IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
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News on birds in Spain

See also Guide to Birds of Spain + News on Brown Bear in Spain + News on the Iberian Lynx + Ask a question/Report/Have a rant about Birds in Spain here on the forum

Photo of hoopoe by Stephen Daly of Andalucianguides

Latest news from February 2007 are now posted here on the blog

Birds in Spain 2006

Birds in Spain 2005

Birds in Spain: January 2007

New Ask a question/Repor/Have a rant about Birds in Spain here on the forum

25/01 European storm petrel named SEO's bird of the year for 2007. Some 5,000 breeding pairs live in Spain's coasts (SEO) Previous birds of the year here below

Wallcreepers in Los Mallos de Riglos

21/01/2007 These photos of wallcreepers were sent to me by bird guide Johan Bos of Natura Aragon -don't be put put off by the Dutch- he also runs trips for English people. Johan notes:

"Wallcreepers in spring or summer: a difficult species for every birdwatcher. Annoying even. They can be anywere high up in the mountains. But in winter: they are sometimes very easy to see, like at Los Mallos de Riglos in Aragon. Just scan the sunny walls and, especially, look in the shady parts: they'll be there searching for slow insects and caterpillars hiding in the cracks. Wallcreepers migrate vertically: from the high mountains to the lower region, were the climate is much milder. Sometimes you'll even find them on ancient churches. Taking pictures is always difficult because they move around so quickly. On the other hand: they aren't particularly shy and are even used to climbers". Thanks Johan, Nick. Note, in Spanish there known as trepariscos (crag-climbers, if you like)

Reintroduction of peregrine falcons in Barcelona (updated 21/01)

10/01/2007 I've been given the enjoyable job of translating this excellent and complete webpage on the reintroduction of peregrine falcons in Barcelona. At the moment it's only in Catalan but Spanish and English versions will be available soon. Persecution drove the peregrine to extinction in the city in 1973, but a reintroduction programme has successfully brought the bird back using hacking, and there are now four pairs of peregrines in Barcelona (Montjuic cliffs, Mouth of River Besós, Santa Maria del Mar and Sagrada Familia). A couple of interesting snips adapted from the web:

  • During the hacking work in 1999 in the Church of Santa Maria del Pi, a pair of kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) nesting in the same bell tower brought food both to their chicks and the peregrine chicks inside the nest box. They almost always brought swifts (Apus apus) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus ). When the young peregrines left the nest box, they lived together with the young kestrels and could often be seen perched together. Update The person in charge of the programme had looked for suitable sites in the year in question, but hadn't realised this one had kestrels nesting "next door". When their own chicks had fledged - which was early, before the peregrines- the adult kestrels heard the peregrines and started to feed them - but they couldn't see them as they were in a box. They dropped headless swifts and sparrows through the letterbox. They also continued to feed their young, now-flying birds. When the peregrines emerged both species seem to have got on fine, and were frequently seen perching together. The next year they repeated the hacking in the same site, but on this occasion the kestrels hatched and fledged later than the peregrines, and the adult kestrels did not feed the young peregrines.
    This phenomenon is somewhat surprising if we consider that both kestrels and peregrines are highly territorial species which zealously and aggressively protect their offspring. Moreover, peregrines will occasionally capture and eat kestrels.
  • Of particular interest in the diet of Barcelona 's peregrines is the presence of many migratory species, some as difficult to see as Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla), revealing the importance of the city as a point along the migratory routes of many species. Other species include scops owl, snipe, bar-tailed godwit and teal. A total of 29 different species of prey have been recorded since 1999, although pigeons make up 52% of their diet. Clearly, however Barcelona's four pairs of peregrine make no dent on the city's 180,000-strong army of doves. (Photos by Roger Sanmartí ) See also older piece on Kestrels and peregrine falcons in Barcelona

18/01 Pelican and spoonbill chicks in BCN zoo to hatch soon, months earlier than usual. Climate change blamed (La Vanguardia)

17/01 300 sheep killed (photo below) in a stampede after vultures attack sheep in a pen in Loarre, Aragon (Alto Aragon). New attack kills eight in Aragon (Alto Aragon) Appears related to closure of vulture feeding stations. More here on forum

06/01 63 rare birds recorded in December in Spain (Rare Birds in Spain)

02/01/2007 Mitred parakeets. This interesting piece was sent to me by Barcelona birder Lucy Brzoska. Thanks Lucy.

  Parakeets in the barrio  

No one pays the ubiquitous Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) much attention any more in Barcelona, unless they're unlucky to have a raucous communal nest near their window. Once considered exotic, they're now just another noisy element of city life. The Mitred parakeets (Aratinga mitrata) , on the other hand, still turn heads. Every Christmas, in the busy San Antonio neighbourhood, shoppers look up in surprise as squadrons of up to 40 of these large green and red birds descend into the streets. They're attracted by the round black seeds of the Celtis australis (European nettle trees, almez), plentiful in this area and more resistant to pollution than the other Barcelona staple, the plane tree. This year's seed crop is particularly plentiful. The parakeets settle in the trees and work along the branches, stripping them methodically. From below, you hear an incessant cracking as they open up the seeds to get at the kernels and litter the pavements and parked cars with husks. They're handsome birds, deep green with red markings on the head, and larger than the Monk parakeet. While feeding they keep up a subdued squawking, which rises to a crescendo when on a signal every member of the group takes off, instantly falling into formation. In a few seconds they're gone, the cacophony fading away. When they regroup, they generally head in the direction of Park Ciudadella, so I suspect that's their base. Their annual visits to the neighbourhood give the impression that their city population is stable, unlike the more invasive Monk parakeet. By Lucy Brzoska. See also Natural History of Barcelona + Blue-fronted Amazon in Barcelona

Birds in Spain: November-December 2006

15/12 EU launches legal action against Spain for hunting birds with birdlime (parany) (EU)

04/12 Sierra Morena now a principal bastion for Spanish imperial eagle. The 50 pairs here in 2006 fledged 70 young birds. Management plan working. (El Mundo)

28/11 53 rare birds recorded in November in Spain (Rare Birds in Spain)

22/11 Isabelline Shrike. 5th sighting for Spain. Video + great photos (Rare Birds in Spain)

20/11 Griffon vulture only Spanish vulture out of danger. Population has doubled to 16,000 in last 20 years (El Mundo)

19/11 Ducks Duck in Spain Picture ID quiz + Spanish-English duck quiz + 30/10 Spanish owl quiz

09/11 Warm weather brings cranes arrive a little late this year to Gallocanta (video)

’ve been invited by Josele J. Saiz to stay a couple of day at his Boletas Birdwatching Centre in the Sierra de Guara in Huesca. More on him soon. While there I hope to talk to Oscar Díaz of the Fundación Quebrantahuesos (English) as part of research for the book. FCQ, one of the most active wildlife groups in the Pyrenees, works in the conservation of lammergeyers, but also in the conservation of the Pyrenees in general. I’ve been doing a bit of background reading on the lammergeyer or bearded vulture. What an utterly remarkable bird this is.

