A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Spain: La Mancha, Coto Donana & Extremadura 2023

April 29-May 11, 2023 with Godfried Schreur guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group with the ancient walled city of Ávila on the background.

We had a delightful birding tour in Spain with a fantastic group of lovely people, comfortable hotels and transport, good food, smooth logistics, pleasant weather, nice walks, impressive landscapes, knowledgeable and friendly local guides, professional drivers, and a well balanced itinerary and pace. I think that the Field Guides tour through central and southern Spain has established the perfect combination of a lot of good birding in the best nature reserves, with visits to a small but good selection of cultural and historical highlights. It was just awesome!

Spain is certainly the most biodiverse and birdy country in Europe thanks to the enormous variety of natural and “(wo)men-made” habitats available. Our itinerary included the best national parks and birding sites of this part of the Iberian Peninsula, covering the most representative ecosystems from sea level to 6500 feet high. This resulted in a fantastic nature and birding experience with a great variety of bird species, almost 200!

However, the severe drought that Spain was suffering during our tour was, at moments, very present, especially in the wetlands that were actually almost completely dry. The drought has an enormous impact on nature and birds and, consequently, affected the birding. We were forced to change the itinerary slightly and, on occasions, it was more difficult for us to find some species to enjoy. I hope it was just an exceptional circumstance…

It would be a shame to visit Spain and not see anything from the enormous cultural and historical heritage. We enjoyed thoroughly two guided cultural visits, one in the mind-blowing mosque/cathedral of Córdoba, where 2000 years of history and cultural come together in just one monument. We enjoyed the other guided cultural walk in the lovely medieval town of Trujillo, hometown of famous conquistadors, with a nice concentration of palaces, convents, monasteries, churches, cisterns, towers, etc… and on top of the hill, a 10th Century castle. We ended this cultural walk at one the most beautiful squares of Spain, where we enjoyed dinner with views of the medieval setting. We birded the Guadalquivir and the Guadiana rivers from two spectacular Roman bridges, and we lodged in an ancient convent, and in a former royal hunting lodge. Furthermore, we had the chance to search for Don Quixote's giants amongst the ancient windmills, in the La Mancha of Miguel de Cervantes. And on the way back to Madrid, we passed by the ancient walled city of Ávila.

In short, there is so much to see in Spain, too much for less than 2 weeks. But I think we managed to offer you a good and representative overview and a nice insight look into Spain's birds, nature and culture.

Hereby the illustrated triplist! I hope you enjoy reading it and that it will take you back to the best moments of our tour.

—Godfried Schreur "Godwit"

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)

Hundreds of adults and goslings in the marshland of El Rocío (Coto Doñana).

EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca)

Seen in the reservoir of Alange on the day we traveled from Doñana to Extremadura.

COMMON SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadorna)

About 20 Common Shelducks in the Laguna of Navaseca, close to Daimiel National Park.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)

20 Northern Shovelers in the Laguna de Veguillas next to Alcázar de San Juan.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

We observed around 30 Gadwalls in the Laguna de Veguillas.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)

Seen in modest numbers at all the wetlands that we visited.


We found 1 Drake at the Laguna de Veguillas, Alcázar de San Juan, which is unusual at this time of year. Pintail is a wintering bird in Spain.

MARBLED TEAL (Marmaronetta angustirostris)

We observed almost 10 birds in total. Not bad for such a rare and endangered species!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Marbled Teal (Photo by Russ Cole).


We found the biggest concentration (50 individuals)of this pretty duck at the Laguna de Veguillas.

COMMON POCHARD (Aythya ferina)

Likewise the Red-crested Pochard, we estimated about 50 Common Pochards at the Laguna de Veguillas.

WHITE-HEADED DUCK (Oxyura leucocephala)

Due to the severe drought in SW and central Spain, all the White-headed Ducks concentrated at the only lake which maintained a good water level, the Veguillas lake, where we counted at least 40 individuals of this rare duck.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)


We encountered the attractive Red-legged Partridge in Sierra de Andújar, Coto Doñana and in Extremadura.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Red-legged Partridge (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus)

In total, we must have seen close to 300 Greater Flamingos. Always beautiful!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Greater Flamingo (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).
Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

It was nice to see the Little Grebe and the Eared Grebe together, in order to compare these related species.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

Two stunning Great Crested Grebes at the Reservoir of Talaván, Extremadura!

EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)

At least 20 Eared Grebes in breeding plumage at the Laguna de Veguillas.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

Lots of Feral Pigeons everywhere.

