In the Algarve

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Overview

Algarve guided bird tours created by Birds & Nature are focused essentially on two protected areas in the eastern part of the region, namely the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Castro Marim Natural Reserve. Both are of great natural beauty and phenomenal birding potential and are within easy reach of Faro Airport or any other town in the east and central Algarve.

The Ria Formosa is one of Portugal's most important protected wetlands, being a designated Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area under the European Union directive on the conservation of wild birds and incorporates the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which covers an area of 14,000 hectares. Shielded by a complex web of sand bars and dunes, the park extends along the Algarve coast for more than 60 kilometres and includes a variety of habitats. It is positioned on a major fly-way for migrants travelling between Europe and Africa and attracts a rich variety of waterbirds (especially waders) and passerines. It is also a great place to see species like Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, Little Bittern, Western Swamphen, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Red-necked Nightjar and Iberian Green Woodpecker. Other particularly common species include Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe and Iberian Magpie.

The Castro Marim area included in our Algarve tours comprises a network of channels, saline flats and salt pans (part natural and part commercial), running along the western side of the mouth of the River Guadiana. This protected area has also been designated a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area and covers some 2,000 hectares which form the Castro Marim Natural Reserve. The reserve is renowned for the number and variety of its waterbirds; large flocks of waders, ducks, gulls and terns move through on both spring and autumn passage, while many stay for the winter. This is the best site in Portugal to find Lesser Short-toed Lark and one of the best for Slender-billed Gull and Audouin's Gull. Other interesting species include Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian Grey Shrike and Spectacled Warbler.

A wide range of habitats is visited including the sea, beaches, dunes, brackish lagoon, reedbeds, mudflats, salt marshes, sand banks, salt pans, lakes, ponds, rivers, pine woods, Carob plantations, farmland, scrub and pasture.

We offer half day (morning or afternoon) and full day guided tours in this area.


Main Species

Common Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Greater Flamingo, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Western Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Booted Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Little Bustard, Water Rail, Western Swamphen, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, 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, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Caspian Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Pallid Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Common Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie, European Crested Tit, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Crested Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Cetti’s Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Spotless Starling, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Bluethroat, Common Nightingale, Spanish Sparrow, Black-headed Weaver, Common Waxbill, Western Yellow Wagtail and European Serin.


Rare or Accidental Species

In recent years, some species that are considered major rarities in Portugal have been seen at these sites during our tours; these include Ruddy Shelduck, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Flamingo, Little Crake, Red-knobbed Coot, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Lesser Yellowlegs, Marsh Sandpiper and White-winged Tern.


Prices

Half Day Private Tour

  • 1 person – 130 €
  • 2 persons – 170 €
  • 3 persons – 210 €
  • 4 persons – 250 €

(+ 40 € per additional person)

Full Day Private Tour

  • 1 person – 210 €
  • 2 persons – 270 €
  • 3 persons – 330 €
  • 4 persons – 390 €

(+ 60 € per additional person)

Please note pick up and drop off are included from locations within Faro and east of the city. A surcharge will be made for collection and return to addresses west of Faro. Also, if you wish to take a tour in the west Algarve, we can also guide you to any other of the major sites in the region, e.g. Lagoa dos Salgados, Ria de Alvor and Sagres/Cape St. Vincent. For more information about these destinations, please click here.

Contact us now for reservations or further details

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Photos by Pedro Marques