• This is the world's only “osteophage” bird (bone-eater). They feed on marrow which they get by dropping bones repeatedly onto rocks, as their Spanish name, quebrantahuesos, aptly suggests. They'll come back again and again to their favourite rocky areas known in English as ossuaries.
• The evocative English Lammergeier or Lammergeyer (both correct) comes from the German, lämmergeier, meaning "lamb-vulture". This was apparently coined by 19th century naturalists due to the mistaken and incredibly widespread belief across Central Europe that they would take young lambs.
• They are also known in English as bearded vultures. This is in reference to the ochre ruff of quills they sport around their necks. They are not born with this colour, but acquire the colour by actively seeking out iron-rich muds and rubbing their feathers in them. One theory goes that in a stand-off, the redder the feather, the tougher the lammergeyer, though I need to check this.
• The female lammergeyer lays one egg, and then a few days later, lays another. The second chick plays the role of a substitute if the first egg fails to hatch. In most cases, the second chick dies, despite the efforts of its parents to feed it: the older sibling is stronger and takes its food. And then, when the right moment arrives it will kill its brother or sister. This is known by biologists as Cainism, the advantage being that if the first chick fails to hatch or dies young the second chick is at hand. Some of these second chicks are now being rescued are used as part of a captive breeding programme in Andalucia.
• The most serious problem for the bird is poisoning. Some 40% of unnatural deaths of lammergeyers in Spain are from poisoned meat put out principally, these days, to kill foxes, though in the past the bird also suffered from more direct persecution
• Unusally, reproductive units can be comprised of two or three adults. Groups of three appear to be more common that thought. In the latter case there usually are two males and one female, although exceptionally reproductive units made up of four specimens have been observed. The members of the group mount each other as part of a bizarre mating simulation, male on male and female on male.
• Currently the Spanish Pyrenean population is comprised of around 125 occupied territories (2004) with an estimated pre-adult population of 156-162 specimens distributed in an area of 21,000 km2. Perhaps the best site to them is the Sierra de Guara with 12 bearded vulture territories, the densest population in Europe. ,
• There really is so much more. Just about the only live prey they take are tortoises, which they also dash on the rocks, though as they have been pushed out of low-lying areas this may no longer occur, and certainly not in Spain. Legends abound across Eurasia and Africa. There are for instance strong associations with the pheonix and the bearded vulture. More on this soon. More on lammergeyers in Spain and here on lammergeyer around the world

24/10/2006 Together with Juan Carlos Fernandez of SEO’s Grupo de Aves Exoticas (Cataluña) I’m in the process of putting together this Spanish-English bird glossary. Early days but we hope to compile several hundred terms. Please feel free to join in and add comments to the blog we've set up.

Birds in Spain: October 2006

Quizzes on Spanish Birds. I've put together these quizzes on bird names. Match the names. So far:

27/10 Interview with Alejandro Sánchez , head of SEO (Consumer)

22/10 Monk (black) vulture to be reintroduced in Catalonia after extinction 100 years ago. Six individuals arrive at centre in Boumort. (El Mundo)

20/10 Captive breeding for endangered Capercaillie in Cordillera Cantábrica (Fapas) More on capercaillie in Spain

19/10 Spread of trumpeter finch into SE Spain due to climate change. More than 800 pairs of this desert bird now present (El Mundo)

spain birds climate change

10/10 Navas pinewood saved again (see below (El Pais) 08/10 Builder goes ahead with cutting down of Las Navas Pinewood, despite ruling (see below) (El Pais). 06/10 Building of 1600 luxury home estate+4 golf courses in Castilla-Leon stopped to save black stork and imperial eagle. Huge Las Navas pinewood is safe for now in key decision (El Pais)

02/10 70-year old lammergeyer nest found in Sierra Nevada, where the species disappeared 50 years ago, though reintroduction is now considered viable here (Fund. Gypaetus-PDF)

28/09 RedNatura to add almost 1 million hectares to protected areas in Andalucia (P.MedAmb)

26/09 Plan to protect Spain's 220 pairs of imperial eagles, 99% of world populalation (SEO)

Scops owl in Madrid

Birds in Spain: September 2006

21/09/2006 Clive of Natural Images took these rather unlikely photos of a griffon vulture in Grazalema complete with a goat's bell. He informs me "He/she reared a chick this year without it seems any problem but I did wince every time I saw feeding commence. The chick was lucky it didn't get brained? I wonder how many eggs get broken whilst he/she is turning them." ..."Apparently there is another one flying about in Cazorla. A neighbour of mine says that the goat herders used to do it a lot if they caught a griffon on the ground after a big feed. Apparently it's funny" I like these photos almost as much as his "wryneck attacking the horseshoe whipsnake" below. Clive runs wildlife tours from his farmhouse in Grazalema

17/09 Concern over Lammergeyer deaths in Pyrenees. 6 found dead in 2006 (FCQ)

16/09 Yet another Iberian lynx run over in Doñana, making 19 since 2000, out of a total population of 50. (El Mundo) 17/09 - 36 run over in 20 years (EL Pais)

16/09 EU slates Spain's ZEPA bird network (SEO) + SEO attacks conservation of Imperial eagle in Madrid (SEO)

26/08/2006 This spectacular photo was sent to me by Clive and Sue who run guided walking tours in the Sierra de Grazalema . The wryneck lost the fight with the horseshoe whipsnake. It ate the chicks and the nest was abandoned. Some more great stuff from them in the next few days.

Birds in Spain: August 2006

27/08 Lammergeyers released in Cazorla doing well after 20 year absence ( El Mundo )

15/08 Bonelli's eagles beat builders (Guardian)

Photos of Spanish birds

Stephen Daly of Andalucianguides took these photos. He runs birding tours in Southern Spain. Click on the photos to see the large image. Stunning work. Also check out his bird ID quiz on right-hand of this page .

Left to right, top to bottom: 1. booted eagle, lesser kestrel, squacco heron, beeeaters, 2. bluethroat, white storks, black-shouldered kite, night heron, 3. rufus bush robin, spectacled warbler, short-toed eagle and one of the world's 300 odd Spanish imperial eagles. 3. blackcaps, great spotted cuckoo, southern grey shrike, little bittern, purple heron 5., black-winged stilt, hoopoe, northern bald ibis, stone curlew, large psammodromus

Birds in Spain: June-July

24 July 2006

18/07/2006. More than 25,000 birds are electrocuted every year in Spain, half of which are protected, according to SEO. In 2005, 11 Spanish imperial eagles were electrocuted out of a total world population of 141 pairs. 23% of lammergyer deaths are due to electrocution. A 46million euro plan is being prepared to change the most dangerous of posts. El Pais . In the photo, three of the world's 300 imperial eagles posing on a pylon. I don't know if it's a safe one. Anyone know?