STOCK DOVE (Columba oenas)

Lovely to see about 30 confident Stock Doves at close range in the Retiro Park in Madrid.

COMMON WOOD-PIGEON (Columba palumbus)

Every day bird, common and widespread. We had the best views at the Retiro Park in Madrid where they are used to people.

EUROPEAN TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia turtur)

We saw and heard this rare Turtle Dove.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto)

Common and widespread, every day bird.

Pteroclidae (Sandgrouse)

PIN-TAILED SANDGROUSE (Pterocles alchata)

In Coto Doñana we had brief views of some birds in flight. But early in the morning, on the plains of Trujillo, we enjoyed awesome views of this extremely handsome bird.

Otididae (Bustards)

GREAT BUSTARD (Otis tarda)

Good views of the heaviest flying bird in the world on the plains of Cáceres.

LITTLE BUSTARD (Tetrax tetrax)

We struggled to see this species, which is logical having in mind the dramatic decline of its population. But "never give up", eventually we found 1 male bird hiding in the long grasses.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (Clamator glandarius)

Parasites on nests of Eurasian Magpie. In May it is hard to see this species, but we managed to see at least 3 of them.

COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus)

Heard more frequently than seen, but at the plains close to Trujillo we enjoyed good views of at least 4 birds.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

EURASIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus europaeus)

Splendid performance next to the Parador de Gredos hotel, with "wing-clapping" included!

Apodidae (Swifts)

ALPINE SWIFT (Apus melba)

Spectacular views of this huge swift at the Roman bridge of Mérida and in Monfragüe NP, both in Extremadura.

COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus)

The overall plain color is like black coffee "americano". Common and widespread.

PALLID SWIFT (Apus pallidus)

The general coloring is like a "cortado" (coffee with a little bit of milk). It was lovely to see and hear the Pallid Swift and Common Swifts in Trujillo, while enjoying a delicious dinner at the main square.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Calle de las flores in Córdoba. We spotted the first Pallid Swift of the tour next to the tower in the background (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

WATER RAIL (Rallus aquaticus)

Heard only.

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Present in low moderate numbers in all the wetlands visited.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

We must have seen about 100 of them, which is very few, due to the general and severe drought in Spain.

WESTERN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Unmistakable and very fancy with the bright blue plumage, and reddish purple legs, beak and front.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

EURASIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus oedicnemus)

1 Eurasian Stone Curlew was found in a field north of Coto Doñana NP. Unfortunately, he is very good at hiding...

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

One of the most widespread waders in Spain. Always nice to see them with these surprisingly long legs.

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Just black and white, but still so elegant!

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus ostralegus)

The plumage is also just black and white but the bill and the legs are bright red. We saw this species at the beach along Coto Doñana NP.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

About 20 individuals at the beach, some of them showing the black belly of the breeding plumage already.

EUROPEAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis apricaria)

One very late Golden Plover was found in Doñana NP, probably the last individual remaining from the winter population.

NORTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus vanellus)

5 Northern Lapwings at the Laguna de Navaseca. Beautiful plover!

KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus)

Seen inland at the Laguna de Navaseca and at the coast, on the beach of Matalascañas.

COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula)

Very similar to your Semipalmated Plover.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)

Did you see the yellow eye-ring?

Field Guides Birding Tours
Little Ringed Plover (Photo by Russ Cole).
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

6 at the wader/gull/tern beach of Doñana.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

We found 10 individuals during the beach safari with Álvaro.


A group of about 20 Black-tailed Godwits was feeding at the marshland of El Rocío, Coto Doñana.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

Most of the Turnstones were already further north. We found 2 individuals in breeding plumage on the beach.

RED KNOT (Calidris canutus)

The Red Knots also started to show rufous feathers of the breeding plumage.

RUFF (Calidris pugnax)

Two males at the Laguna de Navaseca.

TEMMINCK'S STINT (Calidris temminckii)

We found 2 Temminck´s Stints in the marshland next to our hotel in El Rocío. Not the most colorful wader but good to see them anyway!

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

Plenty of them, at least 300, at the beach.

DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)

LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta)

We discovered 1 Little Stint at the Laguna de Navaseca.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

Present in low numbers in almost all the wetlands.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

At least 4 Common Greenshanks at the marsh of El Rocío.

COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus)

We registered the Common Redshank in low numbers at the Laguna de Navaseca and in Doñana NP.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

COLLARED PRATINCOLE (Glareola pratincola)

Seen in flight and on the ground. In flight they are like a mixture between a swallow and a tern. Very graceful flyers!

