A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Spain: La Mancha, Coto Donana & Extremadura 2022

April 30-May 12, 2022 with Godfried Schreur guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
These gorgeous European Bee-eaters were voted the "best bird of the trip" for good reason! We saw them almost every day. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

The Field Guides tour to Spain is the ideal arrangement for birders, natural history enthusiasts, and nature lovers who also have a vivid interest in culture and history. This tour combines visits to the main natural hotspots of central and southern Spain with some fascinating Unesco World Heritage sites.

Spain is the country with the highest biodiversity of Europe, hosting a tremendous variety of natural habitats--from high mountains to low and wetlands and plains, from deserts to subtropical cloudforests, from untouched natural wilderness to villages and towns with a rich urban wildlife. Spain has got it all, but it's impossible to cover it all in just one tour. Our itinerary includes the top birding sites in central and southern Spain in order to see a wide variety of birds. In twelve days we visited La Mancha Humeda, a semi-arid area with plenty of lagoons filled with birds and the Tablas de Daimiel National Park; Sierra de Andujar, the stronghold of Iberian Lynx, which we were fortunate to observe at close range; Coto Doñana National Park, the ultimate coastal wetland with marshes, dunes, and a long pristine beach; Extremadura with its rolling pastures and dehesas, where extensive agriculture still supports a great selection of farmland birds; Monfrague National Park, with hill slopes covered by unspoiled Mediterranean woodland; and finally the high, granite mountains of Sierra de Gredos with extensive alpine meadows and pine woodlands lower down.

While traveling through Spain we saw many monumental castles, churches, convents, and medieval towns, too many to visit them all. We were lucky to learn a bit more about Spanish history and culture by visiting the windmills of La Mancha (Miguel de Cervantes' inspiration to write one the most famous chapters of the Don Quijote novel), Cordoba with the mind-blowing Catholic cathedral built in the heart of a Muslim mosque; Merida, one of the capitals of the Roman empire about 2000 years ago; the medieval town of Trujillo, hometown of famous conquistadores and where we lodged in a 16th-century convent; and the impressive walled town of Avila. Our last hotel was the Parador de Gredos, originally built as a hunting lodge for the monarch Alfonso XIII.

We were lucky with the weather, which was pleasant most of the time. The hotels were typically Spanish and the food Mediterranean-style with a choice of good wines. In some of the nature reserves and cultural sites we we accompanied by highly knowledgeable local guides like Javi, Inma, and Maria Jose who added so much to the tour. The logistics were perfect and smooth thanks to Ruth Kuhl and the Field Guides staff members at the office and to Maru, our ground agent. Felix was a pleasant and safe driver, and I did my best to show you all the birds and get the right pace during the tour.

All together we had a fantastic tour through Spain with many natural and cultural highlights. The success of the tour is due not least to all of you. You were great fellow travelers! I really appreciated the positive spirit, patience, and interest of our group, and I thoroughly enjoyed your company and conversation. So I'd like to thank you all for your contribution to the success of this tour.

I look forward to seeing you again in the near future!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

GRAYLAG GOOSE (EUROPEAN) (Anser anser anser)

Good views in La Mancha Humeda lagoons and in Coto Donana National Park.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Eileen Wheeler got a lovely shot of the iconic windmills of La Mancha.

COMMON SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadorna)

One of the first birds of the trip at the Laguna Larga. Beautiful duck that was seen on the lagoons of La Mancha Humeda.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

Few sightings at the Veguillas lake.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

Common in most of the wetlands visited.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)

Very common, even present in small pools in arid areas.

MARBLED TEAL (Marmaronetta angustirostris)

Splendid views of this endangered species at the Veguillas lagoon of La Mancha Humeda and in the reservoir of Laguna de Abajo.


Hundreds if not thousands at the Dehesa de Abajo reservoir. The drake is beautiful with its bright red eyes and beak, and orange head.

COMMON POCHARD (Aythya ferina)

Often together with the Red-crested Pochard which attracts all the attention.

FERRUGINOUS DUCK (Aythya nyroca)

Our second visit to the Dehesa de Abajo reservoir was rewarded with a fantastic sighting of this rare species, showing even the conspicous white eye of the drake.