21/07 Monk vulture (Aegypius monachus) population up in Andalusia 230 pairs in total. Sierra Pelada has highest population with 84 pairs. Around 130 chicks fledged this year. Illegal poisoning is still first cause of death. (Junta de Andalucia)

20/07/2006 This photo of a Scop's owl chick was sent to me by birdman Derek Ive who lives somewhere in the Sierra de Madrid. He stuck a box on the side of his house a few years ago. A pair of Scop's owls moved in and have successfully reared chicks for several years "There were four Scoplets this year, ....on July 1st we took this shot of the benjamin who flew him/herself the same night."

"The way the scops box came into being is quite amusing. For many years I had a robin box on the wall which failed to attract anything at all. Then one dusk in May 2002 I saw a scops trying to squeeze herself into it  with clearly broody thoughts on her mind. At dawn next day I tacked together a suitable box for smaller owls and replaced the robin box with it. The same night Mrs Scops was back and this time laying. She and her mate successfully raised a brood, and they have returned regularly every year since. This year's brood are still around the garden, quite often roosting in the abundant thickets on offer. Incidentally, the bird books generally agree that scops are mainly insect eaters. In the breeding season I can say with certainty that ours feed their young regularly with small birds and rodents, this being very marked in the final stages of fledging. " (Derek Ive)

The photo was taken by his brother-in-law, Rafael Campos, who is an avian pathologist. More of his work soon.

18/07/2006. More than 25,000 birds are electrocuted every year in Spain, half of which are protected, according to SEO. In 2005, 11 Spanish imperial eagles were electrocuted out of a total world population of 141 pairs. 23% of lammergyer deaths are due to electrocution. A 46million euro plan is being prepared to change the most dangerous of posts. El Pais . In the photo, three of the world's 300 imperial eagles posing on a pylon. I don't know if it's a safe one. Anyone know?

07 July 2006

First case of bird flu in Spain. The inevitable has finally happened. Spain has come the 8th country in the EU to be infected with bird flu. A greater crested grebe (somormujo lavanco - Podiceps cristatus) found dead in the Basque wetland of Salburúa, just outside Victoria, in Álava has tested positive the most virulent form H5N1. A protection area of 3 km has been set up. (Here El Pais) . See also Distribution map of greater crested grebe in Spain + BBC report

Short video of the news item. Click on play, You need flash to see this.

Spanish H5N1 grebe unlikely to be from Africa

07-07-2006 From Birdlife here

Spain confirmed its first case of the highly pathogenic form of avian influenza H5N1 today. A dead Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus found at Salburua Lake near the city of Vitoria in the Basque country of northern Spain tested positive for the deadly virus.

"There are some puzzling questions aspects to this case, and we hope that ornithologists will be allowed to examine the corpse for clues," said Dr Richard Thomas of BirdLife International. "Too often, invaluable information as to the source of the virus in wild birds has been wasted because appropriate experts have not been called in." For example, correct identification of the species involved is vital; earlier this year, a dead Whooper Swan in the UK was incorrectly identified as a resident species (a Mute Swan). If it is a Great Crested Grebe, then determining the subspecies involved is essential: birds from sub-Saharan Africa are subtly different from those found in Europe, and have never been recorded north of the Sahara. Even a North African origin is highly unlikely: only a handful of Great Crested Grebes nest there. "The one thing that we can be sure of is that this grebe is very, very unlikely to be a migrant from sub-Saharan Africa." -Dr Richard Thomas , BirdLife International

Another vital clue is the age of the affected bird: if it was hatched in 2006, it indicates a local source of infection. Young grebes will only just have fledged and Great Crested Grebes are not migrating in early July. Indeed, birds in northern Spain are regarded as sedentary. However, some reports indicate the corpse was found six weeks ago: if true, then the bird must have been died sometime in May. "Perhaps the most likely explanation is that it was one of the scattering of wild birds killed by H5N1 this spring in Europe-possibly a bird that wintered in an affected part of the Mediterranean," Thomas added.

In February, a lorry load of 21 tonnes of illegally imported Chinese poultry meat was confiscated in Benidorm making it only a matter of time before H5N1 was reported in Spain unless the imports were prevented. "Perhaps H5N1 arrived in Spain the same way it got into Africa: in imported chicken products," said Thomas. "But even if it was smuggled in, it's difficult to see how it could have ended up in a grebe: it would be useful to know the circumstances under which the bird was discovered."


Young wild lammergeyer joins three released lammergeyer in Cazorla Natural Park (here El Mundo) . See below. Lammergeyer to return to Andalusia

05 July 2006

Number of Spanish Imperial Eagles up by 50% in Parque de Andujar in Andalusia. 11 chicks have been raised this year, bringing the population up from 22 to 33 in the park. Only 200 pairs of Spanish imperial eagles surive in the world, 50 of which are in Andalusia. Here (El Mundo) . More about Spanish Imperial eagles below

17 June 2006

Lesser kestrel (Cernicalo Primilla Falco naumanni) in Almedralejo. Click on play. (1 min 54 sec by TVE forestman) (you need flash to see this)

More nature videos More Spain nature videos

Birds in Spain: April-May round-up

31 May 2006

  • First centre in Spain to breed threatened capercaillie. (Nuevo España - 25/05) Capercaillie numbers have fallen in the Cordillera Cantabrica from 582 males in 1982 to 204 in 2001. See also Capercaillie in Spain
  • New species count record set in SEO/BirdLife' s birding marathon. Tramuntana Birding Team beats in own record with 2004 species in 24 hours.(SEO 19/05/06)
  • New SEO guide to bird in Madrid (SEO)
  • Seven vultures found poisoned in Merida (El Mundo 18/05/2006)