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

We saw 2 breeding colonies. We estimated about 100 birds in Laguna de Veguillas and likewise in the Laguna de Navaseca.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)

Only 1 sub-adult at the long and unspoiled beach of Doñana.

AUDOUIN'S GULL (Ichthyaetus audouinii)

Handsome gull with soft gray plumage and red bill with dark band and yellow point. About 50 on the beach.

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL (Larus michahellis)

Numerous above the Atlantic, following fishermen´s ships.


Also abundant on the Atlantic Ocean along the SW shoreline of the Iberian Peninsula.

LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons)

about 50 Little Terns resting on the beach, mixed in with other terns and gulls.

Field Guides Birding Tours
1 Common Tern and 3 Little Tern (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Due to the drought there were no Gull-billed Terns in Coto Doñana nor in La Mancha Húmeda. But we did see four of them flying above the reservoir of Arrocampo in Extremadura.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

Good views at several places in La Mancha Húmeda. We registered the largest concentration (20 birds) at the Laguna de Navaseca next to the Daimiel NP.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo)

We saw 4 Common Terns in the group of terns and gulls at the beach close to the Guadalquivir river mouth.

SANDWICH TERN (Thalasseus sandvicensis)

Some were resting on the beach, but most of the Sandwich Terns were still feeding at sea.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra)

One of the two birds that were rated as "the best bird of the trip", the Black Stork turned out to be very colorful. We enjoyed wonderful sighting at the Salto del Gitano/Peña Falcón viewpoint at Monfragüe NP, where we observed several occupied nests.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Black Stork (Photo by Russ Cole).

WHITE STORK (Ciconia ciconia)

The White Stork breeds in many towns and villages, often close to people. It was lovely to see them, for example, in Trujillo, during our guided cultural tour.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

NORTHERN GANNET (Morus bassanus)

We spotted 6 Northern Gannets flying above the Atlantic.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)

There was a breeding colony with dozens of individuals in an electricity tower in the Arrocampo reservoir.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

LITTLE BITTERN (Ixobrychus minutus)

Fabulous views of Little Bitterns at the Guadiana river in Mérida, while walking (and birding) on the longest Roman Bridge of the Iberian Peninsula.

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea)

We saw individual birds in many places and a concentration of 20 Gray Herons at the almost dry reservoir of Dehesa de Abajo.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

We saw this species at Doñana NP and at the Arrocampo reservoir in Extremadura.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Far away views at the Arrocampo reservoir, Extremadura.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Seen in several wetlands along the route. We observed the biggest concentration at Arrocampo when all the herons and egrets of the mixed breeding colony flew up because of alarm.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

Often seen following any kind of livestock like cattle, but also horses, sheep, and deer.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

At the Guadalquivir river, we enjoyed splendid views of some close-by Black-crowned Night-Herons, just before entering the fascinating and unique mosque-cathedral of Córdoba.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Photo by Russ Cole).
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Very glossy indeed in their breeding plumage. We saw them at close range feeding next to our hotel in El Rocío.

EURASIAN SPOONBILL (Platalea leucorodia)

Best views in Doñana NP.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

We had 2 encounters with Osprey: one at the beach near Sanlucar de Barrameda and the other one in Monfragüe NP. The latter was attacked by a Peregrine Falcon.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

EGYPTIAN VULTURE (Neophron percnopterus)

Fantastic view of a breeding Egyptian Vulture on the nest in Monfragüe NP. The yellow face really stands out.


Dozens of European Honey-buzzards were seen in Sierra de Andújar, on migration to their breeding grounds in central and northern Europe.

CINEREOUS VULTURE (Aegypius monachus)

Massive raptor with his wingspan of close to 3 meters. Extremadura holds the largest population in the world of this giant vulture. No wonder we saw good numbers of them.


Lovely to see the Griffon Vultures with their chicks at the breeding colony of Salto del Gitano/Peña Falcón in Monfragüe NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Egyptian Vulture (Photo by Russ Cole).

SHORT-TOED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus gallicus)

Seen hovering searching for snakes.

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)

We encountered both morphs, most pale and some dark morph.

SPANISH EAGLE (Aquila adalberti)

One of the main target species of this tour because of the limited breeding range, the mighty Spanish Eagle showed very well on 3 occasions. We all managed to see the white leading edge of the wing, the main distinctive feature.

BONELLI'S EAGLE (Aquila fasciata)

We had 3 observations of this spectacular eagle. We enjoyed the best view in Monfragüe NP, Extremadura.

EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus)

We observed males and females of the Eurasian Marsh-Harrier flying above the reedbeds of several wetlands.


A Eurasian Sparrowhawk suddenly appeared above the Gredos mountains and disappeared immediately. That was a brief view!

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis)

Hawk watching can be challenging. This Northern Goshawk stayed high up in the sky above the Jándula river in the Sierra de Andújar.

RED KITE (Milvus milvus)

One of the more beautiful raptors of Europe. We had at least 3 encounters with the Red Kite.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)

The most numerous raptor of the area. We registered it every day of the tour. During the safari with Javi through the Mediterranean woodland and the dry marshland of Doñana NP we had good views of them.

COMMON BUZZARD (Buteo buteo)

We saw most of them in the plains near Trujillo, Extremadura.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (Tyto alba)

1 Barn Owl was roosting in the bushes in the Coto Doñana NP.

Strigidae (Owls)


There was a Eurasian Scops Owl roosting in the small park next to our hotel in Trujillo. Very cute!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Eurasian Scops-Owl (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).


The Eurasian Eagle-Owl was rated as the second best bird of the trip. In Spain, people nickname this impressive owl as "El Gran Duque", which means something like "The Great Duque". And indeed, his expression is really like he is in charge on that enormous mountain-rock face.

LITTLE OWL (Athene noctua)

Very nice views of the Little Owl with its yellow eyes in Sierra de Andujar.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Little Owl (Photo by Russ Cole).
Upupidae (Hoopoes)


The awesome Eurasian Hoopoe was seen and heard many times on this trip. But it is not always easy to have a good view. We managed to enjoy a good look at this marvelous bird right next to our hotel in Monfragüe, Extremadura.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)


It is bright blue and flies very fast, in a straight line, just above the water surface. That is how the Common Kingfisher is seen most of the times...

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

EUROPEAN BEE-EATER (Merops apiaster)

Wonderful bird with all the colors of the rainbow!

Coraciidae (Rollers)

EUROPEAN ROLLER (Coracias garrulus)

Another spectacular and colorful bird. We found at least 6 of these beauties at close range.

Field Guides Birding Tours
European Roller (Photo by Russ Cole).
Picidae (Woodpeckers)


Good views, especially in the Retiro Park in Madrid.


This Iberian endemic was feeding on the ground of the Retiro Park in Madrid, and allowed us a very good look.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Iberian Green Woodpecker (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni)

In Trujillo, we visited a colony with plenty of pairs breeding in nest boxes that are installed aiming to maintain this species. We enjoyed good views of both males and females.

EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)

The Eurasian Kestrel is not so social as the Lesser Kestrel. We found several solitary birds and couples along the itinerary.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Lesser Kestrel (Photo by Russ Cole).

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

We found a couples of Peregrines perched on an ancient tower in the dune area of Coto Doñana. The second encounter was at Monfragüe NP, where we saw a Peregrine stooping on an Osprey that was passing by on his migration route to the north.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri) [I]

One Rose-ringed Parakeet flew by when we were birding on the Roman bridge in Córdoba.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus) [I]

This South American species has settled in Madrid and in other cities in Spain and Portugal.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)


It is surprising how the Golden Oriole, with his contrasting yellow and black coloring, manages to stay hidden in the trees. He is a master in undercover camouflage.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

RED-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius collurio)

Lovely view of a pair of Red-backed Shrikes in the Gredos mountains.

IBERIAN GRAY SHRIKE (Lanius meridionalis)

During our safari with Javi through the National Park of Doñana, a confident Iberian Gray Shrike allowed us to do a photo shoot.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Iberian Gray Shrike (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

WOODCHAT SHRIKE (Lanius senator)

More common and widespread than the previous "Butcher-bird". Nice views on our pre-breakfast walk from our hotel near Monfragüe NP.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

EURASIAN JAY (Garrulus glandarius)

The specialty of this species is the color pattern of the upper primary coverts. They are bright blue with transversal black stripes.

IBERIAN MAGPIE (Cyanopica cooki)

Together with the Black Stork rated as "The best bird of the trip". This endemic species shows azure colored wings and tail, and moves around in noisy groups.


At a first glance it just looks like a "normal" black and white bird. But when having a better look and with some sunshine, the black feathers show blue, green and purple iridescences.

RED-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

Seen at the Sierra de Andújar, with the curved, red bill.

EURASIAN JACKDAW (Corvus monedula)

We saw this small and social corvid almost every day.

