Birds of Andalusia
Birdwatching at its best in Europe: ornithological rambles at prestigious wetlands, steppes and mountains.
Birds are vertebrates that generally attract the most attention from naturalists and the general public. And for good reason, they constitute a group of mainly diurnal and easy-to-observe species, which have a great diversity of plumage, songs and customs. Their flight capacity fascinates us and they are harmless to humans.
Andalusia, with more than 280 species of non vagrant birds is definitely a hot spot for avian diversity in Europe. Very little, 3%, we will say comparing it with the global wealth of the group, but with a representation of almost all its orders, which allows us to approach the science of ornithology as a whole.
The south of the Peninsula offers ecosystems of international importance for bird watching: wetlands, agricultural plains, mountain ranges and semi-desert areas, mountains, forests and coasts. A festival of habitats to discover… home to fascinating Mediterranean species.
Colours and behaviours so attractive to the eyes. How not to marvel at a group of bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) or a european roller (Coracias garrulus)? With the hanging nests of the penduline tit (Remiz pendulina) or the colonies of black-headed weavers (Ploceus melanocephelus)? With the “wheels” of the great bustards (Otis tarda)? or the offerings of stones mounds of black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) males?
Birds of Andalusia: pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca).
European bee-eater (Merops apiaster).
Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola).
Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti).
The marshes, rice paddies, salt flats, estuaries and coastal ponds are bastions of the ducks, herons and wading birds, present in quantity, diversity and rarity. We indicate some nearby places that are worth noting for bird watching: Doñana, one of the most famous wetlands in Europe for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and, of course, birds.
The Strait of Gibraltar during the migration is an unforgettable show, tens of thousands of great gliders never miss their appointment twice a year. So many opportunities to enjoy this great intercontinental ballet …
The mountains offer refuge to large raptors, endangered species such as Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), black vulture (Aegypius monachus) or Bonelli eagle (Aquila fasciata).
Not forgetting to mention the bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), a species of very striking morphology, in critical danger of extinction successfully reintroduced in Andalusia and also has a breeding colony easy to observe. There are also heron colonies, in particular on the Guadalquivir River as it passes through the city of Cordoba, where you can combine a visit to the historical monuments and the sightings of black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax).
This wealth is offered to visitors throughout the year and each season gives us its own particular attraction. In winter, water birds, particularly common cranes (Grus grus) and greylag geese (Anser anser), appear in large numbers and stop to rest in large wetlands. In this season, large groups of seabirds feed in the Alboran Sea and large raptors begin courtship. The beginning of spring offers prenuptial migration and its opportunities to observe a large number of species. The golden age of breeding follows, with the colorful nuptial plumages, the songs, dosplays and the frenzy to feed the young. Summer is the most difficult season for resident species that try to take refuge in the coolest corners. And so autumn comes, with the great post-nuptial migration of adults accompanied by the youth of the year, all of them heading to the southernmost territories: either further south in Africa or reaching this region of the southern Peninsula to spend the winter and the cycle begins again.
To contemplate the birds in their habitat is to dedicate time to a moment of pure happiness, connect with our deep nature as nature observers, marvel at the beauty that exists and populate our world.