13 May

El quebrantahuesos vuelve a los cielos andaluces

  • First case of pollination of a European plant by birds detected in Extramadura (Quercus). Pollination is known in America. Central Africa, Australasia and tropical Asia, but was thought to be absent in Europe and North Africa.The only cases until now were of birds pollinating foreign plants. Abstract from here
  • "The pollination of Anagyris foetida L. (Fabaceae), a Mediterranean species that is a relict of the Tertiary, was studied in two populations of SW Spain over a three-year period. Numerous censuses of birds and insects were carried out, the floral nectar was quantified, and specific tests were performed to determine the pollinators' pollen load, the pollen's effective transfer to the pistil, and spontaneous self-pollination. The most important pollinators were three species of passeriforms - Phylloscopus collybita Vieillot, Sylvia atricapilla L. and S. melanocephala Gmelin- a result coherent with findings in populations of S and E Spain. The negligible existence of insect visitors and pollinators of A. foetida flowers could be explained by the early flowering of this species during the autumn-winter, coinciding with the coolest and wettest months of the year (cold, high winds, almost daily mists that persist until nightfall, and above all, abundant rainfall). The pollen loads carried by the birds were high, as were also the loads transferred to the pistil. The fruit-set of bagged flowers was very low, evidence of the plant's need for the birds as pollinators. This is the first proof of the existence of a native European bird-pollinated plant, since besides its peculaliarities (flowers odourless, pseudotubular, with no landing platform, pendulous, diurnal populations were mainly pollinated by three passeriform species. " Ana Ortega-Olivencia, Tomás Rodríguez-Riaño, Francisco J. Valtueña, Josefa López, Juan A. Devesa

  • Climate change and predators chief threat to capercaillie (Voz de Galicia El cambio climático y los depredadores, principales enemigos)

  • Dupont's Lark may be extinct in Catalonia "The last census in Catalonia of the Dupont's Lark, which has been chosen as the bird of the year 2006 by SEO/Birdlife, reveals that this species may no longer be found in the region. Just a single male was heard in Catalonia in 2005, and there is not much hope for a population increase. The Catalan population of Dupont's Lark has been declining steadily over the past decade, and this year's census may reveal the status of this species to be extinct in Catalonia" . Full article here at Audouinbirding . See also dupont's lark

  • First reserve for Canarian Houbara (SEO)

April 2006

Birds in Spain: March round-up

In April's Quercus (Spain's leading wildlife magazine), there are bird-related articles on:

  • Audouin's gull stengthens presence in Valencia. See also Audouin's gull
  • 10 Spanish ospreys which were released in Andalucia located in Africa in Gulf of Guinea See also Spanish Osprey news
  • Articles on monitoring of lammergeyers in Catalonia and Morocco. Hispano-Moroccan study group in note that despite the decline the species is still present in Morocco's Turbkal National Park. As in the rest of its range the practice of poisoning, in this case against jackal, fox and wild dog, had decimated its number, though this practice seems to be on the wane. More modern husbandry techniques and the rise of tourism is reducing the presence of dead goats and sheep. The rarity of arrui is also a limiting factor. The use of various vulture species in tradiional medicine may have also paid its toll.Lammergeyers in Spain
  • Insectivourous diet of Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae) in Mallorca
  • Criticism of new airport in Cuidad Real due to effect on important ZEPA in Campo de Calatrava.
  • A colony of 13 pairs of kestrels discovered in a quarry 3km from Valencia. See also below Kestrels and peregrine falcons in Barcelona
  • Expansion of monk vulture to the southern Sevilla

Spanish Imperial eages were in the news in March, with contradictory good and bad news from Andalucia:

March 2006

Latest articles: alpine accentor (updated) blue tit (new)

Birds in Spain: Blue-fronted Amazon in Barcelona

I spotted this Amazon on Montjüic last week, a few metres from the most scandalous tree in all Barcelona, a palm tree occupied by a sprawling, screeching, heaving colony of monk parakeets. I couldn't work out which species it was and went out with birder Juan Carlos Fernandez of Grupo Aves Exoticos de Catalonia and Pedro Bescós (thanks for photo). Juan Carlos identiified it as a (Amazona aestiva ssp. xanthopter it's got yellow on the wing not red), a first for Catalonia. As I noted last month, SEO/BirdLife is concerned about the mass release of exotic cage birds (parrots, parakeets, etc) due to the panic over bird flu (see Latest on threat of bird flu in Spain). After meeting me, Juan Carlos has received several more reports of possibly new exotic birds in Barcelona, so this seems to be happening. Article in this coming Sunday's El Periodico

Note: Iberianature is going to host SEO's Exotic Birds Group of Catalonia in English. More soon.

Adapted from Wikipedia:

Also called the Turquoise-fronted Amazon and Blue-fronted Parrot (Amazona de frente azul (Spanish), this is one of the most common parrots kept in captivity as a pet. Its name derives from the distinctive blue marking over its beak. The range of the Blue-fronted Amazon extends over Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. Their talking ability is ranked third among birds when compared to African Grey Parrots or Yellow-naped Parrots. Males tend to be slightly more aggressive.

The status of this species is evaluated as Least Concern by BirdLife International. However, there is evidence of a population decline, and this species has been heavily traded: since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II, 413,505 wild-caught individuals have been recorded in international trade (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005).

From Lynx's frankly superb Handbook of the Birds of the World. Why don't you buy it. I would if I had the money.

February 2006

Birds in Spain: Castilian black storks tracked in Africa

23/02/06. News of the two black storks (Cigüeñas negras - Ciconia nigra) of the flyingover proyect. XXXX It seems that "Espartero", the black stork marked in Salamanca , may well have died near his winter roost in Chad , close to the frontier with Cameroon . Good news however for "Esperanza" the female sub-adult from Ávila who has spent the winter between Senegal and Mali , and is expected to return to the Iberian Peninsula soon. More here on this international project. •  http://www.alados.org/flyingover

Birds in Spain top of page

Birds in Spain: Bird flu and migratory patterns in Spain

As of 24th Feb 2006 there are still no cases of bird flu in Spain See also. Bird flu in Spain archive

24/02/06. SEO/BirdLife sees the illegal importing of fowl as the most probable source of spread of bird flu. It sees migratory birds playing a minor role. Migration patterns are complex and just about any potential journey is possible but according to SEO a detailed study of the outbreaks of the H5N1 viruses, both in wild and domestic birds does not coincide with expected areas of contamination.

Millions of migratory birds which winter in Africa only use Spain as a "stage post" in their journey to Northern and Central Europe , though many do stay and breed. Over the approximately 350 species which regularly breed in Spain , around 100 spend the winter in Africa , but it is important to remember that Spain is a wintering habitat for many more species, including many ducks and geese and so migration routes are constantly overlapping in space and time. The bulk of migration occurs March to May.

A further hundred odd species will turn up irregularly or accidentally every year in small numbers. This is the case of swans (which have been dying in numbers in Germany ). Outside parks and gardens as an ornamental bird, swans are rare visitors to Spain associated with polar cold spells in Europe (such as the one this week).

According to Alejandro Sánchez, Executive Director of SEO /BirdLife, "After detecting outbreaks of bird flu in parts of Nigeria, Spain is now in a risk migratory path, as several species of birds now wintering in Nigeria will spend the spring here in Spain. However, bird flu has yet to be detected in the Spanish birds which reach Nigeria . The wild species in which bird flu has been detected, particularly ducks and geese, do not usually fly further south than Senegal and the inland delta of the Niger in Mali ".