CARRION CROW (Corvus corone)

Walking around in the grassy meadows of the Sierra de Gredos.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Common and widespread.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

COAL TIT (Periparus ater)

The song of the little Coal Tit is the dominant sound of the pine woodlands of the Sierra de Gredos.

CRESTED TIT (Lophophanes cristatus)

Very funny little bird with his striped crest.

EURASIAN BLUE TIT (Cyanistes caeruleus)

The most colorful of the Paridae family.

GREAT TIT (Parus major)

Another beautiful member of the tit-family, with his striking black and white head pattern.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Great Tit (Photo by Suzi Cole).
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)


A cooperative Penduline Tit showed very well at the Roman bridge of Córdoba.

Alaudidae (Larks)

GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK (Calandrella brachydactyla)

Seen in the dry marshland of Doñana, and in the pseudo-steppe of Extremadura.

CALANDRA LARK (Melanocorypha calandra)

Very abundant on the open and arid plains of Trujillo and Cáceres. The Calandra Lark is a master in mimicking other birds, during their endless song flights.


We observed 3 individuals at the dry marshland of Doñana.

WOOD LARK (Lullula arborea)

Good views in Monfragüe NP.

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis)

High up in the alpine meadows of the Gredos mountains.

THEKLA'S LARK (Galerida theklae)

We spend some time to distinguish Thekla´s Lark from Crested Lark, which is not always easy.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Thekla's Lark (Photo by Russ Cole).

CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata)

Crested birds are always nice to see.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)


Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)


3 individuals at the Dehesa de Abajo.

MELODIOUS WARBLER (Hippolais polyglotta)

2 individuals at the Palacio del Acebrón, Doñana NP. OK, I agree, it's not the most spectacular bird to see, but the song is lovely.

COMMON REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

Stays often hidden in the reed while singing. Anyway, the song is more distinct than its plumage.

GREAT REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

Climbs up in the reed, showing very well, while singing.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

SAVI'S WARBLER (Locustella luscinioides)

This plain brown warbler climbs up in the reed when "singing", allowing us to find the bird.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)

Small, brown member of the Hirundinidae family.

EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)

We enjoyed the best views of this species during our cultural visit in Trujillo, where we saw adults feeding the recently fledged chicks. Also flying around the Parador de Gredos hotel.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Very common and widespread.

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica)

Beautiful to observe them when perched with their golden orange neck and rump.

COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum)

Impressive to see the huge colonies at dams and bridges in Extremadura. It reminded of a bee hive!

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)

WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus bonelli)

Present as a breeding bird around the Parador de Gredos hotel.

IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus ibericus)

We finally found this endemic species at the marshy woodland next to the Palacio del Acebrón, Doñana.

Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)

CETTI'S WARBLER (Cettia cetti)

Heard more often than seen.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

LONG-TAILED TIT (Aegithalos caudatus)

Despite of the common name it's not a member of the Paridae family. Good views in Sierra de Andújar and in Monfragüe NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
I bought them all, just for the labels ;-) (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

EURASIAN BLACKCAP (Sylvia atricapilla)

We also saw the females, that instead of a black cap present a rufous-brown cap.


Lovely view at the pre-breakfast walk from our hotel in Monfragüe NP.

SARDINIAN WARBLER (Curruca melanocephala)

Common and widespread, but difficult to achieve a proper view. Eventually we managed to see details like the red eye-ring.


With white beard stripes and rusty breast. Recorded in Monfragüe NP.

GREATER WHITETHROAT (Curruca communis)

Common and very vocal during our visit to the Sierra de Gredos.

DARTFORD WARBLER (Curruca undata)

In Monfragüe and Gredos.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

GOLDCREST (Regulus regulus)

Showed very well during our picnic in the pine woodland along the Tormes river.

COMMON FIRECREST (Regulus ignicapilla)

Same place, same time as the Goldcrest. Nice to see them at the same time in order to compare the two species. The Firecrest is clearly more colorful and distinctive.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

EURASIAN NUTHATCH (Sitta europaea)

Seen at a nest hole in Sierra de Andújar.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER (Certhia brachydactyla)

Seen and heard in several occasions.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

EURASIAN WREN (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Surprisingly loud song for such a tiny little bird.

Cinclidae (Dippers)


We found 2 stunning White-throated Dippers that showed very well.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

SPOTLESS STARLING (Sturnus unicolor)

Common, widespread and vocal almost all the time.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

MISTLE THRUSH (Turdus viscivorus)

Good views of this bigger thrush in Sierra de Andújar.


