Autumn raptor migration and visit to The Kingdom of the Iberian Lynx

Iberian Lynx in Andujar - Andalucía - Spain © Audouin Birding Tours

Strait Of Gibraltar and Sierra de Andujar, Andalucia

6 – 13 September 2021 NOW BOOKING!

Experience the impressive autumn migration through southern Spain, and enjoy the unique wildlife of the Sierra de Andújar. During the first part of the trip we will focus on the raptor migration across the Strait of Gibraltar, whereas we will spend the second half enjoying the birds and mammals of the mountains in Sierra de Andújar

Iberian Lynx smelling (Lynx pardinus) © Audouin Birding Tours
Azure-winged Magpie or Iberian magpie (Cyanopica cooki)

The Strait of Gibraltar is one of the busiest migration points in Western Europe during the autumn, and millions of birds gather every year in the southern part of Spain to rest and forage before continuing their journey southwards to their African wintering grounds. The raptors constitute one of the most remarkable groups on the move during this period, and almost all the Spanish raptors can be encountered, along with several other specialities of the area. One of the Days we will go to the eastern part of Doñana National Park

Booted Eagle
Montagu's Harrier
Short-toed (Snake) Eagle

Sierra de Andujar is a wonderful and relatively untouched mountain chain with large expanses of oak forests and an impressive density of large mammals. Fallow Deer, Red Deer, Spanish Ibex, Moufflon, Wild Boar, Otter, and even the rare and endangered Iberian Lynx, can all be seen here; most of them easily and at close range. Apart from the mammals, the area boasts a good population of both Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle, and we also have good chances of seeing the White-rumped Swift here.

Day 1
We meet up at Malaga airport & transfer to the hotel, where we will be spending the following four nights. If arrival times allows, we will birdwatch in  afternoon in the area. The programme will be outlined at an introductory talk in the evening. Dinner in the nearby restaurant or at the hotel.

Day 2
Morning watch at one of the raptor watch points (depending on the wind) near Tarifa. We will bring our picnic lunches to the old fortified village of Castellar el Viejo, where we have a rare opportunity of watching the migrating raptors from above if the wind is right. There are several good spots for stopping on the way, and we will spend the day checking the different raptors and our identification skills. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 3
We head for Bolonia and spend the morning birdwatching in the area, which is good for scarcities such as Rueppell’s Vulture, and also for stunning local birds such as the Blue Rock Thrush and Iberian Green Woodpecker. After lunch, we visit La Janda; a huge ‘agricultural wetland’ with rice fields and canals hosting thousands of migrating birds, and usually also Black and White Storks, Cattle and Little Egrets. Lesser Kestrel and Black-shouldered kites gather here before the last jump into Africa. Finches, Corn Buntings and Spanish Sparrows gather here for the moulting and concentrations can be enormous. La Janda and near by areas are where the reintroduced Bald Ibis can be seen.
Day 4
Morning watch at one of the raptor watch points (depending on the wind). We try to catch up on some of the species that we might have missed so far, and we take some time to explore the birdlife in the forests. If the weather is nice, we may also take the opportunity to relax and enjoy a drink by the information centre with excellent views across the Strait of Gibraltar and the mountains of Morocco.
Day 5
Transfer day. We leave the Strait of Gibraltar and head north towards the mountains of Sierra de Andujar. En route we visit several lagoons with good chances of seeing White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, and perhaps even Red-knobbed Coot. We will also do a brief stop at Fuente de Piedra, although this lagoon is almost completely dry at this time of year, to see the Flamingos. In Andujar we will check in our accommodation, where we will be staying for three nights. Dinner at nearby restaurant.
Day 6
Morning watch for the Iberian Lynx and other mammals. Birds of the area include Azure-winged Magpie, Spanish Imperial Eagle, and Black Vulture, all of which can be seen from the view point. In the afternoon, an excursion into the deeper parts of the mountains in search of raptors, mammals, and beautiful scenery. All the Spanish eagles can be seen in the area, along with Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, and lots more.
Day 7
The morning will be spent at a reservoir with resident Black Wheatear, plenty of opportunity for small walks to enjoy the area. We will search for any species that we may have missed so far. Iberian Green Woodpeckers, Crested Tits, Firecrests, Hawfinches, Iberian Long Tail Tit, Sardinean warbler are some of the birds we may see.

The Dehesa forests are grazed by the traditional, black Spanish bulls.

Evening watch for the Iberian Lynx, Mouflon, Spanish Ibex, Otter, Wild boar, Fallow Dear with great possibilities for hearing the rutting Red Deer. Farewell dinner
Day 8
Transfer to Malaga airport (2,5 hours).


Words alone cannot begin to describe the incredible week in Andalucia. The accommodation was of good quality and in fabulous locations. Your knowledge of the area and the birds, including your incredible ability to spot and identify so many birds whilst driving as well. From start to finish, everything was first class. As for the birds, well, the vast quantities of raptors passing overhead, excellent views of Bee-eaters, Little Swift, Bald Ibis, Squacco Heron, Black Stork, Spanish Imperial Eagle, and of course can't forget the now no longer ever elusive Hoopoe, just a few of the 43 lifers seen during the week. The only disappointment is that it had to end, but hopefully I'll be back again sometime. I cannot thank you enough and highly recommend your tours to everyone considering booking, they will exceed all expectations. Thank you again.
Annette Phillips
Raptor migration Andalucia - September 2008
Dear Cristian, Thank you so much for a wonderful birding holiday in Zahara.I am so impressed with all your knowledge of birds and your professionalism and patience with non-experts like myself. I hope you had a good journey home and that your business continues to go well. With many thanks and best wishes,Sarah
Sarah Wilkins
Raptor migration Andalucia - September 2009
Hi Cristian and Iben There is a saying; "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away". You certainly provided many of those in Andalusia. I particularly recall watching a Goshawk repeatedly stooping at a Griffon, and Spanish Imperial Eagle stooping at Black Vulture. You came up trumps finding 6 Spanish Imps. and a Golden Eagle (both species in binoculars at the same time together with Black Vulture). The Thekla Lark, Southern Grey Shrike and Firecrest were the best views I have ever had, while the huge flocks of Black Kites and Black Storks darkening the sky were mind boggling. Thanks again for a wonderful week, I can hardly wait for the Pyrenees.
Colin Freeman
Raptor migration Andalucia - September 2008
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