To the Alentejo (Castro Verde & the Guadiana Valley)

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From the Algarve

Overview

Our day tours to the Alentejo encompass two remarkable areas - the Castro Verde plains and the Guadiana Valley, and include habitats of stunning natural beauty. From the east and central Algarve, a 60-minute drive through scenic landscapes (especially on the eastern route) brings us to the Alentejo, where we move into zones of special protection, including the bluffs and hills of the Guadiana Valley Natural Park.

The unique rolling plains of Castro Verde are the most important zone in Portugal for steppe bird conservation and the whole area was recently (2017) declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The region includes a major special protection area, specifically created to protect species like Montagu’s Harrier, Great and Little Bustards, Common Crane, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, European Roller, Lesser Kestrel and Calandra Lark; all these species can be confidently expected here in the appropriate seasons.

The Guadiana Valley is the very best region in the country for several species, including Iberian Imperial Eagle and White-rumped Swift; other charismatic birds which can be seen here include Black Stork, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Collared Pratincole, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Dartford Warbler, Subalpine Warbler and Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin.

Mammals in the region which are regularly seen during our tours include Red and Fallow Deer, Mouflon, Wild Boar, Egyptian Mongoose and Iberian Hare; a successful reintroduction programme (organized together with Spanish conservation agencies), is re-establishing the Iberian Lynx in the region and sightings of the species start to be regular, although unpredictable.

The town of Mértola, in the centre of the Guadiana Valley Natural Park, is a delight from an historical and archaeological perspective and is also the only town in Portugal with a colony of Lesser Kestrels.

Itineraries are designed to cover as many as possible of the special habitats that give the Alentejo its unparalleled character. Its steppe-like grassland, corn fields and fallow land, form an environment that has become rare in Europe, yet it also offers open Holm Oak woodlands, Stone Pine woodlands, Olive tree groves, eucalyptus groves, escarpments, bluffs and hills, Mediterranean scrub, rivers, stream valleys, reservoirs, dams and urban areas, all of which are of considerable interest to the birdwatcher.

In view of the distances involved and the variety of sites to be visited, we only operate full day tours to the Alentejo.


Main Species

Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Black Stork, White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Black-winged Kite, Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted Eagle, Iberian Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Hen Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Red Kite, Black Kite, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Common Crane, Eurasian Stone-curlew, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Collared Pratincole, Gull-billed Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, European Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Pallid Swift, White-rumped Swift, European Roller, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie, Northern Raven, European Crested Tit, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Thekla’s Lark, Crested Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Western Orphean Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Spotless Starling, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Common Nightingale, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Western Yellow Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Hawfinch, European Serin, Cirl Bunting and Rock Bunting.


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 Ruppell’s Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Sociable Lapwing, Little Swift and Red-footed Falcon.


Prices

Full Day Private Tour

  • 1 person – 290 €
  • 2 persons – 350 €
  • 3 persons – 410 €
  • 4 persons – 470 €

(+ 60 € per additional person)

Contact us now for reservations or further details

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Clean & Safe - Turismo de Portugal
Clean & Safe - Turismo de Portugal
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Photos by Pedro Marques