"Pointing the finger at Garganey (Cerceta Carretona) and widgeon (Ánade Silbón) as possible vectors of the virus between Nigeria and Europe is highly improbable given the low number of individuals involved. It is known that there have been illegal imports of chickens in Nigeria from China , the original source of birdflu", A risk however does exist. More here from SEO + More Black Vulture poisonings in Toledo + Migrating ducks could bring bird flu to Spain (wild-spain - in English)

Alert on possible mass release of exotic cage birds due to bird flu panic

23/02/06. SEO/BirdLife is concerned about the mass release of exotic cage birds (parrots, parakeets, etc) due to the panic over bird flu resulting from the lack of real information available (and because people always panic). SEO notes the very low risk of contamination of pet birds. As is well known, exotic birds are a potential threat to autochthonous species. The Grupo de Aves Exóticas (GAE) of SEO/BirdLife notes that 317 exotic species have been introdced into Spain and 14 are considered established breeders. More here from SEO See also Bird flu in Spain archive + Exotic birds in Spain

Birds in Spain top of page

Birds in Spain: Lammergeyer chick

Lammergeyer chick born in captivity from egg rescued in Aragonese Pre-Pyrenees, after 20 days artificially incubated.12% of eggs do not hatch (I think) which is why he below FCG rescue eggs. This is fifth time an egg has been successfully incubated in captivity. Nace un quebrantahuesos en cautividad procedente de un huevo rescatado en el Prepirineo aragonés ( Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos) .Including FANTASTIC video of birth and hacking of chick here (REALLY WORTH IT) and click on "Nacimiento de "Felix" - Fast loading but you need ADSL or equivilent. See also Lammergeyer in Spain .

Birds In Spain: Kestrels and peregrine falcons in Barcelona

I went out yesterday with ringers from the ICO (Catalan ringing authority) to look at the Peregrine Falcons and ring Kestrels under the cliffs of Montjüic.

This female kestrel (cernículo-esp, xoriguer-cat Falco tinnunculus) weighed in at 195 grammes, a fair weight I'm told. The kestrel colony on Montjüic was estimated several years ago at 20 pairs, possibly the largest single concentration in Europe, not bad for something right next to the hunk of concrete that is Barcelona. By last year, this had fallen to 12 pairs and this looks like continiuing. The colony which survived, and even thrived, with the construction of the ring road which rubbles its way past the cliff, is now beset by three threats:

  • the building work across nearby the Llobregat plain which has reduced its huntig area
  • the massive increaese in the yellow-legged gull population now up to some 70 odd pairs and rising. While they don't dare touch adult kestrels they will harry jouveniles and these no doubt prefer to disperse to more tranquil sites.
  • the reintroduction of the Peregrine Falcon to the cliffs, which are highly territorial will harry young and mature alike if it feels like it.

There are now four pairs of peregrine falcons (halcón peregrino - Falco peregrinus) in Barcelona (Montjuic cliffs, Desembocadura del Besós, Santa Maria del Mar and Sagrada Familia) I was also accompanied by Sergi Garcia who wrote this interesting article in GEO on peregrine falcons in Barcelona.

Each pair is made up of a released bird and a wild partner. After more than 30 years' absence they are back. They can take a pigeon a day, a pinprick on the city's immense pigeon population, though a whole range of remains of different bird species have been found in their nests in Barcelona, many of which are never seen in the city - they fly high and catch on the wing birds migrating up and down the Mediterrenean coastline. Peregrines in Barcelona also hunt at night illuminated by the lights of the city. After seeing the male, swoop at a kestrel, we watched the pair hack away with their powerful beaks at a carcus by their nest. Then the female took off and persued at breakneck speed and cut down a pigeon. Food is so plentful here that it didn't bother to pick it up. Peregines are the fastest creature on the surface of the planet and in a dive can reach speeds, for a split second, of 300kph. Montjuic is also home to the smallest mammal in the world, the tiny Pygmy Shrew (musaraña enana: -esp Sorex minitus). There you go; not just the Olympic Stadium. In all some 150 species have been recorded here. Another 40 odd pairs of kestrels live in the city itself though with clean surfaces of renovation and modern Catalan architecture it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to find a holes in which to nest. There are numerous accounts of kestrels entering flats in Barecelona and killing cage birds such as canaries. They grip onto the cage, guide their talons through the bars, and kill and eat the bird. The owner returns to feathers, beak and bones lying on the cage floor.

Birds In Spain: Spanish Imperial eagle recovering

The Spanish Imperial Eagle appears to be recovering. The latest issue of Spanish wildlife magazine Quercus has an article on the recovery of the threatened eagle by natural means and the contact between the until recently separated sub-populations. The Spanish Imperial Eagle is present as a breeder in five communities (Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leó, Extramadura and Madrid. Its population fell to some 50 pairs in the 1960s, decimated by hunting and poisoning. From this low point its population began to slowly rise and in the last ten years has grown "spectaually" and is now at more than 200 pairs. Four of the bird's five breeding areas are growing. Montes de Toledo and Extramadura seem to be acting as doner reservoirs in the centre of the bird's range, feeding their own population growth and compensating for a slight decline in the "sink areas" of Guadarrama and the huge rise in Sierra Morena. On a negative note the article mentions the continual decline of the Imperial Eagle in Doñana, - in parallel with that of the Iberian Lynx.

If current trends continue, there is little risk of the species becoming extinct in the short to medium term. The article also doubts the need for artificial reintroduction programmes, especially when these are away from the eagle's breeding areas, such as the one at La Janda.

See also Medio Ambiente y CSIC estudian un método para identificar a las águilas imperiales genéticamente (Gov Andalucia)

Birdwise, the same issue has extensive articles on the decline of the eagle owl (buho real Bubo bubo) in Galicia, though it appears to be on the rise in the rest of its Spanish range, and on the relationship between morphology (e.g. beak and leg size) and behaviour in bird species. Quercus here.