WHITE-HEADED DUCK (Oxyura leucocephala)

About 20 birds at the Veguillas lagoon. The eye-catching blue bill, white head and pintail make them into an outstanding and unmistakable species.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

RING-NECKED PHEASANT (Phasianus colchicus)

1 bird in Merida, Extremadura.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The European Stonechat is quite common, but it is a lovely bird. Participant Nancy Buck got a great shot of one holding a prey item, no doubt destined for a nestling hidden somewhere!

COMMON QUAIL (Coturnix coturnix)

Heard on two occasions.


Awesome views in the Sierra de Andujar and in Donana National Park.

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Hundreds of Greater Flamingos were feeding in all the lagoons of La Mancha Humeda and in Donana NP. Only a few of them showed very pinky, salmon colored plumage.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Present in most of the wetlands.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

One of the highlights of the tour was the observation of the displaying Great-crested Grebes.

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

Closeby views at the Navaseca lagoon.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

Lots of Feral Pigeons seen daily. Natural Rock Pigeons are scarce.

STOCK DOVE (Columba oenas)

Splendid views at the Retiro Park in Madrid.

COMMON WOOD-PIGEON (Columba palumbus)

Almost every day bird.

EUROPEAN TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia turtur)

This lovely little dove has become rare in recent years. Fortunately the shooting is now banned in all EU countries.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a wonderful experience watching Great Crested Grebes as they displayed. Here is one of the birds resting quietly in the water. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)

This is the most succesful bird of Europe as it has colonized almost all the countries and has become very abundant.

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

PIN-TAILED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles alchata)

We saw and heard three birds in flight.

Otididae (Bustards)

GREAT BUSTARD (Otis tarda)

Seen very well at the semi arid pseudo-steppe of Extremadura.

LITTLE BUSTARD (Tetrax tetrax)

Populations of this species have declined in recent years but despite that, we achieved good sightings in Extremadura.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (Clamator glandarius)

One good sighting of this rare species at the pseudo-steppe of Extremadura.

COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus)

We heard the typical cuckoo song on many occasions.

Apodidae (Swifts)

ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba)

On the Roman bridge in Merida we enjoyed our first observation of this huge, white-bellied swift. This observation was improved at Monfrague NP.

COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)

A daily bird.

PALLID SWIFT (Apus pallidus)

Difficult to distinguish from the Common Swift. But on the Roman bridge in Merida and the beautiful square of Trujillo we definitely saw the characteristic features of Pallid Swifts.


One quick fly-by at the Sierra de Andujar.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Eurasian Hoopoe was another favorite bird, and we enjoyed a number of views. Especially nice was the sighting in Coto Donana NP. Photo by participant Nancy Buck.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

WATER RAIL (Rallus aquaticus)

Heard at the lagoons of La Mancha Humeda.

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Common in all wetlands.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Very abundant in all wetlands, especially at the Dehesa de Abajo reservoir.

RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata)

We struggled to find this rare species but finally our effort was rewarded at the Dehesa de Abajo close to Coto Donana NP.

WESTERN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)

We achieved excellent views of plenty of Western Swamphens in the National Park of Donana.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

EURASIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus oedicnemus)

While searching for bustards at the semi-arid plains of Extremadura, we found a couple of these odd looking birds with big yellow eyes.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

Probably the most common wader at most of the wetlands. Very elegant and good looking bird that showed very well.

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Unmistakable with the thin, upcurved bill and black-and-white plumage.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus ostralegus)

Another black-and-white bird but with red beak and eyes. A dozen on the beach of Coto Donana NP.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

Beautifull bird in breeding plumage, on the beach close to the rivermouth of the Guadalquivir.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This pack of Eurasian Griffons feeding on a carcass in Donana NP was one of our best views of these large vultures. We saw these at Monfrague NP as well. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

NORTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus vanellus)

Our first birding stop of the tour at the Laguna Larga was good for the only sightings of Northern Lapwing, another attractive wader species.

KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus)

We saw the palest of the three small plover species at the Laguna Larga and at the beach of Matalascanas.

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)

Unmistakable in breeding plumage with the orange bill and legs.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)

Stunning view of one bird blended in with the flowers of the Common Water-crowfoot.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

One bird at the Matalascanas beach.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

Some good looking birds in breeding plumage at the untouched beach of Coto Donana NP.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

Seen well at the beach of Coto Donana, some birds showing the colorful breeding plumage.

