Castro Verde Steppes
bustards and rollers
This is one of the areas in southern Portugal that deserve to be highlighted for its scenery and rich bird community. It includes the cereal steppes of Castro Verde, in the Alentejo Dourada Plains and the patches of Mediterranean forest in the southern Baixo Alentejo, and offers quiet farming villages or towns of haunting beauty such as the medieval town of Mértola.
It is especially important for its rich community of steppe birds, being considered the best preserved in Portugal, with good populations of great bustard, little bustard, black-bellied sandgrouse, lesser kestrel, calandra lark and short-toed lark. The high availability of prey (rabbit, partridge, pigeon, dead livestock) make it also an important dispersal area for juvenile bigger birds of prey such as spanish imperial, golden and bonelli’s eagles and griffon vultures and wintering kites .
There are also a few breeding pairs of large eagles and other large raptors such as black kites, booted eagle, short-toed eagle, kestrel, eagle owl and marsh harrier.
In winter other raptors like peregrine falcon, hen harrier, merlin, black-winged kite or marsh harrier occur here. Moreover, the existence of some rivers and streams, ponds and small reservoirs favors the appearance of some waterfowl as greenshank, snipe, grey heron, little egret, moorhen and mallard. In the steppes large flocks of golden plover, lapwing and skylark feed, where it is also possible to observe the very scarce crow in the South West peninsular which being sheltered by cliffs has blue rock thrush and rock bunting.
All these factors turn the area of Castro Verde-Mértola into into a premier bird destination in the Iberian southwest.
Featured species: imperial eagle, golden eagle, bonelli’s eagle, short-toed eagle, red kite, black kite, marsh harrier, montagu’s harrier, hen harrier, black-winged kite, lesser kestrel, merlin, great bustard, little bustard, black-bellied sandgrouse crane, roller, great-spotted cuckoo, calandra and short-toed larks.
he gave us a very informative dissertation
on folk customs, botany, zoology,
environmental sustainability ... well, even
children talked later about how many
things they learned and how easy
was to understand him.”
– Fátima García –
Antonio in Doñana. It is appreciated when
people love their work, enjoy teaching
others all they know and do not have any
hurry to finish. And furthermore the
equipment was just perfect, telescope, binos
and field guides were of a great help to us.”
– Pedro Dámaso –
was the highlight of our visit to
Andalusia. Not only for the 100 species
of birds we saw, but also because of the
interesting information from the guide
on Doñana’s ecology and history. It was
an unforgettable experience for us.”
– Andrea Owen & Martin Holmes –
Book this tour now
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