Birds In Spain: Spanish wetlands on World Wetlands Day

Delta del Ebro

See also Wetlands in Spain + Full Spain Ramsar list

Birds in Spain round-up

More water birds in Doñana in 2005. A count by the Andalusian governement has recorded some 164,000 waterbirds in Doñana in 2005 up 30,000 over 2004. but less than the 197,000 recorded in 2003-04, the last year before the drought. Breakdown of birds was: ducks 50,296, geese 43,889 and waders 41,827. There you go.La Consejería de Medio Ambiente andaluza contabiliza más aves acuáticas en Doñana que el año pasado (portalmedioambiente)

Montfragüe to be declared Spain's 16th national park, The 18,936 ha site is home to 287 pairs of monk (black) vultures, 510 pairs of griffon vultures, 12 pairs of imperial eagle, 12 pairs of Bonelli's eagle and 29 pairs of black stork. Monfragüe se convertirá este año en el decimocuarto parque nacional (El Mundo)

10 Spanish ospreys tracked from Andalusia to Africa. The ospreys were released in Los Alcornocales and Las Marismas del Odiel (Huelva) and have been tracked by satellite to Senegal and Mali .The birds began to migrate in September and took some five to six days to cross the Sahara desert at an average speed of 80km an hour until reaching the mouth of the River Niger in teh Gulf of Guinea, a journey of 2,000km without stopping or eating. Diez águilas pescadoras llegan a África desde Los Alcornocales (EuropeSur) See Osprey in Spain

January 2006

Guide to Birds in Spain

Guide to Birds of Spain I've redigned Spain bird guide page. Early days. So far

First hacked lammergeyer to be released in Picos de Europa in 2007. La primera suelta de quebrantahuesos en los Picos se llevará a cabo en 2007
(See also below Lammergeyers return to the Picos de Europa  + lammergeyer in Spain)

Exotic birds in Spain

SEO has just published its list of exotics for 2005, with a suitable warning as to their potential for local birdlife and agriculture. These are

Photo copyright by Stephen Daly See also below Escaped Northern Red Bishop

Greater Rhea - Rhea americana
Mute swan - Cygnus olor
Black swan - Cygnus atratus

Swan Goose - Anser cygnoides
Bar-headed Goose - Anser indicus
Canada goose - Branta canadensis
Egyptian goose - Alopochen aegyptiaca
ruddy shelduck - Tadorna ferruginea
muscovy duck - Cairina moschata
Ringed Teal - Callonetta leucophrys
Wood Duck - Aix sponsa
Mandarin Duck - Aix galericulata
Chiloe Wigeon - Anas sibilatrix
Northern pintail - Anas acuta
White-cheeked Pintail - Anas bahamensis

Red-crested Pochard - Netta rufina
Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis

Northern Bald ibis - Geronticus eremita (see below)
Caribean pink - flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Lesser Flamingo - Phoenicopterus minor
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura
African White-backed Vulture, Gyps africanus
Harris' Hawk - Parabuteo unicinctus
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle - Geranoaetus melanoleucus
Lanner - Falco biarmicus
Wattled Jacana - Jacana jacana
Croaking Ground-dove Columbina cruziana
Diamond Dove - Geopelia cuneata

Crimson Rosellas- Platycercus elegans
Eastern Rosella - Platycercus eximius
Budgerigar - Melopsittacus undulatus
Alexandrine Parakeet - Psittacula eupatria
Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis
African Grey Congo - Psittacus erithacus
senegal parrot - poicephalus senegalus
Olive-throated Parakeet - Aratinga nana
Nanday Parakeet - Nandayus nenday

Greater Patagonian Conure, Cyanoliseus patagonus
Monk Parakeet - Myiopsitta monachus
Guira Cuckoo - Guira guira
Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus bimaculatus
Red-billed Leiothrix - Leiothrix lutea
Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis
Black-headed Weaver - Ploceus melanocephalus
Red-billed Quelea, Quelea quelea
Orange Bishop, Euplectes franciscanus
Red Bishop, Euplectes orix
Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris
Black-rumpted Waxbill - Estrilda troglodytes
Common Waxbill- Estrilda astrild
Pin-Tailed Whydah. Vidua macroura

Serinus canaria. Island Canary

More details here in Spanish Últimas citas de aves exóticas en España
The case of the Northern Bald ibis is slightly different as they have been purposely released by
La Junta de Andalucía (28 ex) as part of a conservation programme aimed at this highly endangered North African bird - only 300 left in Morocco and Syria. The programme is supported by the Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC) and the International Northern Bald Ibis Group (IAGNBI) .

Dupont's Lark, Spain's Bird of the Year

After a tight vote Dupont's Lark (Chersophilus duponti Alondra Ricotí/o de Dupont) has finally pipped the Common Swallow to the post, and has been named SEO's bird of the Year for 2006.

Dupont's Lark is a small, shy bird with a curved beak and a characteristic nasal whistle. It inhabits the psuedo-steppes of Central and Eastern Spain, where it is a non-migratory resident, in particular the "páramos" steppe expanses of Castilla and the Ebro Valley in Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragón and Navarra. Its presence in Cataluña, Andalucía, Murcia and Valencia is now considered residual by SEO. Classified as in danger of extinction in Spain, the bird is threatened by changes in land use, particularly the spread of irrigated dry land so we can all have cheap tomatoes in February, reforestation and infrastructures such as wind farms and roads. Wikipedia informs me that the bird was named after the French naturalist Leonard Puech Dupont, who was the first to collect a specimen. See Dupont's Lark

(La Alondra Ricotí gana a la Golondrina Común como Ave del Año 2006).(19/01/06)

SEO's Birds of the Year

SEO has just closed the 2005 Ave del Año - Bonell's Eagle
Read here their conclusions

Here are all of SEO's Birds of the Year
1988 - Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega)
1990 - Lammergeyer (Quebrantahuesos)
1992 - White Stork (
Cigüeña Blanca)
1993 - Lesser Kestrel (
Cernícalo Primilla)
1994 - Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera)
1995 - Bolle's Pigeon (Paloma Turqué) (Endemic to mountain laurel forests of Canaries. N
amed after German naturalist Carl Bolle was the first to distinguish it from the Laurel Pigeon).
1996 - Common Kingfisher (
Martín Pescador)
1997 - Marbled Duck (Cerceta Pardilla)
1998 - Red Kite (Milano Real)
1999 - Capercaillie (Urogallo)
2000 - Spanish Imperial Eagle (
Águila Imperial Ibérica)
2001 - Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear)
2002 - Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna)
2003 - Common Guillemot (Arao)
2004 – Great Bustard (Avutarda)
2005 – Bonelli's Eagle (Águila Perdicera)

The list offers an interesting hint at habitats and issues in Spain. Surprisingly, no monk (black) vulture.
With Spain's pseudosteppes under threat from intensive agriculture and climate change, early bets were on Dupont's Lark for this year's bird, but it's now looking like the Swallow
(Hirundo rustica). Thanks to Juan Carlos and Antonio Lopez of Avesforum for complete list. (10/01/06)

Birds In Spain: Black-winged kites and electrocution of eagles

The latest issue of Quercus has an article on the black-winged kite (elanio azul) in Extremadura. The abandonment of cultivated dehesas is a threat to the species.(Neither open field agriculture nor traditional dehesa are habitats favoured by the black winged kite.The future of the species in Extremadura may depend on future changes to the Common Agrictultural Policy. There is a piece also on the threat of urbanisation to the bird in the Comunidad de Madrid .See also December Quercus review here