RUFF (Calidris pugnax)

Group of about 20 Ruffs at the Laguna Larga.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

One individual joining the group of Ruffs.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

Most common wader at the beach of Matalascanas, Coto Donana.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Audouin's Gulls and others were seen on the beach near Matalascanas. Photo by participant Nancy Buck.

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

Several birds at the wader-beach of Coto Donana.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

Present in small numbers at most of the wetlands visited, even in the arid areas of Extremadura and the Sierra de Gredos mountains.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

This grayish wader is often discovered by its conspicous dju-dju-dju call.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

The best view of this species was at the Laguna Navaseca close to the Tablas de Daimiel NP.

COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus)

Just one faraway view, but with the help of the telescope the ID was clear.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola)

Seen flying in small groups on several occasions.

Stercorariidae (Skuas and Jaegers)

PARASITIC JAEGER (Stercorarius parasiticus)

We saw two Parasitic Jaegers above the sea from the beach of Matalascanas, chasing terns.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Common at La Mancha Humeda lagoons.

AUDOUIN'S GULL (Ichthyaetus audouinii)

Several individuals mixed with other gulls at the beach close to Matalascanas.

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (Larus michahellis)

Seen in Coto Donana National Park.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the highlights of this tour is the hike into the Gredos, where we experienced some wonderful mountain terrain and forests, and saw some great birds. Photo by participant Eileen Wheeler.


The most common big gull in La Mancha Humeda and Coto Donana.

LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons)

Flocks of dozens resting at the beach of Coto Donana NP.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Seen in small numbers at La Mancha Humeda and in Coto Donana NP.

BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger)

Flocks of dozens resting at the beach of Coto Donana NP together with other terns and gulls.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

In breeding plumage the white cheeks make it easy to distinguish them from the other marsh terns.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

Mixed in the flock of resting terns at the Matalascanas beach.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

Flocks of dozens resting at the beach of Coto Donana NP together with other terns and gulls.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra)

We enjoyed fabulous views of several birds standing on the nest at the Pena Falcon rockface in the National Park of Monfrague. One of the favorite birds of the trip.

WHITE STORK (Ciconia ciconia)

The White Storks were very busy with raising their own chicks. So no time to fly around, delivering human babies. ;-)

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

NORTHERN GANNET (Morus bassanus)

Some gannets diving for fish in the sea along the beach of Coto Donana.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Common Firecrest is such a tiny bird, but it really stands out! This was another favorite bird of the trip. Photo by participant Nancy Buck.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus)

We struggled to see the smallest of the European Ardeidae species. But in the end we managed to see one bird at the Arrocamopo marshes in Extremadura.

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)

Seen in almost all the wetlands.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Seen flying in the Tablas de Daimiel NP and achieved better views of nesting birds at the JA Valverde visitor centre in Donana.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Several birds in and around Coto Donana NP.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Seen clearly their black legs and yellow toes.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

There was a Cattle Egret colony next to our restaurant in El Rocio. In the evening, we could see them flying towards the roost from the dining room.

SQUACCO HERON (Ardeola ralloides)

After searching for them in several places, suddenly there were 6 of them feeding at the shore of the Dehesa de Abajo reservoir.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

We had our first good views of the Black-crowned Night-heron at the Guadalquivir river in Cordoba town.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Good numbers in Coto Donana. Some were lucky to see them from the bedroom window in El Rocio.

EURASIAN SPOONBILL (Platalea leucorodia)

Good numbers of this interesting species in Donana NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This handsome Blue Rock-Thrush posed nicely for us at Montfrague NP. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

EGYPTIAN VULTURE (Neophron percnopterus)

The bird on the nest in Monfrague NP showed clearly its yellow face.


A group of about 20 birds on spring migration above Sierra de Andœujar.

CINEREOUS VULTURE (Aegypius monachus)

Good numbers of this massive bird in Extremadura, the European stronghold of this species.


Almost every day bird. The observations at the breeding colony at Monfrague NP and of a group feeding on carrion in Donana NP were awesome.

SHORT-TOED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus gallicus)

Seen on several occasions hovering while searching for a snake.

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)

The most common eagle species in Spain. Both pale and dark morph birds. were seen.

