Discovering The Birds of Southern Spain & Portugal Tour
This is a 5-day Birds of Portugal & Spain Tour that takes you to visit several Important Bird Areas, Parks and Nature Reserves in the southwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula.
In this birding tour of Portugal and Spain, we will be able to observe some of the most emblematic species of this territory, which are on the red list of endangered birds, such as the Black Vulture, the Egyptian Vulture, or the Spanish Imperial Eagle. This Portuguese & Spanish birdwatching tour starts and ends in Lisbon and is aimed at small groups with a maximum of 8 participants.
This birding tour let us know the important area for birds of Cabeção, the Natural Park of the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche located in the region of Andalusia.
Then back to Portugal, we visit the Important Bird Area of Moura and Barrancos passing through the Noudar Natural Park and the Herdade da Contenda. The next day we visit the territory of the Castro Verde UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the best-preserved steppes in Europe that holds a wonderful colony of Great and Little Bustards, and on the way back we visit part of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, which is an excellent place for spoonbills, flamingos, and shorebirds.
Top 5 Highlights:
- Two countries in only five days with the company of a local expert.
- We visit the most unexplored corner of Portugal and Spain in southwestern Iberia.
- Stunning landscapes with different habitats.
- Very informative and experienced leader who gives lots of tips on natural history as well as local history and traditions.
- All levels welcome. We adapt to the interest of each participant.
Join us on this birdwatching tour of Portugal and Spain for an extensive checklist as we cover different habitats: from hills to steppes, and from lakes to salt marshes; while we enjoy the local taste of the Portuguese and Spanish cuisine as this tour is all-inclusive.
Transfers can be arranged from Lisbon Airport or any other meeting point in the south of Portugal (railway station, hotel, etc.).
Are you looking for a longer birdwatching holiday in Portugal and Spain, please check out our Complete Birdwatching Tour of Spain and Portugal 8 days / 7 nights
Alternative Tour Name: Discover the birds of Portugal and Spain Birding Tour
Arrival at the airport / station / meeting point and start of the journey from Lisbon to Alentejo.
Depending on the schedules and the tides, on the way we can make a stop to observe birds in the Tagus estuary or visit the Fluviário de Mora where there is a collection of freshwater fish. Accommodation and dinner, followed by an informative session about the trip.
This morning we visit the Important Bird Area of Cabeção with a stop at the Gameiro Ecological Park where we can observe the birds in the stream of Raia and the surrounding fields. This classified area consists mainly of an extensive area of cork oak forest (Quercus suber), managed for the exploitation of cork, for animal grazing and agricultural crops. Stop for lunch in the city of Estremoz or in the Elvas region. Then we go south passing through the Spanish cities of Olivenza, Alconchel, Jerez de los Caballeros, Fregenal de la Sierra ending the trip in the Aracena area. Arrival at the accommodation and dinner.
After the previous day's long trip, it is time to stretch your legs and enjoy one of the many walks offered by the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park. We visit the castle of Aracena, a watchtower that allows us to enjoy beautiful views and walk through the sky to observe the awakening of the first birds of prey. This Park is the second largest protected area in Andalucia and the interest in visiting this park is justified by the richness of landscapes. The meadows populated by holm oaks are replaced by cork oaks in some wetter areas, while at higher altitudes English oak and chestnut forests are frequent. In riverbeds like the Múrtigas, there are abundant large trees such as poplars, ash trees, willows and alders. This variety of forest provides an interesting wealth of fauna. At the end of the day, we return to Portugal to have dinner and sleep in the town of Barranco.