Also in Quercus (birdwise) there is an article on the electrocution of a Bonelli's eagle in La Janda, one of the main causes for the bird's mortality. In the same line, El Pais today reports on the electrocution of 4 Spanish Imperial Eagles in Cuidad Real in the ame area of a ZEPA (spacial bird protection area). The four birds have died since Nov 2004, the last being found on Jan 3 this year. Just 186 pairs of Spanish Imperial Eagles remain in the world all of them in the Iberian Peninsula. See Cuatro águilas imperiales han muerto electrocutadas en el mismo punto negro de Ciudad Real (09/01/2006)

Birds in Spain 2005

Decemeber 2005

Monk vulture colony threatened in Salamanca

A monk vulture colony under threat from forest track in the Sierra de Quilamas, in southern Salamanca. The forest track runs through a ZEPA. The track is being built as a fire fighting measure, but without any prior environmental impact assessment, running as close as 20 metres to monk vulture nests. Several monk vulture nests were destroyed here in June from a fire. The area is also critical for black stork.. It is precisley the presence of these two species the reason why the Sierra de Quilamas is protected. SEO demands that the work is stopped.
SEO (here)

Guided birds tours around the Santoña Estuary by boat

If you find yourself in Cantabria this looks well worth it. The tours are organised by the local SEO group, and are around the nature reserve at low tide and last 2h 15m. Svaroswki telescopes are provided. Cost: 30 euros/person. Maximum 6 persons. More here (or avescantabricas@avescantabricas.com / 687 434643) A study is also being carried out at the same time on the impact of the trips in birds in the esturary.

Escaped Northern Red Bishop and other winter news

Latest update from Andalucianguides with a Northern Red Bishop in Andalusia. Wikipedia informs me that the Northern Red Bishop is a weaver common in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It builds a conical nest woven in tall grass. Escaped cagebirds are common in Spain. Also Black vultures and otters. Read at Andalucianguides

Photo copyright by Stephen Daly

Magpies preying on common pipistrelle

The December print edition of the execellent Quercus (the only wildlife magazine in Spain) has an interesting article on magpies preying on bats - common pipistrelle (murciélago enano Pipistrellus pipistrellus). After a chance observation in the town of Alcala de Henares (near Madrid) the Universidad de Alcala de Henares carried out a survey. A pair of magpies preyed on a colony of pipistelles, by waiting above and snatching the bats as they come out of their roost. Over the study peiod they took 1 bat a day. This is first documented case in Spain, and one of the first in the world (there is a UK citation). The authors speculate that as magpies expand into Spanish cities they will acquire new habits and skills, and that bats, a plentiful food source, may well represent a common prey.

Video from the university website here or click above on play (you need flash to see this). See also bats in Spain

December's Quercus also has birdlife items on the following (some of which I have already covered):

  • Monk vulture conservation in dehesas
  • Worrying fall of Dupont's lark in Albacete. (only 2000 pairs in all Europe, all of which are in Spain)
  • Dupont's lark enclave under threat in Andalusia from windfarms.
  • Infamous M51 dual carriageway in Madrid threatens key ZEPA and Spanish Imperial Eagle and potential lynx habitat.
  • Houbara conservation in the Canaries (see below)
  • Use of swallow tail feathers - studies in Almeria suggest here at least tail length is an adaption to flight rather than as a result of sexual selection, which is commonly maintained.
  • Conservation of Merja Zerga Wetland in Morocco.
  • 14 new Ramsar sites in Spain (see below)
  • Latest Bonelli's eagle census for Andalusia.
  • Release of 28 Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) in Andalusia (La Janda)
  • Endangered capercaillie to be bred in captivity. See Capercaillie in Spain

Lammergeyers return to the Picos de Europa

A pair of lammergeyers (quebrantahuesos) appear to have established themsleves in the Cantabrian Picos de Europa in Liébana fifty years after the species disappeared from these mountains. According to Geraldo Báguena of the Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos (FCQ), two ADULT individuals have been spotted together at different points in the national park over the last month, which may well mean they have moved in permenantly. They are thought to be a male and female, as two birds of the same sex would be unlikey to tolerate each other for so long, although this is not confirmed. Young lammergeyers are sporadically spotted in the Picos, with 38 sightings in the last three years, but this is the first time that adult birds have decided to stay. The birds have been spotted right next to life-size models of lammergeyers installed by FCQ precisely to attract the birds. It appears that they have been successful. This is a great encouragement for the reintroduction plan which aims to release birds here in 2007, as the sites chosen (feeding stations/life-size models) are being frequented by the couple. Birds are being raised from inviable eggs collected in the Pyrenees. Around 350 lammergeyers survive in the Pyrenees, mainly in Aragon (01/12/2005). Nueva España
See also
lammergeyers in Spain (iberianature)

Birdsong changes shows habitat break up in Spain and Morocco

"Birds in Spain and Morocco are having trouble hearing and copying each other's songs because of the way their habitat has been broken up, according to a study published today. As a result the birds are living in more isolated groups and only learning songs from their closest neighbours. The researchers believe that these changes in song patterns are an early warning of habitat fragmentation, which could lead to lower genetic diversity and inbred populations. Paola Laiolo and José Tella, of the Estación Biológica de Doñana in Seville, recorded and analysed the songs of a rare and specialised songbird called Dupont's lark, across 21 localities in Spain and Morocco. This lark has particular requirements and can only live in arid scrub steppe. By comparing song similarity between birds, the researchers could show that broken habitats made the male larks mimic their neighbours' songs more than expected, but lose touch with birds on the other side of the habitat break".

"Neighbours shared up to 70% of their phrases, while non-neighbours shared only around 30%," said Dr Laiolo. By contrast birds living in pristine habitat shared around 45% of their phrases with non-neighbours over a similar distance.

The researchers believe that an increase in agricultural land, forest plantations and roads has fragmented the arid steppe habitat, preventing the Dupont's lark from sharing songs over greater distances. "The fragmentation confines the species to smaller areas and eventually the genetic diversity of the population will erode," said Dr Laiolo, whose results are reported in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Such findings are likely to apply to many kinds of wildlife in a variety of habitats and places. Creatures like insects and small mammals that tend to be less mobile than birds are likely to be hit hardest.

The Guardian  (30/11/2005)


Azure-winged magpie in Spain (updated)

Naumanns Thrush first for Spain - zorzal de Naumann (Turdus naumanni naumanni), trapped and ringed at Delta de l'Ebre. Turdus naumanni naumanni is a Siberian bird which migrates through Mongolia to Japan. More at Rare Birds in Spain with pictures (25/11/2005)

Winter migration

According to the Fundación Migres, more than 630,000 birds of some 29 species have crossed the Straits of Gibraltar on annual winter migration south. This is 7% more than last year. More than 20,000 honey buzzards were spotted. (El Mundo)

Also great photos and a desciption of the spring and autumn migration across the Straights by Stephen Daly. here at andalucianguides

Honey Buzzard  (abejero europeo Pernis apivorus) by Stephen Daly.
Also check out the bird ID photo quiz on the right-hand side of his page. Great fun.

Spain gets 14 new Ramsar sites.

Spain has declared 14 new Ramsar wetland sites. The surface area of Ramsar sites has risen from 173,124 hectares to 283,873. The sites are:

Parque Nacional de Aigües Tortes i Estany de Sant Maurici ( Cataluña)
Humedales de la Sierra de Urbión (La Rioja)
Lagunas de Peñalara (Madrid)
Paraje Natural Brazo del Este (Sevilla)
Lagunas de Palos y Las Madres (Huelva)
Punta Entinas-Sabinar (Almería)
Complejo Endorréico de Espera (Cádiz)
Reserva Natural Laguna del Conde o Salobral (Córdoba)
Reserva Natural Laguna de Tíscar (Córdoba)
Reserva Natural de los Jarales (Córdoba)
Turberas de Padul (Granada)
Reserva Natural Laguna Honda (Jaén)
Reserva Natural Laguna del Chinche (Jaén)
Reserva Natural Lagunas del Campillo (Jaén)
(12/11/05) Full Spain Ramsar list

More news (pre May 2005)

Capercaillie captive breeding

Capercaillie to be bred in captivity (europapress) See also Capercaillie in Spain (iberianature)

Canary Islands Oystercatcher (extinct) conservation

Source. Canarian Gov.

Life Project for the conservation of Houbara in the Canaries (SEO) (avutarda hubara Chlamydotis undulata). The Houbara bustard-avutarda hubara Chlamydotis undulata- is the largest bird in the Canaries and is threatened by habitat destruction and alteration in critical areas basically because of pressures from tourism  The Canarian sub-species is endemic to flat semi-desert planes in La Graciosa, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, where it feeds on seeds, and small animals such as lizrads and beetles

October 2005

Spain bird flu Wetlands declared areas of risk (iberianature) aves españa noticias

More ospreys arrive in Cadiz

Source. CMA de la Junta de Adnalusia.

Several months after the osprey raised chicks for the first time in 60 years in Los Alcornocales Natural Park, a second pair of wild ospreys has moved into the nearby Barbate reservoir in Cadiz. experts believe the presence of a number of young ospreys from the reintroduction programme (see below) has attracted the new pair.


Status of Bonelli's eagle in Andalusia

Latest survey by the Junta de Andalucía puts the number of Bonelli's eagle at between 325 and 343 pairs throughout Andalucia. By provinces the breakdown is: Malaga, 160 individuals (80 pairs); Almería 110 - 120 (55 - 60 pairs); Granada 100 (50); Cádiz 80 - 90 (40-45); Córdoba 72 (36) and Sevilla 28 - 30 (14-15). The population of this threatened rapter is considered stable in Andalusia with some 650 birds.

Doñana drought

Doñana suffers severe drought, but birds to be helped (iberianature) Just 180mm have fallen in Doñana in the last 16 months, less than third of the yearly average. Just 7mm have fallen in the last 6 months. This is one of the worst droughts in many years, and comes just when 100,000's of wintering birds are due to arrive. The park authorites are to pump water from Doñana's
underground aquifers to fill the "lucios" (pools). Cereals are also to be sown to combat the lack of wild grains this year. The rainest months in Doñana are November to January, so hopefully this week's rains will be a foretaste. Just 176.8mm fell during the rain year of 2004-2005 which ended this August, the second driest since 1859, when records began in the wetland.

Golden eagles in Andalusia

Golden eagle numbers in Andalusia rise to around 300 Breeding pairs increase in Jaen with a total of some 100 eagles. Other birds of similar habitat also on the rise except for Bonelli's

Spain and Asian Bird Flu update (iberianature)

September 2005
Spain and Asian Bird Flu. The risk of wild birds bringing Asian bird flu to Spain seems for the moment unlikely (iberianature)

New official list of  Spanish birds in English, Spanish, Catalan, basque and Galician (SEO-pdf)

August 2005

Osprey breeds in mainland Spain for the first time in 60 years (Terra)

July 2005

More osprey chicks for Andalusia After the success of the first programme, new chicks are to be released by hacking from Germany and Finland. (iberianature)

June 2005

Bitterns back breeding in Valencia (Agroinformacion) SEO record at least 6 pairs breeding in Parque Natural del Marjal Pego-Oliva. First bitterns detected here 3 years ago. Only 50 breeding pairs in Spain.

Fire in Quilamas (Salamanca) may have destroyed 7 black vulture nests (Terra), 50% of pop. of province. Black stork also affected

Agreement for reintroduction of lammergeyer into Picos de Europa (N.España) Aragon to give 'inviable' chicks to Asturias. Release to begin in one year. Ecological corridor also set up involving Cantabria and Castilla y León

Imperial eagle reintroduction programme in Doñana (Wanadoo) Only 8 pairs left in Doñana, hit by rabbit scarcity and poisoning· 3 female chicks moved to bolster female number.

7 imperial eagles and 16 black vultures poisoned in one year in Castilla-La Mancha (FAPAS)

Capercaillie population in Cantabrica falls 75% in 23 years (Terra)

Three imperial eagle chicks born in Sierra de Andújar (Terra)

EU condemns Spain for permitting wood pigeon shooting (SEO)

Protection for capercaillie (Nueva España)

Spanish birding vocabulary

  • birdlife : avifauna
  • flock : bando, bandada
  • passage: paso
  • ringing : anillamiento
  • wintering : invernada
  • shore bird : ave de ribera
  • bird of prey : ave rapaz
  • nesting bird : ave nidificante
  • steppe bird : ave esteparia
  • water bird : ave acuática
  • breeding bird : ave reproductora
  • binoculars: prismáticos
  • observatorio: hide

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birdwatching of Valencia

birdwatching of Andalucia

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birding in Andújar
birding in Almeria
birding in Sierra de Aracena
birding in Cabo de Gata
birding in Cadiz
birding in Cazorla
birding in Cordoba
birding in Doñana
birding in Granada
birding in Grazalema
birding in Sierra de Hornachuelos
birding in Huelva
birding in Jaen
birding in Malaga
birding in Sevilla
Rural toursim in Sierra Mágina
birding in Sierra Morena
birding in Sierra Nevada
birding in Sierra de las Nieves
birding in Sierra Norte

birding in the Picos de Europa
birding in the Cantabrian Mountains
birding in Somiedo
birding in Parque de Redes
birding in Ria del Eo
birds near Muniellos
birding in Bulnes
birding in Cabo Peñas
birding in Huesca
birding in Zaragoza
birding in the Aragonese Pyrenees
birding in Gallocanta
birding in Monegros
birding in Moncayo
birding in Ordesa
birding in the Sierra de Guara