The Strait of Gibraltar is a strategic bottleneck crossing for millions of migratory birds every year. In the Tarifa area, we also find spots of international importance for birds such as La Janda lagoon, Los Alcornocales Natural Park and Barbate Marshes that make birding here a rewarding experience year round. In autumn, raptors and all glading birds gather in big flocks and wait for a favourable wind to go across the Strait. In spring, however, they will be arriving from Africa, willing to rest in the surrounding holm and cork oak forests. We are proud to be able to take you to witness one of the most important migratory bird movements in Europe. The peak migration in Tarifa is post-breeding and takes place in September. However, the Strait provides for great bird watching opportunities year round.
This is a wonderful day-trip, but if you seek a more extensive birding tour in the Strait of Gibraltar, we recommend watching our Tarifa Bird Migration Tour.
Birding in the Strait of Gibraltar - Tarifa area
Time of the year: this are provides fantastic birding opportinities year round (wind permitting!) and so we do trips here throughout the year.
Best time for autumn migration: a trip to see the postbreeding bird migration is highly recommended. From late August till early October.
Best time for spring migration: although the number of birds are not as impressive as in the postbreeding passage, we can get amazing and closer views of raptors during March.
Meeting points: Possible pick-up locations in Ronda, San Pedro de Alcántara, Estepona and Tarifa.
Timing: From & to Ronda the trip takes 12h. From Tarifa the trip takes 8h. Trips can be shorter on request. Starting time is flexible and will be agreed by email.
Where we go birding in Tarifa
Our common sites to choose among within the Strait are:
- Watchpoints: Cazalla observatory, Punta Carnero, Mirador del Estrecho, El Bujeo, El Algarrobo, Valle del Santuario
- Sierra de la Plata
- Los Lances beach
- Barbate marshes and coastline
- La Janda lagoon
- Punta Camarinal
- Tarifa town
- Offshore, boat-trip (only under request)
Thorough information on bird observatories and migratory movements can be found at our Tarifa bird migration guide.
Note: the wind, weather conditions, time of the year and target species will condition the spots to visit.
WHAT IT IS INCLUDED
- Transportation (for free)
- Local Bird guide fluent in English
- Use of binoculars and scope
- Birdguides in English
- Bird checklist
- Accident insurance
- All taxes
WHAT IT IS EXCLUDED
- Meals and drinks
- If you prefer direct pick up and drop-off outside the Tarifa or Ronda radius of 20 km, a supplement fee will be applied
- 1 person: 200 €
- 2 people: 100 € p.p
- 3 people: 80 € p.p.
- 4 people: 70 € p.p.
- 5 people: 60 € p.p.
- 6 people: 50 € p.p.
- 7 people: 45 € p.p.
Top Birds to see in the Strait of Gibraltar
Residents: Black-winged Kite, Blue Rock Thrush, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Griffon Vulture, Hoopoe, Kestrel, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Little Egret, Peregrine falcon, Purple Swamphen, Sardinian Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Serin, Common Bulbul, Corn Bunting, Little Owl.
Winter birds: Black Stork, Crane, Marsh Harrier, Spoonbill.
Summer birds: Montagu’s harrier, Bee-eater, Little Tern, Collared Pratincole, Bald Ibis, Short-toed Lark, Black-eared Wheatear, Roller, Woodchat Shrike.
On passage: Booted eagle, Black Kite, White Stork, Common Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Rüpell’s Vulture, Short-toed eagle, Sparrowhawk.
Other birding sites in Cadiz province
Theses other great birdwatching sites are reachable for a day-trip if you are based in the Tarifa/Strait area. After one or two full days birding in the Strait, some birders consider these other spots as a tour extension to get tricky targets.
Laguna de Medina
We love to stop over this large lake where there is a nice walk and even a bird hide. Some highlights are Olivaceous and Savi's warblers, several species of egrest, and with luck, Marbled and White-headed ducks. Large number of coots, flamingos, grebes and hirundines.
Bonanza - Sanlúcar - Doñana
This area in the northern side of Cádiz province provides itself for a full day trip checking different spots as we move along. Each stop has a nice target to seek, including Little Swift, Azure-winged Magpie, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, White-headed Duck, besides several waders, larks and terns.
Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
The place to choose if you want to get a nice set of raptors and mountain birds. Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Eagle Owl, Bonelli's Eagle and Rock Bunting are among the most sought-after birds in the area. More info.
Los Alcornocales Natural Park
Withing the Strait area this big and still unknown natural park offers nice walks along its bosky valleys, providing a nice variety of passerines, besides interesting plantlife and insects.