On this day, we visit the Important Bird Area of Moura and Barrancos. This site presents a mosaic of open habitats with non-intensive cereal crops, permanent pastures with scattered holm oaks (Quercus ilex) and cork oaks (Quercus suber). The watercourses, especially the Ardila River, have margins with aquatic vegetation and some shale rocks. Grazing, sheep and cattle are prevalent in the area, and there are relatively small properties with olive groves and vineyards. The existing houses are disaminated. In the morning, we visit the Natural Park of Noudar where there is still a vegetation cover close to what would be original, as if there had never been any human intervention. These are rich and rugged forests, hard to access, that still hold Noudar's greatest secret. The richness and diversity of this territory is the result of its geographical isolation, low human density and because it is located in a transition zone between Spain where it marks the landscape of Sierra Morena and the vast fields of the Alentejo plains. Stop for lunch in Barrancos. In the afternoon, we visit the Herdade da Contenda, a huge estate of public domain with restriceted access where we have the accompaniment of a local guide. More than a hundred species of birds are listed here, being an important area especially for many birds of prey, especially vultures and great eagles. Its unique characteristics make this territory a place of excellence for the development of tourist activities in nature. Due to its importance and its biodiversity, the Herdade da Contenda integrates a Special Protection Zone and a Site of Community Importance of the Natura 2000 Network. It has a very rich fauna, being one of the places with the highest concentration of deer in Portugal. Travel to accommodation and dinner.
In the morning, we go to the Vale Gonçalinho Environmental Center through the territory of the Castro Verde Biosphere Reserve, classified by UNESCO due to the values resulting from a harmonious millennial relationship between human and nature, whose historical process of evolution of the land occupation and use resulted in an agroecosystem of high conservation value. Among the extraordinary biodiversity that is produced here, a structured and diversified bird community stands out, with some 200 species, where the emblematic steppe birds stand out. Stop for lunch in the Castro Verde area. In the afternoon, we start our journey back to Lisbon through the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve. If the tide is favorable, we can make a stop to watch birds. Finally, we are back at the meeting point at the end of the day.
Possible birds for the checklist:
Residents: White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Egyptian Vulture, Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Hoopoe, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark, Calandra Lark, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Azure-winged Magpie, Iberian Grey Shrike, Corn Bunting, Rock Bunting.
Winter Birds: Common Crane, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Skylark, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Alpine Accentor, Brambling, Siskin.
Summer Birds: Black Stork, Quail, Black-eared Wheatear, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Bee-eater, Melodious Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian Chiffchaff.
Migrants: Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Spotted Redshank.
What is included?
- All accommodation or lodgings based on double occupancy
- Single occupancy available for an additional charge
- Professional multilingual guide and support staff
- Specialist guide fees
- Local transfers and all ground transport throughout the tour
- Entrance fees to all National Parks, Nature Reserves and/or use of hides where applicable
- All meals
- Water throughout the tour
- All activities as specified within the tour itinerary
- Use of binoculars and telescopes
- Personalised checklists
- Accident insurance
- All applicable taxes
What is not included?
- All international or domestic airfares
- Travel & medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation)
- Airport departure taxes or visa fees (if applicable)
- Items of personal nature
- Excess baggage charges
- Laundry & telephone charges
- Optional tour extensions where applicable
- Tips & gratuities
- Any other drinks not mentioned above
- Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
We are a progressive young company having several years of experience guiding and a vast local knowledge of the region. We love our land and love how wilderness, history and traditions come all together in this corner of the Iberian Peninsula.
As far as you can hop on and off the van you can join us on this tour. The itinerary involves some short walks but it does not matter how fast you can do it as we walk at a pleasant pace. We stop very often to look at the birds and interpretate the environment and history of the sites we visit, and there are benches in places you can use.
There is WiFi connection in all the accommodation and our tour leaders can also share WiFi connectivity (or hotspot) via local Spanish mobile network.
It does not matter if you are a beginner, ocassional birder or a twitcher, we just adapt to the way you enjoy the field most. In cases when you share the trip with others in a small group, we try to get a balance and pay attention on each individual interest. We have been doing this since 2005 with not bad results!
Yes, we can meet you at the airport or any other meeting point of your convenience near the start of the tour. At the end of the tour, we will bring you back at the same point.
This tour is all-inclusive so all your meals with one or two drinks are included. For lunch, we are taking picnics arranged by the hotels where we are staying in order to enjoy longer in the field and get some flexibility so all health and safety rules are fulfilled. These packed lunches normally include: one or two sandwiches, water, juice, fruit, cake and yogurt. We have carefully selected the hotels and restaurants we are using to give the the best local taste with the use of local products. Of course, vegetarian options are available on demand.