Bird watching in Malaga
It is not a coincidence that you are planning bird watching in Malaga or the Costa del Sol. In fact, you may already know that the province of Malaga is the one out the eight provinces that make up Andalucia that holds the richest variety of landscapes, and therefore, a strategic area for visiting naturalists. Within Malaga you can find wetlands, marshes, shores, scrublands, mediterranean forests, badlands and terrific limestone mountains.
Not to mention Malaga's strategic location to witness the massive bird migration from/to Africa.
All these facts make up a perfect home to a bunch of different species of birds and a paradise for those bird watching in Malaga. Just an example, the province of Málaga is the province that homes the biggest concentration of Bonelli's eagles in the world! Those who love plants will have the joy to find a rich Orchid community and also visit the last endemic pinsapo forests -Spanish Fir-.
At just 1 and 1.5 h drive from the international Malaga airport you will be delighted by the charming towns of Ronda and Antequera. These two hold the most outstanding cultural heritage within Malaga. The Pueblos Blancos -Spanish for White Villages- are also worth a visit.
With an average temperature of 66 ºF /19 ºC in the nearby Costa del Sol, the weather is generally pleasant and sunny. Moreover, the local gastronomy is very delicious and varied. The roads are generally good and although hiring a birding guide is highly recommended, those planning to go birding on a budget can access most of the birding hotspots (read below).
Don't hesitate, grab your binoculars (and sun screen) and visit Malaga!
Birding hotspots in Malaga and the Costa del Sol
Here's our selection of the best birding sites in Malaga. Click on each birding hotspot on the map to find the key birds there in addition to some practical information:
Top sites for bird watching in Malaga
The Torcal de Antequera
The Torcal is the most impressive karst formation in Europe. A not to be missed birding hotspot for Blue rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Bunting and Rock Sparrow. It's been Álvaro's local patch and he'll share with you the wonders of this rocky labyrinth! More info for birding at El Torcal.
Fuente de Piedra lagoon
Fuente de Piedra is the biggest salty lagoon in Andalucia and the 2nd biggest flamingo colony in Europe. More info about birding at the laguna Fuente de Piedra.
Ronda, Grazalema and Sierra de las Nieves
These birding hotspots are very close to each other and are the perfect home to some 100 birds and a paradise for raptors.
Bonelli's , Short-toed and Booted eagle are common bird sights in the serrania de Ronda. These mountains are also a great choice during the migratory periods. The scenery is just the very best of Andalucia!
Guadalhorce river mouth
It's the closest birding hotspot to the city of Malaga and a paradise for waders. The White-headed Duck is a sure bet, while Audouin's Gull and Booted Eagle will delight you if you are lucky. This place is very accesible but one may avoid it in summer because of the mosquitoes.
El Chorro gorge
The surroundings of the renown caminito del rey path are home to Bonelli's Eagle, Peregrine Falcons and a colony of Griffon Vultures. The scenery there will just take your breath away!
Top 30 birds in Malaga
Around 250 species of birds live in or pass by Southern Andalucia. Birding in Souther Spain is apopular also because lots of the wild birds of Andalucia can't be found in the UK or the Nordic Countries. Our favourite birds:
|Alpine Swift||Chough||Rock Sparrow|
|Audouin's gull||Crane||Rufous-tailed scrub robin|
|Azure-winged Magpie||Egyptian Vulture||Sardinian Warbler|
|Black Kite||Flamingo||Short-toed Eagle|
|Black Wheatear||Griffon Vulture||Shoveler|
|Black-eared Wheatear||Iberian Chiffchaff||Slender-billed gull|
|Blue rock Thrush||Kentish Plover||Spanish Sparrow|
|Bonelli's Eagle||Little Bustard||Subalpine Warbler|
|Booted Eagle||Red-necked Nightjar||Thekla Lark|
|Calandra Lark||Rock Bunting||White-headed duck|
If you've come this far, we have a present for you: our printable full checklist of the birds of Andalucia