Places for Bird Watching in Málaga in Winter
There are more than 300 species that can be seen here, something that attracts more and more tourists
This province has a great ornithological importance due to its strategic location between Andalusia and the Mediterranean Sea and the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. This privileged position attracts plenty of tourists, especially foreigners and, above all, visitors from the UK.
This is why the County Council of Málaga has decided to gather all the information related to birds and bird watching on the website Birding Málaga and in numerous publications, such as 'Birds along the Great Málaga Path', 'Bird Watching Guide' or the 'Birding Map of the Province of Málaga'.
Bird watching is an ecological leisure activity, which can be rather fascinating. It is given an advantage because it can be performed everywhere throughout the year.
Professional ornithologists have some tricks which make bird watching easier. Even though one needs a lot of time to learn how it is done, it is true that there are some features that are crucial for identifying birds and which are to be followed by both, professionals and amateurs.
If you do not know which bird you are observing, firstly you need to look at the particular details of its body:
1 Shape and size: Is their head round and big like in little owl or small like in a turtledove? What is their wingspan while flying?
2 Colour and marks: There is to know a bird’s appearance in order to recognise patterns of colours and important marks for their identification.
3 Beak and legs: These are crucial for recognising the species. Beak can also tell us a lot about its feeding habits.
Feather: Their features depend on the season, breeding and mating period. Their colour patterns and shape also help us to identify a species.
Basic Rules for Birdwatching
Having mastered that the most important thing in birdwatching is species protection and conservation, as well as the enjoyment that birdwatchers get out of it, there is to choose and plan well the route which is to be followed in order to get to the surroundings where the particular species can be found. The more you plan, the better your experience!
Every birdwatcher should have binoculars, and/or telescope as these allow you to watch birds form distance and avoid interfering in their natural behaviour. You will also need a birds guide in order to check the information regarding the species you are observing as well as their traits when you want to identify them (it is said that the guide is a bible for birdwatchers).
The best moment in birdwatching is when birds move their beak first thing in the morning and late in the evening.
Birds singing helps find and identify them in vegetation. It is a good idea to have a guide which can help you distinguish singing among different species. You can download it on your mobile phone as well as the Birds Guide of the Spanish Society for Ornithology. Also, follow your senses!
You should always have a notebook with you so you can draw and write down how you recognised a species and create your own guide. So, get your pencil and let's start!
Remember that paths go through public and private properties. Therefore, it is important to respect the surroundings where you walk and look after them. Nature is our home, we need to take care of it!
• El Chorro (Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes Natural Beauty Spot), Guadalhorce-Guadalteba Valley: Have you ever seen a giant bird whose wingspan is two metres and a half that carries nest material? Wonderful Griffon vultures that live here are born in January, so you can be very close to them if you visit the Gaitanes Gorge Natural Sight (El Chorro).
• Altos de Hondonero, Sierra Norte (Northern Málaga Mountains) or Nororma: The tallest limestone mountain tops in the province of Málaga have a rather numerous colonies of golden eagles, whose breathtaking free-fall, soaring and courtship flight one can see in January above Altos de Hondonero in Villanueva de Rosario, in the northeast area of Málaga.
• Padrastro Mountains, Guadalteba: You should come in January to admire wonderful views from the vantage point in the Sierra del Padrasreo in Cañete La Real, in the area of Guadalteba, which is surrounded by irises and vultures.
Birds that can be seen in January: Griffon Vulture. These stunning birds of prey mate early so we can enjoy their wonderful courtship flights in pairs during cold winter days in January when the sky is clear.
• Campillos Lakes, Guadalteba: More than 2000 cranes will be waiting for you in February around the Campillos Lakes Nature Reserve, a small paradise for water and steppe-land birds in the centre of the area of Guadalteba.
• Santi Petri: Almond trees covered in beautiful white flowers in February make a perfect background for Bonelli’s eagle, Thekla’s lark and Eurasian siskin’s performance in the surroundings of Almología to the east of the area of the Guadalhorce Valley.
• Fraile, Doña Ana and Gómer Cliffs, Axarquía: You can admire these limestone cliffs, which are one of the most impressive precipices in La Axarquía and home to some of the most interesting mountain birds of prey: the Golden eagle, Bonelli’s eagle and Peregrine falcon.
Birds that can be seen in February: Bonelli's Eagle. If we compare it to the rest of the Mediterranean, there is the highest density of these birds of prey in the Province of Málaga. February is perfect time for watching the acrobatics of the Bonneli’s eagle and their courtship in the air.
• The Mouth of the Guadalhorce Natural Beauty Spot: Enjoy the kingdom of white-headed ducks and migratory species at this place which is only ten minutes away from the City of Málaga.
• Fuente de Piedra Lagoon Nature Reserve: Up to 40,000 flamingoes colour pink this lake in March, creating one of the most beautiful sceneries in the province.
• One Hundred Spouts Natural Monument: One Hundred Spouts Fountain. Enjoy forthcoming spring in this breathtaking natural sight.
Birds that can be seen in March: White-headed duck: This is a diving duck that changes its feather for mating in this period and the males’ beak gets some striking blue shades. White-headed ducks live in salty lakes with lot of plants, so the Mouth of the Guadalhorce, Fuente de Piedra Lagoon and Campillos lakes are rather good places in Málaga for watching this species in particular.