Due to its relatively mild year-round climate, location on a migratory pathway, and variety of habitats, Spain enjoys one of the richest and most exciting birding in all of Europe. Many typically African species such as Egyptian Vulture and Greater Flamingo approach the northern edge of their range here while classic European species such as European Robin and Common Nightingale range southward from the north, creating a diverse mix unique to the Iberian Peninsula. Furthermore, most birding sites are set in beautifully scenic landscapes that include hilltop villages, historic churches, and shady groves. For these many reasons, it’s no wonder that Spain is a popular first birding trip for many Europeans.
This tour spends several days in each of three different regions of Spain: Extremadura, Andalusia, and Castilla-La Mancha. We travel in late spring when the migrants have arrived but before the heat of the summer. Additionally, we make time to experience the many cultural, architectural, and gastronomic delights that this lovely country has to offer.
This Spain birding tour begins in the rolling grassland steppes and cork-oak forests of Extremadura, known for harboring the largest number and variety of nesting raptors in all of Europe. Then, we visit the wetlands of Doñana National Park, one of the largest and most important wetlands on the continent, in the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. On the last leg of our journey, we visit the Sierra Morena for the possibility of Iberian Lynx, as well as the bird-rich lagoons of Castilla-La Mancha.
- Travel through the unspoiled countryside of Extremadura, exploring the threatened grassland steppes in search of iconic species such as Great and Little Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, and six species of lark
- Visit one of the largest and most important wetlands in Europe – Doñana National Park – and experience its rich diversity of water birds such as Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, Squacco Heron, and Collared Pratincole
- Marvel at the exquisite Romanesque and Moorish architecture of historic Merida and Sevilla
- Experience the great diversity of raptors (up to twenty are possible!) that Spain has to offer, with highlights including Cinereous and Egyptian Vulture, Spanish and Booted Eagle, and Montagu’s and Eurasian Marsh-Harrier
- Immerse yourself in the rich dance and folkloric music traditions of southern Spain with an evening Flamenco performance
- Search for the one-of-a-kind Bearded Reedling in the marshes of La Mancha, home to the famous windmills that inspired Miguel de Cervantes’s work Don Quixote
Photo credits: All photos courtesy of by Pieter Verheij Photography, Spanish Nature. Griffon Vultures, Booted Eagle, White Stork, Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Spoonbill; European Roller, Azure-winged Magpie, Greater Flamingo, European Bee-eater.