SPANISH EAGLE (Aquila adalberti)

One of the best birds of the tour! The adult Spanish Eagle on the ground in the dry marsh of Donana surrounded by ravens, kites and a harrier was a great sighting!

BONELLI'S EAGLE (Aquila fasciata)

We have managed to see 3 Bonelli's Eagles in Monfrague NP. 2 adults hunting together and 1 young bird that was mobbed by a Spanish Eagle.

EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)

Common raptor in most of the wetlands.

MONTAGU'S HARRIER (Circus pygargus)

Only 1 Montagu's Harrier was seen during this tour. Unfortunately this species has suffered a dramatic decline in the last decade.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Nancy Buck got this image of the Penduline Tit nest with one of the parents hanging on. We saw this near the Roman Bridge in Merida.

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis)

One bird was seen during a pre-breakfast walk next to the Parador of Gredos.

RED KITE (Milvus milvus)

More common in the Sierra de Gredos mountains.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)

Most common raptor in Extremadura.

COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo)

Almost every day bird.

Strigidae (Owls)

LITTLE OWL (Athene noctua)

Terrific views of this lovely little owl in Sierra de Andujar and in Donana NP.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)


Another favorite bird for many of us. The orange coloring and the black and white markings make the Eurasian Hoopoe into an always welcome appearance. After some faraway flybys, we were relieved to have a very close-by and long look at this marvelous bird in the Coto Donana NP. After that observation we were treated with more good views.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)


After 2 short views, we did our best to achieve better sightings. Finally, at the Arrocampo marshes, we all managed to see the striking blue birds through the telescope.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster)

Best bird of the trip! This colorful beauty was seen almost every day of the trip but we enjoyed the best views at the Dehesa de Abajo reservoir near Donana.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

EUROPEAN ROLLER (Coracias garrulus)

Another colorful beauty! Good views next to breeding boxes in Extremadura.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

EURASIAN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla)

Heard and seen briefly in a wooded area of Coto Donana NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here we are, ready to head out on our safari at the Sierra de Andujar. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.


Fabulous views at the Retiro park in Madrid.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni)

In the lovely medieval town of Trujillo, we saw at least 30 of these small raptors which breed and hunt colonywise.

EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)

Seen regularly on route.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

The Peregrine showed on two occasions, both at the Salto del Gitano in Monfrague NP.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus)

This escape from South America is breeding in increasing numbers in the Retiro Park in Madrid.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


We had several short views of this colorful skulker.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio)

We found one male on the last day in the Sierra de Gredos.

IBERIAN GRAY SHRIKE (Lanius meridionalis)

This shy bird was seen on several ocasions in Extremadura.

WOODCHAT SHRIKE (Lanius senator)

We enjoyed many good views of this pretty shrike, mainly in Extremadura.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

EURASIAN JAY (Garrulus glandarius)

While looking at a Western Bonelli's Warbler in the pine woodland of Sierra de Gredos an Eurasian Jay perched close by.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Sierra de Andujar was where we had a great view of the Red-legged Partridge; we also saw these colorful birds in Donana NP. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

IBERIAN MAGPIE (Cyanopica cooki)

Important species as it is an Iberian endemic. Good numbers in Sierra de Andujar, Coto Donana and Extremadura.


Daily bird.

RED-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

We saw 2 Red-billed Choughs at the Jandula dam in Sierra de Andujar.

EURASIAN JACKDAW (Corvus monedula)

Common in Trujillo.

CARRION CROW (Corvus corone)

Best views on the meadows of the Sierra de Gredos.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Almost a daily bird.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

COAL TIT (Periparus ater)

One bird at the Retiro Park and dozens constantly singing around our hotel in Sierra de Gredos.

CRESTED TIT (Lophophanes cristatus)

We saw the funny crest and black-and-white face pattern next to the Gredos Parador.

EURASIAN BLUE TIT (Cyanistes caeruleus)

In the wooded area of the Palacio del Acebron we managed some good sightings of the Blue Tit.

GREAT TIT (Parus major)

More common than the Blue Tit, seen in many occasions along the tour. More contrasting and colorful than most of the chickadees.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Greater Flamingo and Eurasian Spoonbill were seen in Donana NP; we saw quite a few of these large water-birds there. Photo by participant Eileen Wheeler.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)


A pair of Penduline Tits showed very well at their penduline nest close to the Roman bridge in Merida.

