrera.
  • 2017 [02 February] - Peter & Rosemary Royle

    PDF Report
    The reason for this trip was to hopefully get some warmsunshine in a miserable February and to see 5 species ofbirds. The obvious ones were Houbara Bustard andFuerteventura Stonechat (now apparently called CanaryIsland Chat) but we also wanted to catch up withTrumpeter Finch – becoming something of a bogey bird forus as we had missed it in several countries, and similarlyBarbary Partridge having missed this in Tenerife and Tunisia. The fifth bird was AfricanCollared Dove, now native on Fuerteventura and we had learnt that there was one pairedwith a Collared Dove in the hotel where we were staying!We achieved the bird objectives most satisfactorily but I’m afraid the tan remains at it’srather pallid level at which we embarked on the plane at Bristol!
  • 2017 [03 March] - Ashley Howe & Oliver Simms

    PDF Report
    Having limited annual leave from work this trip was an intentionally brief weekend visit that was hopefully also going to be cheap. With £80 returns from London Gatwick the flights certainly delivered, but unfortunately were delayed slightly due to the French strikes on the outbound, andPortuguese radar failure on the return. There were three main targets on our 'smash and grab' trip that we both needed; Fuerteventura Chat, Houbara Bustard and the local race of Blue Tit. Oliver, who had not visited The Canaries before, had several more that we agreed we'd try for iftime allowed.
  • 2017 [03 March] – David Collins – Fuerteventura

    PDF Report
    From the minibus we had wonderful close views of about ten cream-coloured coursers. They are such elegant and unusual birds and it is always special to watch them at close quarters.
  • 2017 [11 November] - Mark Hows

    PDF Report
    My wife and I headed to Fuertenventura for a few days, mixed wildlife watching and touristy stuff and some relaxing.Wildlife targets were fewso we could take our time finding them...
  • 2017 [12 December] - Matt Eade

    With constant positive news and some lovely photos coming out of the Dwarf Bittern on Fuerteventura, my interest in seeing this bird was becoming more and more intense. I am in no means a Western Palearctic lister, nor do I keep a list of this region, however having been to Africa five times and still yet to get even a sniff of a Dwarf Bittern, I felt it was a good decision in trying to see this bird. With staff travel flights at £37 return I needed no more pushing, and Friday morning I set off to LGW for an early on time departure bound for the Canaries.
  • 2018 [01 January] - Craig Reed

    PDF Report
    With the presence of a number of rare and scarcebird species on the island of Fuerteventura,to complement the expected range of resident endemic species and subspecies, combined withcheapflights, a last-minute plan was hatched for a whistle-stoptour of the island.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Lukas Thiess

    PDF Report
    We went to Fuerteventura from February 7th until 19th with the motivation of seeing and photographing desert birds such as Cream-coloured Courser and Stone Curlew while escaping the cold central European winter for a while. We chose Fuerteventura as it offers good chances of seeing desert birds and other nice southern European breeding species with possibilities of spotting migrants and vagrants. At the same time, the area of the island is not too large and easy to travel.
  • 2018 [03 March] - David & Amanda Mason

    ...For at least 10 years we have considered Fuerteventura for a short burst of winter sunshine. This year, at long last, we took the plunge: not many lifers on offer, but some relaxed birding along the island’s many tracks sounded like a good idea...
  • 2019 [03 March] - Sam Bosanquet

    PDF Report
    Blue Chaffinch has been one of my dream birds for nearly 20 years, and a trip to Tenerife allowed me to combine paying my respects to this species with seeing two new pigeons and a host of interesting subspecies.
  • 2019 [03 March] -Phil Callagher

    PDF Report
    Fuerteventura always offers a unique range of species, but in spring 2019 the island looked particularly attractive. It was hosting a long-staying vagrant African Dwarf Bittern, plus four pairs of recently-colonised Red-billed Tropicbirds, both difficult birds to tick off in the Western Palearctic (or indeed anywhere).
  • 2021 [087 August] - Matthew Mellor - Fuerteventura & Lanzarote

    PDF Report
    ...PDF Report...
  • 2022 [03 March] - Ed O'Hara

    PDF Report
    Barranco de la Torre / Museo del las Salinas del Carmen

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