Portugal | Birds & Nature Tours Portugal | Birds & Conservation in Southern Portugal

Portugal offers a fantastic diversity of habitats and consequently of birds in a relatively small area, so the birding programmes designed by Birds & Nature Tours Portugal enable you to visit several species rich areas without needing to travel long distances.

In practical terms, you will find within half an hour’s drive from Lisbon city centre and its International Airport the Tagus Estuary and the Sado Estuary Nature Reserves. These two remarkable protected wetland areas have extensive bird lists that include Greater Flamingo, White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern, Squacco and Purple Herons, Booted Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Purple Swamphen, Collared Pratincole, Little Owl, Pallid Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Sardinian, Savi’s and Melodious Warblers, Iberian Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, Iberian Magpie, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow, European Serin, Cirl Bunting and an excellent selection of ducks, waders, gulls and terns.

A further one hour’s drive takes you to complementary biotopes and consequently new bird species in the Alentejo. Here, you will visit both the rolling plains of Castro Verde (the home of Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Red Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, European Roller, Calandra Lark, Tawny Pipit, Rufous Bush Robin, etc…) and the bluffs and hills of the Guadiana Valley Nature Park, noted for species like Black Stork, Iberian Imperial, Golden and
Bonelli’s Eagles, Eurasian Black and Griffon Vultures, Eurasian Eagle Owl, White-rumped Swift, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Eurasian Crag Martin, Redrumped Swallow, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Golden Oriole, Spanish Sparrow, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting.

This special five days programme includes one morning in which participants help to monitor colonies of Collared Pratincoles in the Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve and another morning contributing to the ringing of Lesser Kestrels and Montagu’s Harriers in the Guadiana Valley Nature Park. These activities offer a unique opportunity to add to our knowledge of threatened species at a European level and give the participant a chance in a lifetime to observe endangered species at ultra close range.

Even more important, by taking part, participants are contributing directly to the conservation of these three species, since a significant part of the tour price reverts directly to the two protected areas, helping to purchase rings, radio devices and monitoring equipment for use on these birds.

Top Five Birds

  1. Collared Pratincole
  2. Lesser Kestrel
  3. Montagu’s Harrier
  4. Iberian Imperial Eagle
  5. Black Cinereous Vulture


At Terra Incognita we support tours that do good in the world. They must help to conserve the environment, support local people, and educate their guests. Here’s what João Jara from Birds & Nature Tours Portugal said to us…

What conservation activities do you support through the tour, and your wider operations?

Birds & Nature has, as part of its mission, a commitment to contribute to nature and biodiversity conservation; this objective is conveyed in every activity we organise.

A good example is our Project of Conservation, now in the 9th year. You can check all the details about this project in the following link: http://www.birds.pt/20/Conservation-Projects

Besides counting the birds, our objective for next year is to rent salt pans in order to manage these pans the best way possible for waders. This is especially important considering that due to several reasons the salt pans habitat in this estuary are being destroyed.

We hope to launch in 2019 the project “Birds of Mértola”, with a special emphasis on the conservation of Lesser Kestrel. I’m going to send you a power-point presentation about through WeTransfer. The presentation is still on progress, but I think you can have an idea about what we want to do.

This project was our idea and we approached both the Mértola Municipality and the Guadiana Valley Natural Park to be our partners. They both accepted. Please click the following link to read about our conservation activities -> Birds of Mértola – Conservation Activities. 

How does the tour support local people?

We work with several tourism entities and train the local guides. All this training skills are in line with certain rules (basically birds are first!). A good example is the fact we do not use playback to attract the birds. We believe it is our responsibility to have a special ethics in the field.

What type of environmental education activities do you incorporate into your tour?

We use each tour as an opportunity to discuss conservation and ecology with the guests. 


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Tour Operator | Birds & Nature Tours Portugal
Contact Name | João Jara
Contact Email | joao.jara@birds.pt
Website | http://www.birds.pt/
Tour | http://www.birds.pt/files/Short-break%20Birds%20&%20Conservation%20Programme%20Group%202018-19.pdf

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