To the Tagus Estuary

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From Lisbon


Lisbon is the only European capital located near such a rich Birds & Nature hotspot – the Tagus Estuary. This estuary is the most important Portuguese wetland area and one of the most important in Europe.

The Tagus Estuary, a Ramsar wetland site of international importance, includes a wide Special Protection Zone (ZPE) and a Natural Reserve (RNET), extending over 14,000 hectares, specifically created to protect wintering, passage and breeding populations of aquatic birds.

Because of the specific geography of the area, it abounds with a remarkable variety of non-wetland biotopes as well, including wooded slopes and extensive pastures. Put together, the greater Tagus Estuary contains a quite extraordinary range of birds, from Greater Flamingo to Black-winged Kite and Squacco Heron to Little Bustard. Other charismatic species regularly seen on our tours include Little Bittern, Bonelli’s Eagle, Western Swamphen, Collared Pratincole, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Iberian Grey Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Iberian Chiffchaff and Bluethroat. The area bird list comprises more than 250 species.

Visiting the Tagus Estuary is a fantastic experience at all times of the year. In winter, it holds over 150.000 waders, waterfowl and other aquatic birds; during migratory periods, the bird diversity is at its maximum, and it is not unusual to observe more than 100 bird species in a single day; during the summer, the estuary is alive with breeding species more usually associated with the Mediterranean.

Nature seems especially close here, because of the unique age-old relationship between agriculture and the land. Enormous, powerful black bulls abound, lazing under Cork Oaks, while the ecological balance created over the centuries has ensured a wide biodiversity.

Many wild mammals are common, especially the Egyptian Mangoose, which is regularly seen, moving in family groups.

The places visited include a wide variety of special habitats: open water, inter-tidal mudflats, salt marshes, salt pans, rice fields, reedbeds, small lagoons, Cork Oak and Stone Pine woodlands, eucalypt plantations, poplars and willows and steppe-like pasture.

Given the closeness of Lisbon to some of the best places for birdwatching at this site – a drive of about 20 minutes – Birds & Nature has half day (morning or afternoon) and full day guided tours to the area.

Main Species

Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Black-necked Grebe, Greater Flamingo, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Eurasian Bittern, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Western Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black Kite, Little Bustard, Water Rail, Western Swamphen, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, European Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Collared Pratincole, Mediterranean Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Western Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Pallid Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, European Crested Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Crested Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Cetti’s Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Iberian Chiffchaff, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crested Myna, Spotless Starling, Bluethroat, Common Nightingale, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Black-headed Weaver, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Common Waxbill, Scaly-breasted Munia, Western Yellow Wagtail, Water Pipit, Hawfinch, European Serin, Cirl Bunting and Common Reed Bunting.

Rare or Accidental Species

In recent years, many species that are considered major rarities in Portugal have been seen at this site during our tours; these include Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Marbled Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Lesser Flamingo, White Pelican, Red-knobbed Coot, Sociable Lapwing, American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Terek Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marsh Sandpiper, Franklin’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull and White-winged Tern.


Half Day Private Tour

  • 1 person – 150 €
  • 2 persons – 190 €
  • 3 persons – 230 €
  • 4 persons – 270 €

(+ 40 € per additional person)

Full Day Private Tour

  • 1 person – 230 €
  • 2 persons – 290 €
  • 3 persons – 350 €
  • 4 persons – 410 €

(+ 60 € per additional person)

Contact us now for reservations or further details

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Clean & Safe - Turismo de Portugal
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Photos by Pedro Marques