Singing in the dead of night...

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata)

Grayish and low profile, non distinct song, but a nice bird to see anyway :-)

EUROPEAN ROBIN (Erithacus rubecula)

Best views of the Christmas greeting bird In the Retiro Park in Madrid.

COMMON NIGHTINGALE (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Best singer of the trip!


The black and white males were singing in their breeding territories in Gredos pine woodlands.

BLACK REDSTART (Phoenicurus ochruros)

The Black Redstart was also booked in the Parador of Gredos.

RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis)

We struggled to find this colorful thrush, but eventually we did, in the Gredos mountains.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola solitarius)

Awesome views at the viewpoint of Peña Falcón in Monfragüe NP.

WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra)

2 beautiful Whinchats in Doñana NP.

EUROPEAN STONECHAT (Saxicola rubicola rubicola)

"Always nice to see"-bird.

Field Guides Birding Tours
European Stonechat (Photo by Russ Cole).

NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Splendid observations high in the Gredos mountains.


We found 1 male, a bit far away, in Monfragüe NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Northern Wheatear (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

BLACK WHEATEAR (Oenanthe leucura)

We managed to find this rare wheatear on a rocky outcrop with a medieval castle on top.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

BLACK-HEADED WEAVER (Ploceus melanocephalus) [I]

This African species has settled recently in Doñana area.

Prunellidae (Accentors)

DUNNOCK (Prunella modularis)

The Iberian race of the Dunnock might be accepted as a distinct species in the near future.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Every day bird.

SPANISH SPARROW (Passer hispaniolensis)

More contrasting, colorful and noisy than the House Sparrow.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Spanish Sparrow (Photo by Russ Cole).


Healthy population at the Veguillas lake near Alcázar de San Juan.

ROCK SPARROW (Petronia petronia)

Seen at the Jándula dam in the Sierra de Andújar.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)

Good views along the streaming rivers of the Sierra de Gredos.

WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (IBERIAE) (Motacilla flava iberiae)

We saw the Iberian race, with the white throat and blueish gray head with supercilium.

WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba)

Seen at several birding sites along the route.

WATER PIPIT (Anthus spinoletta)

In breeding plumage in the Gredos mountains.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

COMMON CHAFFINCH (Fringilla coelebs)

Common, widespread and vocal.

HAWFINCH (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Chunky finch that often stays high in the trees, hidden between the leaves. We were lucky to see them on 4 occasions.


Common bird, also in urban areas.

EURASIAN LINNET (Linaria cannabina)

Good views in Daimiel NP.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

We only had a very brief view next to our hotel in Gredos.

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis)

It was special treat to see this cute bird every day and often at close range.

EUROPEAN SERIN (Serinus serinus)

Another common finch that was singing almost everywhere.

Field Guides Birding Tours
European Serin (Photo by Russ Cole).
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

CORN BUNTING (Emberiza calandra)

Abundant at the pseudo-steppe of Extremadura.

ROCK BUNTING (Emberiza cia)

This delightful bird showed very confident high up in the Gredos mountains.

CIRL BUNTING (Emberiza cirlus)

We all enjoyed a good look at this attractive bunting at the Peña de Falcón viewpoint in Monfragüe NP.

ORTOLAN BUNTING (Emberiza hortulana)

Yet another lovely and colorful bunting. The Ortolan Bunting showed well in the Sierra de Gredos where he is common.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our itinerary and birding stops in central and southern Spain (eBird triplist).


OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Good food for eagles and other raptors.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Old World Rabbit (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes)

In Spain the Red Fox is more gray colored than red.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Red Fox (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)

We spotted Wild Boar in Sierra de Andújar and in Coto Doñana.

FALLOW DEER (Dama dama)

In Sierra de Andújar.

RED DEER (Cervus elaphus)

The Red Deer is a native deer species. We saw them at several places.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Red Deer (Photo by guide Godfried Schreur).

SPANISH IBEX (Capra pyrenaica)

The older males with the huge horns are impressive.


I want to thank you all for this fantastic birding trip, your patience, good vibes, conversations and interest. I also want to thank Ruth Kuhl and our ground agent for getting the logistics lined up and just right. It worked all perfectly well! I also want to thank Javi, Mª José and other local guides for their excellent master classes and explanations, and Lorenzo for the safe driving. I did my best to show you the best places and birds, and make the trip as enjoyable as possible. I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly and I hope to see you again in the near future on a new birding adventure with Field Guides.

Godfried Schreur "Godwit"

Totals for the tour: 197 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa