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Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour, Spain - 8 Days

Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour, Spain

Orchids and Birds in Extremadura in Spring

A private 8-day Birds of Extremadura and Orchid Tour  led by Martin Kelsey any time from March to late April. This Extremadura birdwatching and orchid holiday is a leisurely paced trip available on request where you can expect to see at least 15 to 20 species of orchid and over 140 species of bird.

Spring in Extremadura offers one of the most exciting and memorable wildlife experiences in Europe. Thanks to its low human population density and still largely traditional land use, there is plenty of space for nature and for the birds of Extremadura. There is a surprising diversity of landscapes and different habitats can be explored each day.

"We had heard about the birding to be had in Extremudura and finally got round to make a visit. The trip exceeded our expectations and in the very capable hands of Martin and Claudia had a very enjoyable time. We came to see the displaying Bustards which did not disappoint, but we saw and enjoyed so much more." - Gary Dean

The birding on the plains is at its most spectacular in early spring and this is a great time of year to see Great Bustards displaying. The visibility is excellent because of the lower vegetation and milder temperatures. Many spring migrants arrive during March, and by mid-April almost all have arrived.

The birds of Extremadura include one of the richest breeding communities of birds of prey - 23 species recorded so far! Have amazing encounters with raptors and classic specialities such as bustards and sandgrouse. If you add in the full panoply of exciting Mediterranean species, who could ask for anything more?

There are about 60 species of orchids recorded in Extremadura. In a week, especially from late March, it should be possible to find between 15 and 20 of those species. The peak of the very attractive Ophrys' (bee-type orchids) flowering is from mid-March to mid-April.  The time is also excellent for early butterflies, with perhaps 15-20 species possible.

As spring progress, the interesting Serapias (tongue orchids) become more dominant. From mid- to late-April, woodland orchids such as Sulphur Orchid and Barton's Orchid can be found, as well as helleborines.

Birding Extremadura will provide a full picnic lunch throughout this tour, based on local products.

Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour highlights include:

  • Exploring ancient olive groves with colonies of orchids, with different species in flower depending on the time and early spring hairstreak butterflies on the wing
  • Trundling male Great Bustards in full display - white pyramids of vibrating passion in the green landscape
  • Limestone hillsides with special orchids, affording views across the heart of Extremadura, with eagles and vultures overhead and blessed with the sweet song of larks
  • Picnic in Monfragüe National Park, perhaps seeing an otter with her cubs and spring migrants everywhere
  • Piecing together a landscape: its geology, vegetation, the role of the human hand through history, a sense of space, full of nature

Would you like a specialist trip to see dragonflies? If so, the Extremadura Dragonfly Holiday, Spain is the one for you.

Please Note: now fully booked for 2022 and 2023, and taking bookings for 2024!

Birding Extremadura is registered by the Government of Extremadura OA-CC-00052 and is a proud member of the Birding in Extremadura Product Club.

Sharing our passion for nature in Extremadura since 2005

Alternative Tour Name: Extremadura’s Birds and Orchids Customised Tour
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival

You will be met at the airport (Madrid, Lisbon or Seville).

Depending on your arrival time, we will stop on the way to Casa Rural El Recuerdo for some birding. This provides an initial taste on what the region has to offer. Extremadura birding starts in the garden and lanes around Casa Rural El Recuerdo. This will quickly produce Hoopoe, Iberian Magpie, Red-rumped Swallow, Serin and Sardinian Warbler.

Day 2
Days 2 to 7 - Main events

The sequence of places visited will depend on the time of year and to optimise weather. We will explore areas in the southern province of Badajoz. There are colonies of Giant Orchids (they start flowering in late January) as well as Hill Orchid, growing in old limestone quarry workings. We will look for colonies of Sombre Orchids and the gorgeous Pink Butterfly Orchids. In areas of limestone outcrops we should find Woodcock, Conical, Pink Butterfly and, depending on the timing, Bumblebee Orchids.

Visits in April will give us a chance of finding the endemic Green-flowered Tongue Orchid. Nearby is the longest Roman Bridge in the world - in the centre of Extremadura’s capital city Mérida. Birding from this 2000 year old structure should yield species like Penduline Tit, Little Bittern and Western Swamphen.

The plains near Trujillo are famous for their steppe species of birds with both species of bustard, sandgrouse and larks. The area is also excellent for birds of prey. Depending on the time of year, we can also find orchids like Bug Orchid and more species of Tongue Orchid.

Later spring visits will give us the opportunity of looking for woodland species, such as Sulphur, Dense-flowered and Bird’s Nest Orchid, as well as several Helleborines.

Arrocampo Reservoir is the most important single site in Extremadura for breeding herons and egrets, and is also rich in other reedbed species such as Savi’s Warbler, Western Swamphen and Penduline Tit. It offers a great birding Extremadura experience. It is near to the most important site for orchids in the north of Extremadura. There are large colonies of Naked Man Orchid, Champagne Orchid and Ophrys species such as Mirror, Yellow Bee, Woodcock and Sawfly. A total of 18 taxa of orchids grow here and we will visit the impressive Orchid Information Centre at the edge of the Almaraz town.

Day 3
Day 8 - End of the tour

Return transfer to the airport, with a stop on route (time permitting) to savour for one last moment the joy of watching nature in Extremadura.

Wildlife species expect to see:

The lists of orchids and birds given are advisory. A lot depends on which week in the spring the holiday takes place, as the orchid species that are in flower change from week to week. Because of prevailing weather, some springs are more advanced than others, which will also influence the timing of flowering. We can provide more detailed advice.


Anacamptis champagneuxii, collina, A. coriophora, A. laxiflora, A. morio, A. papilionacea, Cephalantera longifolia, C. rubra, Dactylorhiza elata, D. fuchsia, D. insularis, D. irenica, D.  maculate, D. sulphurea ,Himantoglossum robertiana, Neotinea conica, N. maculate, Neottia nidus-avis, Ophrys apifera, O. bilunulata, O. bombyliflora, O. dyris, O. fusca, O. incubacea, O. lupercalis, O. lutea, O. picta, O. scolopax, O. speculum, O. tenthredinifera, Orchis italica, O.  langei, Serapias cordigera, S. lingua, S. parviflora, S. perez-chiscanoi, S. vomeracea


Garganey, Red-crested Pochard,Ferruginous Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Black crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Purple Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Egyptian Vulture,Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Black Kite, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Black-winged Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Purple Swamphen, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Scops Owl, Eagle Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, White-rumped Swift, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Bluethroat Nightingale, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Savi’s Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Spotless Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Red Avadavat, Serin, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Corn Bunting


What is included?

  • En suite accommodation
  • Meals (breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal)
  • Exclusive service of a professional guide
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary, customised as requested
  • Transfer to and from the place of accommodation and airport
  • Checklists and after-tour report.

What is not included?

  • Flights
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entry fees to historic sites if visit requested by client
  • Additional services requested (such as photographic hides)
  • Refreshments (apart from that included with meals)
  • Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
Wildlife Reviews
4.83 stars
- based on 2  reviews
  1. Great SpringBirding
    Gary Dean26 Mar 2018







    We had heard about the birding to be had in Extremudura and finally got round to make a visit. The trip exceeded our expectations and in the very capable hands of Martin and Claudia had a very enjoyable time. We came to see the displaying Bustards which did not disapoint, but we saw and enjoyed so much more. The multidude of birds of prey was a highlight as well as the early spring orchids. We booked the fully guided tour and we really appreciated not only Martins knowledge of the area and help in locating the birds but also his entusiasm for them, we learnt so much.
  2. Casa Rural el Recuerdo Spring 2018 trip
    Derek and Helen Langslow09 Apr 2018







    A week of great birdwatching seeing 141 species and admiring orchids with Martin Kelsey. Extramadura has fine landscapes, interesting history and ancient villages. Martin took us to excellent wildlife sites and contributes to conservation locally. Our stay was comfortable and most enjoyable. We visited in 17 to 24 March 2018

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Why book with Birding Extremadura?

Martin Kelsey has been running customised birding and nature tours in Extremadura since 2005, with over 120 to date and is one of the region's most experienced professional guides. Extremadura is one of Europe’s top birding and nature-watching destinations. He has also partnered with acclaimed broadcasters and writers, Mark Cocker and David Lindo, offering group holidays with a difference.


You will stay at our house, which has six guest rooms with either double or twin beds. All rooms have en suite bathrooms. Lunches will be picnics. Our evening meals (three-course dinners with local wine) are based on locally-sourced products as far as possible. including our own olive oil and organic vegetables. We will check with you for any dietary restrictions etc. Most of the energy used at home comes from our solar panels.


Transport is by a vehicle suitable for the size of the group. Walks are short and easy. We will enjoy spending time at vantage points for passing birds of prey.

What to bring

The weather in spring will be variable, with warm sunny days, but still the chance of rainy periods. The evenings and early mornings in early spring can be chilly. Suncream and a hat are advisable.

Other interests

Please let us know whether you would like to include into the itinerary visits to historic monuments such as Roman sites in Mérida and near Cáceres, the monastery of Guadalupe. We can also arrange sessions in specialist photography hides, run by local busineses, if you are interested.

Is the tour exclusive?

Absolutely, our customised tours are exclusive, so you will not be accompanied by others. There may be other guests staying in the lodge, but they will be doing their own thing during the day. Martin will check with you beforehand regarding your priorities, preferred pace and expectations. Contact Martin for the price of a customised tour for one person only, otherwise the quoted price will be per person, based on 2 to 4 people travelling together.

How do I pay, what are the terms and what happens in the event of cancellation?

Send an initial enquiry on-line on this page. Worldwide Traveller Protection via Blue Sky Wildlife Blue Sky Wildlife (based in the United Kingdom) can offer Worldwide Traveller Protection as a member of The Travel Vault and as part of this membership it has a range of insurances in place to cover the potential insolvency of any of the local wildlife specialists listed on the site, as well as the company itself should Blue Sky Wildlife cease trading. If you would prefer to book through Blue Sky Wildlife and make full payment directly to them to activate this protection at no additional cost, it would also mean the travel contract would be between yourselves and Blue Sky Wildlife. Please refer to their booking terms for more information.

Do you need a minimum fitness level for this holiday?

No, Extremadura is a highly accessible region and because the holiday is customised and exclusive, it can be tailor-made to suit your mobility. We have two ground-floor bedrooms for easier access, one of which is wheelchair-friendly.

What is the level of WiFi access?

At the house, we have good WiFi access throughout. There is good mobile phone connectivity in almost all places that we will visit.


As the tours are customised and exclusive, Birding Extremadura runs on a first-come, first-served basis. Spring birding holidays get booked up well in advance (at least a year ahead). There is more scope for later bookings for winter and early summer holidays. Martin can recommend other options if your preferred holiday time is already booked-up.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

8 Days

Price & Availability

EUR1,790 / per person
Based on twin/double room
This tour is operated by: Birding Extremadura
4.98 based on 14 reviews

Quick Enquiry Form

Operator Review Summary

4.98 Based on 14 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Trujillo, Spain
  • On Request
  • Custom Tour
  • 1 to 4 pax
  • 8 Days
  • February to April
  • +10 years (children accompanied by parents or close relatives)
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English, Spanish
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)