Alaudidae (Larks)

GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK (Calandrella brachydactyla)

Reasonable observation of this pale lark at the plains of Caceres, Extremadura.

CALANDRA LARK (Melanocorypha calandra)

At the semi-arid plains of Extremadura, we enjoyed their constant and never ceasing singing, as if we were listening to a fantastic concert.


It was not easy, but we all managed to see this small, stripy lark through the telescope.

WOOD LARK (Lullula arborea)

The bright and long supercilium was obvious.

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis)

Singing constantly in the mountains of Sierra de Gredos.

THEKLA'S LARK (Galerida theklae)

Next to our hotel in Monfrague we saw some obliging Thekla Larks.

CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata)

Almost a daily bird.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)

Typical LBJ popping out of the high grass for his zit-zit-zit song flight.

Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta)

We managed the best look at this yellowish warbler next to our hotel in the Sierra de Gredos.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This sparkling Eared Grebe in perfect breeding plumage showed nicely at Navaseca Lagoon. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

EURASIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

Heard at all reed-beds but almost always staying low and hidden.

GREAT REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

Climbing up and showing off when singing.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

SAVI'S WARBLER (Locustella luscinioides)

Heard at the lagoons of La Mancha Humeda.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)

Present in small numbers at most of the wetlands visited.

EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)

Seen well in many occasions, definitely not a Crack-Martin ;-)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Almost everywhere.

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)

Particularly good observations at the small bridge over the Magasca river in Extremadura.

COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum)

Huge numbers, especially at colonies under bridges and dams.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)

WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus bonelli)

We had to work for this species, but at last we all managed to see this pale-bellied warbler.

IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus ibericus)

Heard and seen at the Palacio del Acebron, Coto Donana NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The only owl we saw on the tour was the charming Little Owl. Participant Nancy Buck got a nice shot of one of these cuties.
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)

CETTI'S WARBLER (Cettia cetti)

We heard them at every wetland, but this skulker rarely comes out of the dense vegetation.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

LONG-TAILED TIT (Aegithalos caudatus)

Small dots of feathers with long tails moving from branch to branch. Seen well in the Sierra de Gredos.

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

EURASIAN BLACKCAP (Sylvia atricapilla)

We saw both males with black caps and females with reddish-brown caps.


In Monfrague National Park we managed to see a male with characteristic pale iris.

SARDINIAN WARBLER (Curruca melanocephala)

Common but can be difficult to see. Heard more often than seen.


Seen in Monfrague National Park, while we searched for the Black-eared Wheatear.

GREATER WHITETHROAT (Curruca communis)

Showed very well while singing in the top of trees and bushes in Sierra de Gredos.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

COMMON FIRECREST (Regulus ignicapilla)

Fabulous, tiny little bird. One of the top birds of the trip.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

EURASIAN NUTHATCH (Sitta europaea)

Next to our Parador hotel in Gredos mountains, during one of our pre-breakfast walks.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (Certhia brachydactyla)

Seen creeping up trees in the Retiro Park and Sierra de Gredos Pine woodlands.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Marbled Teal is an endangered species, so we were happy to get some good views of them at La Mancha Humeda and Laguna de Abajo. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)

EURASIAN WREN (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Often heard, rarely seen. Best views in the Sierra de Gredos.

Cinclidae (Dippers)


A pair feeding a chick in the fast streaming Tormes river.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

SPOTLESS STARLING (Sturnus unicolor)

Daily bird. Like the Eurasian Starling but with uniform glossy black plumage.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

MISTLE THRUSH (Turdus viscivorus)

In the pine woodlands of Sierra de Gredos we enjoyed good views on this rather large thrush.


Daily bird.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)

Seen well in the Coto Donana area and in Sierra de Gredos.

EUROPEAN ROBIN (Erithacus rubecula)

Best views at several places in Sierra de Gredos.

COMMON NIGHTINGALE (Luscinia megarhynchos)

This plain-brown bird is famous for its melodious song which we were able to enjoy frequently.

BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica)

We had to climb up the Gredos mountains in order to see this species. It was worth the effort!


