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Extremadura Birding Winter Tour, Spain - 8 Days

Extremadura Birding Winter Tour, Spain

Custom Winter Birdwatching Tour in Extremadura

A private 8-day Extremadura Birding Winter Tour led by Martin Kelsey any time from November to mid-February. This Extremadura birdwatching holiday is a relaxing-paced trip available on request where you can expect to see at least 130 species.  The key attraction is the huge wintering population of Common Cranes. There is an exciting supporting cast of vast numbers of waterfowl, and the smaller birds draw in raptors such as Hen Harrier and Merlin.

During this birding Extremadura tour, we will explore a range of different habitats. Resident birds such as bustards, sandgrouse and eagles add extra spice, as well as species such as Alpine Accentor.

A winter Extremadura bird watching tour offers some of the most spectacular nature experiences in Europe. The region has the highest bird species richness of anywhere in Spain in winter. This is thanks to the relatively mild weather and abundance of food, which attract huge numbers of birds from northern and eastern Europe.

"We've had several holidays with Martin and Claudia and all have been amazing - great hosts, friendly, knowledgeable field guiding and super coffee stops! Martin tailored each trip to match our requests exactly and we've seen birds, plants, butterflies, dragonflies and stunning scenery without feeling hurried as in other organised trips we have been on. We're looking forward to our next trip!!" - Julie and Geoff

Winter birding in Extremadura is also ideal for seeing see some of the resident species. These include sandgrouse, Stone Curlew and Black-winged Kite. There is a surprising diversity of landscapes and different habitats can be explored each day.

The winter season runs from November until mid-February. We  visit all the important habitats for winter birding: open plains, dehesa, gorges, river valleys and wetlands.

One of the highlights is the vast numbers of Common Cranes. Extremadura holds Europe’s largest wintering population of this evocative species, with about 140,000 present. They are at their peak by the end of November and have left by late February.

From January the first summer migrants also make an appearance. Tell us which species you are particularly interested in seeing and we can advise you on the best time to visit. This Extremadura birdwatching will be tailor-made to focus on your interests.

Birding Extremadura will provide a full picnic lunch everyday, based on local products. We find places with an amazing view to stop for our food, with the constant welcome distraction of passing birds of prey.

Extremadura Birding Winter Tour highlights include:

  • Skeins of Common Cranes on their way to roost - pure joy for the senses with the sound of their bugling calls against a colourful early evening sky
  • The exuberance of displaying Spanish Imperial Eagles somersaulting and sky-dancing above us
  • Vast flocks of larks rising from the ground as a Hen Harrier drifts over the plains, often with a Merlin following at a short distance
  • Listening to the sonorous hoot of an Eagle Owl
  • Masses of wintering waterfowl, vortices of hundreds of Shoveler, Bluethroats in the ditches and Alpine Accentors around castles

Would you benefit from going on a more specialised tour? What about our Extremadura Butterfly Holiday, Spain?

Please Note: now taking bookings for select dates in 2022 and also 2023!

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 Customised Winter Birding 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, to provide an initial taste on what the region has to offer. This may be at the Arrocampo Reservoir where emergent vegetation provides habitat for Purple Swamphen, Penduline Tit, overwintering Bluethroat, Little Bittern and Black-crowned Night Heron.

Day 2
Days 2 to 7 - Birding

The sequence of places visited and the time spent in each will vary according to your particular interests, as well as factors like the weather. Our house is excellently situated to be within easy reach of all the different habitats and best sites, without having to do a huge amount of driving. This tour provides plenty of time to both find and enjoy the birds, as well as to get an insight into this fascinating part of Spain.

We will visit the plains near Trujillo and Cáceres to look for Great Bustards as well as Little Bustards. This is the habitat too for Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We should also see large numbers of larks (Calandra, Skylark, Crested and Thekla) as well as species like Iberian Grey Shrikes. The flocks of passerine attract birds of prey like Merlin and Hen Harrier.

Wintering Red Kite will be present in large numbers and this habitat is also an excellent foraging area for other raptors such as eagles and vultures.

We will stop in good dehesa areas and also spend time exploring the rocky valleys and ravines. This is where we will look for Hawfinch, as well as Bonelli's Eagle, Black Wheatear and Crag Martins.

We devote plenty of time for birding in the irrigated agriculture land, watching vast numbers of cranes and other birds on the rice and maize stubble fields. There will be flocks of thousands of Spanish Sparrow. We may stay out until dusk to watch roosting harriers. This is a good area for that sought-after species the Black-winged Kite.

Reservoirs support huge populations of wintering duck, which will be well worth visiting, not just for the spectacle itself, but also to look for rarer species too, such as overwintering Black Stork.

At least one whole day will be spent in the amazing Monfragüe Natural Park, home to large populations of Black Vulture and Griffon Vulture. Resident Spanish Imperial, Bonelli's and Golden Eagles can be seen. There is a good range of smaller species too such as Hawfinch, Firecrest, Rock Sparrow and Iberian Magpie. Eagle Owls will be calling at dusk and the area is particularly good for Otter.

We will also include a visit to a wintering area for Alpine Accentor.

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 birding in Extremadura.

Usually, between 120 and 150 bird species are possible. When conditions are good for passage waders or wintering duck, then species numbers will be higher.

This is a selection of the most sought-after species (some are early-arriving spring migrants from January onwards).

Common Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Black-necked Grebe, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Black Stork, White Stork, Spoonbill, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Osprey, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Purple Swamphen, Common Crane, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Kentish Plover, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Water Pipit, ,Alpine Accentor, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Spotless Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Red Avadavat, Common Waxbill, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock 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
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. Fantastic custom wildlife holidays
    Julie and Geoff03 Jan 2018







    We've had several holidays with Martin and Claudia and all have been amazing - great hosts, friendly, knowledgeable field guiding and super coffee stops! Martin tailored each trip to match our requests exactly and we've seen birds, plants, butterflies, dragonflies and stunning scenery without feeling hurried as in other organised trips we have been on. We're looking forward to our next trip!!

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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 winter will be variable, with sunny days, but always the chance of rainy periods. The evenings and early mornings in can be cold.

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, local wineries or cheese-makers, 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
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
  • Birds
  • 1 to 4 pax
  • 8 Days
  • November to mid February
  • +10 years (children accompanied by parents or close relatives)
  • Leisurely
  • Yes
  • English, Spanish
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)