Next to our Gredos Parador hotel.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A Little Ringed Plover almost blends in the flowers of the Common Water-Crowfoot. The golden eye-ring of the bird matches the flowers! Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

BLACK REDSTART (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Common in rocky areas of Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos.

RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis)

We managed to observe some stunning males high up in the Gredos mountains.

BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola solitarius)

Lovely views of this plain blue bird at Monfrague NP.

WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra)

We discovered some birds on passage at the Laguna Larga.

EUROPEAN STONECHAT (Saxicola rubicola rubicola)

Very common, but it's always nice to see this bird.

NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe)

The breeding birds in Sierra de Gredos are very pale.


A spectacular male showed very well in Monfrague NP.

BLACK WHEATEAR (Oenanthe leucura)

We spotted this rare species in the Sierra de Andujar.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus)

Non-native escapee breeding in the Donana area.

Prunellidae (Accentors)

DUNNOCK (Prunella modularis)

Common and confiding bird in Sierra de Gredos mountains.

Field Guides Birding Tours
In the Sierra de Gredos, we saw good numbers of Red Crossbills. Photo by participant Nancy Buck.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Widespread and abundant.

SPANISH SPARROW (Passer hispaniolensis)

Some discovered nesting in White Stork nests. Localy common in Extremadura.

ROCK SPARROW (Petronia petronia)

Lovely views of singing males while showing their usualy hidden yellow throat patch.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)

Beautiful species restricted to streaming rivers. Seen at Sierra de Gredos.

WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (IBERIAE) (Motacilla flava iberiae)

We observed Western Yellow Wagtails at various places. But we achieved best views with Javi in Coto Donana NP.

WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba)

Widespread in small numbers.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

COMMON CHAFFINCH (Fringilla coelebs)

Very common in all the wooded areas.

HAWFINCH (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Seen briefly on two occasions.


Common and easy-to-see species.

EURASIAN LINNET (Linaria cannabina)

Nice little finch, males showing red on chest in breeding season.

Field Guides Birding Tours
On our safari in the Sierra de Andujar, we saw some wonderful mammals, including this herd of European Bison. Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

Very abundant this year in the pine woodlands of Sierra de Gredos. Exceptional numbers!

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis)

Another common bird that is always nice to observe.

CITRIL FINCH (Carduelis citrinella)

Feeding in the gardens of our Parador de Gredos.

EUROPEAN SERIN (Serinus serinus)

The bright yellow males sing from exposed branches anywhere, any time.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

CORN BUNTING (Emberiza calandra)

Daily bird.

ROCK BUNTING (Emberiza cia)

Lovely bunting that showed very well in Sierra de Gredos.

CIRL BUNTING (Emberiza cirlus)

Another attractive bunting that was much appreciated.

ORTOLAN BUNTING (Emberiza hortulana)

What a beauty! And what a lovely song! Reminded us of the 5th Symphony of Beethoven.

REED BUNTING (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Brief view of the very rare and endangered endemic race in Tablas de Daimiel NP.


OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Common in La Mancha and Donana.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Perhaps the best sightings on our safari, though, were our views of rare Iberian Lynx, including this lovely young female! Photo by guide Godfried Schreur.


One brief and distant view from the roman bridge over the Guadiana river in Merida, Extremadura.

IBERIAN LYNX (Lynx pardinus)

We were very lucky to see a young female at close range. For some of us this was the best moment of the tour. In addition we observed three playing kittens through the telescope.

WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)

In Donana NP we observed some big and many smaller Wild Boars.

FALLOW DEER (Dama dama)

Dozens of Fallow Deers in Sierra de Andujar and in Donana NP.

RED DEER (Cervus elaphus)

We saw Red Deer in various places. The best view was during the safari in Sierra de Andujar.

EUROPEAN BISON (Bison bonasus)

Interesting sighting of dozens of individuals of this threatened mammal that was successfully introduced into Sierra de Andujar mountains.

SPANISH IBEX (Capra pyrenaica)

We were thrilled with the sight of at least 20 Spanish Ibex in the mountains of Sierra de Gredos. The spectacular males with huge horns were impressive.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a wonderful time on this tour, and enjoyed some great hotels in addition to the beautiful landscape and animals of Spain! Participant Eileen Wheeler got a shot of our group gathered at the Hostel Almanzor.

Totals for the tour: 190 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa