Portugal trip, 14th April to 1st May 2006
Part VI: Passerines
Note: All dates refer to April 2006 except where specified.
Species in pink are likely to be of most interest to British birders
CALANDRA LARK Melanocorypha calandra (Calhandra-comum)
A total of 10 seen in two locations: east of Mourão (in Spain) 2 on 21st and 3 on 22nd and between Mértola and Castro Verde 3 on 24th and 2 on 25th.
Calandra Lark, between Mértola and Castro Verde, 25th April
SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella brachydactyla (Calhandrinha-comum)
At least 10 at Ponta da Erva on 19th and 20th. Elsewhere 1 east of Mourão (Spain) on 22nd and 1 east of Mértola on 25th.
Short-toed Larks, Ponta da Erva, 20th April
LESSER SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella rufescens (calhandrinha das marismas)
Up to 10 at Castro Marim on 27th, 30th and 1st May.
Lesser Short-toed Larks, Castro Marim, 30th April
Lesser Short-toed Larks, Castro Marim, 1st May
CRESTED LARK Galerida cristata (Cotovia-de-poupa)
The commonest and most widespread lark with best counts of 25 between Mértola and Castro Verde on 24th and 25th.
Crested Lark, east of Mourão, 21st April
Crested Lark, Elvas, 24th April
Crested Lark, between Mértola and Castro Verde, 24th April
Crested Lark, between Mértola and Castro Verde, 25th April (lower bird showed some features of Thekla, but was probably Crested?)
Crested Lark, Castro Marim, 1st May
THEKLA LARK Galerida theklae (Cotovia-montesina)
First identified in the hills north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 15th. A difficult bird to identify though habitat seemed to provide a good clue with this species more likely to be encountered in shrubby hilly areas. At least 15 were identified east of Mértola on 25th and birds to the west of Mértola included both species on 25th and 26th. Others were suspected but not positively identified at Azinhal.
Thekla Lark, east of Mértola, 25th April
juvenile Thekla Lark, west of Mértola, 26th April
WOODLARK Lullula arborea (Cotovia-pequena)
A total of 7 seen at 5 inland locations.
Woodlark, north of Bispo, 16th April
Woodlark, Cortelha, 16th April
Woodlark, west of Mértola, 26th April
SKYLARK Alauda arvensis (Laverca)
Up to 20 seen at Ponta da Erva on 19th and 20th.
Skylark, Ponta da Erva, 19th April
Skylark, Ponta da Erva, 20th April
SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia (Andorinha-das-barreiras)
Up to 6 seen at the following sites: Tomar, Marinhas do Samouco, Barroca d’Alva and Elvas.
CRAG MARTIN Ptyonoprogne rupestris (Androinha-das-rochas)
Pairs seen at each of the monasteries at Tomar, Batalha and Alcobaça on 18th, with 6 birds at the latter site. Elsewhere in the vicinity of Mértola 6 on 25th and 3 on 26th. Finally 1 at Carrapateira on 28th.
Crag Martin, Tomar, 18th April
Crag Martin, west of Mértola, 26th April
SWALLOW Hirundo rustica (Andorinha-das-chaminés)
Very common everywhere.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Cecropis daurica (Andorinha-dáurica)
Commoner than expected with a total of 22 seen at a variety of locations. More in the Alentejo than anywhere else, including 5 west of Mértola on 26th.
Red-rumped Swallows, west of Mértola, 26th April
HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbica (Andorinho-dos-beirais)
House Martin, Elvas, 23rd April
BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL Motacilla flava flava (Alvéola-amarela)
One male at Castro Marim on 27th was presumably a migrant.
Blue-headed Wagtail, Castro Marim, 27th April
SPANISH WAGTAIL Motacilla flava iberiae (Alvéola-amarela)
Fairly common in the Algarve and around the Tejo Estuary, particularly at Ponta da Erva where about 40 on 19th.
Spanish Wagtail, Quinto do Lago, 15th April
Spanish Wagtail, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
Spanish Wagtail, Ponta da Erva, 19th April
Spanish Wagtail, Ponta da Erva, 20th April
Spanish Wagtail, Castro Marim, 27th April
Spanish Wagtail, Castro Marim, 1st May
GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea (Alvéola-cinzenta)
One at Tanoeiro on 28th.
WHITE WAGTAIL Motacilla alba alba (Alvéola-branca)
On 18th, 1 at Tomar, 2 feeding young at Batalha and 4 at Lagne de Óbidos.
WREN Troglodytes troglodytes (Carriça)
Singles seen or heard at 4 locations: Santa Catarina, Lisbon, Tomar and Tareja.
ROBIN Erithacus rubecula (Pisco-de-peito-ruivo)
Seen or heard at 3 locations between Tomar and Óbidos on 18th and then 1 heard at Sintra on 20th.
NIGHTINGALE Luscinia megarhynchos (Rouxinol-comum)
Common and widespread with birds heard singing at several locations. One was singing right out on the open at Elvas on 23rd with 2 more singing in full view nearby on 24th.
Nightingale, Elvas, 23rd April
BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros (Rabirruivo-preto)
Eight seen at 5 locations, all on 18th: 1 at Lisbon, 3 males at Tomar, 1 between Tomar and Batalha, 2 at Batalha and 1 at Óbidos.
REDSTART Phoenicurus phoenicurus (Rabirruivo-de-testa-branca)
A male along the N2 at Cortelha on 16th was the only sighting.
WHINCHAT Saxicola rubetra (Cartaxo-nortenho)
Only one observation, in Spain: 1 east of Mourão on 21st.
STONECHAT Saxicola torquata (Cartaxo-comum)
Common and widespread with perhaps as many as 60 at Ponta da Erva on 19th.
Stonechats, Pancas, 19th April
Stonechat, Castro Marim, 27th April
NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe (Chasco-cinzento)
One at Azinhal on 28th was the only sighting.
BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR Oenanthe hispanica (Chasco-ruivo)
A black-throated male and 2 females east of Mourão (Spain) on 22nd with 1 there next day. Between Mértola and Castro Verde 2 males on 24th and 2 males and a female on 25th including both black-throated and pale-throated forms. Finally 1 at Nora on 28th.
Black-eared Wheatear, between Mértola and Castro Verde, 25th April
BLUE ROCK THRUSH Monticola solitarius (Melro-azul)
A wrong turn in Alcoutim on 26th found us in a building site where a splendid male Blue Rock Thrush was singing from the top of a crane.
Blue Rock Thrush, Alcoutim, 26th April
BLACKBIRD Turdus merula (Melro-preto)
Common everywhere. Iberian birds were distinctly greyer than British-breeding birds and seemed slightly different structurally too.
Blackbird, Quinta do Lago, 15th April
MISTLE THRUSH Turdus viscivorus (Tordeia)
One on a lawn at Ludo Farm on 29th and 30th.
CETTI'S WARBLER Cettia cetti (Rouxinol-bravo)
Common in most areas, so long as there was water nearby. Birds perched out in the open not infrequently, though rarely for long.
Cetti's Warblers, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
FAN-TAILED WARBLER Cisticola juncidis (Fuinha-dos-juncos)
Very common with getting on for 150 recorded (many of them heard but not seen). Most numerous at Ponta da Erva where at least 30 on 19th.
Fan-tailed Warbler, Lagne de Óbidos, 18th April
Fan-tailed Warbler, Castro Marim, 27th April
REED WARBLER Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Rouxinol-pequeno-dos-caniços)
Small numbers (up to 3) recorded at Barroca d’Alva, Ponta da Erva, Elvas and Ludo Farm.
GREAT REED WARBLER Acrocephalus arundinaceus (Rouxinol-grande-dos-caniços)
Common. In the Algarve 1 at Quinta do Lago on 15th and up to 2 at Ludo Farm on 29th and 1st May. Around Lisbon, 3 at Barroca d’Alva on 19th and 21st and up to 12 at Ponta da Erva on 19th and 20th. In the east, up to 4 east of Mourão (Spain) on 21st and 23rd and up to 3 at Elvas on 23rd and 24th.
Great Reed Warbler, Ponta da Erva, 20th April
MELODIOUS WARBLER Hippolais polyglotta (Felosa-poliglota)
Two along the N2 at Cortelha on 16th, 4 at Elvas on 23rd with 1 there the next day and 1 west of Mértola on 26th.
Melodious Warbler, Elvas, 23rd April
DARTFORD WARBLER Sylvia undata (Felosa-do-mato)
One west of Mértola on 25th with 2 there on 26th. One at Azinhal on 28th and 29th. All were singing males.
Dartford Warbler, west of Mértola, 26th April
SUBALPINE WARBLER Sylvia cantillans (Toutinegra-carrasqueira)
Surprisingly only 1 was seen, a calling female outside the hotel at Mértola on 25th.
SARDINIAN WARBLER Sylvia melanocephala (Toutinegra-de-cabeça-preta)
Very common with 88 recorded (probably including a little duplication). Scarcer in the Alentejo than other regions.
Sardinian Warbler, ETAR Waterworks (Montenegro), 15th April
Sardinian Warbler, Castro Marim, 27th April
WHITETHROAT Sylvia communis (Papa-amoras-comum)
One in the hills north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 16th.
GARDEN WARBLER Sylvia borin (Felosa-das-figueiras)
One or two at Elvas on 24th.
BLACKCAP Sylvia atricapilla (Toutinegra-de-barrette-preto)
Up to 2 seen at 4 locations: Cortelha, Tomar, Elvas and Tareja.
Blackcap, Elvas, 24th April
IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus ibericus (Felosa-ibérica)
After much searching, 1 was finally found singing at Tareja (north of São Brás de Alportel). Eventually it was seen, though only briefly. An unidentified Phylloscopus warbler was seen briefly north of Santa Catarina on 16th.
FIRECREST Regulus ignicapilla (Estrelinha-de-cabeça-listada)
One sang briefly from a bungalow’s television aerial at Tomar on 18th and 1 was heard singing along the road between Batalha and Alcobaça the same day.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa striata (Papa-moscas-cinzento)
One at Elvas on 24th.
Spotted Flycatcher, Elvas, 24th April
IBERIAN LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus irbii (Chapim-rabilongo)
Seen or heard at 4 locations: west of Santa Catarina on 16th, south of Alcoutim on 26th, Azinhal on 28th and Tareja on 29th.
BLUE TIT Cyanistes caeruleus (Chapim-azul)
Not uncommon, small numbers seen at a variety of inland locations.
GREAT TIT Parus major (Chapim-real)
Small numbers seen at a variety of locations, often the same places as the previous species.
CRESTED TIT Lophophanes cristatus (Chapim-de-poupa)
Only seen in the central Algarve around Faro: 3 between Ludo and Quinta do Lago and 2 near Montenegro University on 15th, 4 at Ludo Farm on 29th and 2 there on 1st May, the last birds seen before returning to England.
COAL TIT Periparus ater (Chapim-preto)
One heard between Batalha and Alcobaça on 18th.
NUTHATCH Sitta europaea (Trepadeira-azul)
Two north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 16th and singles seen or heard along the N2 at Cortelha on 16th, Pancas on 19th and Tareja on 29th.
SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER Certhia brachydactyla (Trepadeira-comum)
Two north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 16th.
GOLDEN ORIOLE Oriolus oriolus (Papa-figos)
In the south, 9 of which 6 were seen: a male north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 16th, males at Azinhal and Tanoeiro and a pair at Castro Marim all on 28th and 3 at Azinhal and singles at São Brás de Alportel and Tareja, all on 29th. In the east, at least 3 around Mértola 25th-26th, but none of these were seen.
Golden Oriole, north of Bispo, 16th April
Golden Oriole, Azinhal, 29th April
SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE Lanius meridionalis (Picanço-real)
Common and conspicuous, particularly in the Alentejo, with a total of 67 seen. Best counts were 14 around Elvas on 23rd and 13 between Mértola and Castro Verde on 25th.
Southern Grey Shrike, west of Mértola, 24th April
WOODCHAT SHRIKE Lanius senator (Picanço-barreteiro)
Common and widespread with a total of 73 seen. A total of 20 seen on 23rd, between Mourão, Badajoz (Spain) and Elvas.
Woodchat Shrike, Quinta do Lago, 15th April
Woodchat Shrikes, north of Bispo, 15th April
Woodchat Shrike, Ria Formosa, 27th April
JAY Garrulus glandarius (Gaio-comum)
Fairly common with 14 seen at a variety of locations, mainly in the east and south.
IBERIAN AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE Cyanopica (cyana) cooki (Pega-azul)
Very common, noisy and conspicuous in the south and east though none seen in the Lisbon area. The total of 177 birds seen included 24 between Mértola and Castro Verde on 25th and 20 going to roost (in 2 flocks) at Ludo Farm on 29th.
Azure-winged Magpie, near Quinta do Lago, 15th April
Azure-winged Magpies, east of Mourão, 22nd April
MAGPIE Pica pica (Pega-rabuda)
Only seen in the Alentejo and at Castro Marim. Not particularly common.
JACKDAW Corvus monedula (Gralha-de-nuca-cinzenta)
A few at Évora on 22nd.
CARRION CROW Corvus corone (Gralha-preta)
Three at Lagne de Óbidos on 18th and 3 at Pancas on 19th were the only ones noted down, though I think I saw others which I didn’t make a note of.
RAVEN Corvus corax (Corvo)
Singles seen at 4 locations, all in the east, and 3 east of Mourão (Spain) on 23rd.
SPOTLESS STARLING Sturnus unicolor (Estorninho-preto)
Fairly common in most places, particularly in the Alentejo, the only region where counts exceeded 12 (up to 30). Over 200 seen in all.
Spotless Starlings, Ludo Farm, 29th April
CRESTED MYNA Acridotheres cristatellus (??)
Several at Carcavelos, along the coast west of Lisbon, on 20th. Birds were very mobile and rarely settled in view so obtaining a count was difficult. Between 5 and 10 birds were seen before I nearly got arrested photographing them – apparently the site was a NATO fort on red alert. Other than these, one seen in flight near the waterfront in central Lisbon on 21st.
Crested Myna, Carcavelos, 20th April
YELLOW-CROWNED BISHOP Euplectes afer (Bispo-de-coroa-amarela)
Four at Barroca d’Alva on 19th. A female Bishop at Ponta da Erva the same day may have been this species or was possibly an Orange Bishop Euplectes franciscanus.
Yellow-crowned Bishops, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
female Bishop sp., Ponta da Erva, 19th April
RED-HEADED QUELEA Quelea erythrops (Quelea-de-cabeca-vermelha)
Two at Barroca d’Alva on 19th.
Red-headed Quelea, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus (Pardal)
Very common in most areas – encouraging in view of their recent decline in the UK.
House Sparrow, Ponta da Erva, 19th April
SPANISH SPARROW Passer hispaniolensis (Pardal-espanhol)
One at Ponta da Erva on 20th. Up to 60 east of Mourão (Spain) on 22nd and 23rd and in the Alentejo, 2 at Mourão on 22nd, at least 30 between Mértola and Castro Verde on 25th and at least 30 south of Mértola on 26th. Some of these were nesting in Storks’ nests (as were House Sparrows).
Spanish Sparrows, east of Mourão, 23rd April
Spanish Sparrows, between Mértola and Castro Verde, 25th April
TREE SPARROW Passer montanus (Pardal-montez)
Five (4 and a 1) at Elvas on 23rd and 2 at Tareja on 29th.
ROCK SPARROW Petronia petronia (Pardal-francês)
Two east of Mourão (Spain) on 22nd and 23rd.
Rock Sparrow, east of Mourão, 25th April
BLACK-HEADED WEAVER Ploceus melanocephalus (??)
This naturalised species was seen at 2 locations in the Algarve and 1 near Lisbon: three near Ludo and a pair at Quinta do Lago on 15th and 6 at Barroca d’Alva on 19th and 21st.
Black-headed Weaver, near Quinta do Lago, 15th April
Black-headed Weaver, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
RED AVADAVAT Amandava amandava (Bengali-vermelho)
A flock of 6 near the River Guadiana at Elvas on 24th. None were red adult males.
Red Avadavat, Elvas, 24th April
COMMON WAXBILL Estrilda astrild (Bico-de-lacre)
Two at Barroca d’Alva on 16th with 3 there on 19th, 2 at Ponta da Erva on 20th and 3 near the River Guadiana at Elvas on 23rd.
Common Waxbill, Barroca d'Alva, 19th April
CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs (Tentilhão-comum)
One or two seen at 6 sites all in the south of the country.
SERIN Serinus serinus (Chamariz-comum)
Very common, the commonest finch. A total of 188 recorded although that probably included some duplication. Particularly common north of Lisbon where 55 seen between Tomar and Alcobaça on 18th.
Serin, ETAR Waterworks (Montenegro), 15th April
Serin, Elvas, 24th April
GREENFINCH Carduelis chloris (Verdilhão-comum)
Common in some areas.
GOLDFINCH Carduelis carduelis (Pintassilgo)
Very common in all areas, though usually less numerous than Serin.
Goldfinch, Ria Formosa, 27th April
LINNET Carduelis cannabina (Pintarroxo-comum)
About 10 at Ponta da Erva on 19th and fairly common in the Alentejo (and east of Mourão in Spain) with 10 at Elvas on 24th.
ROCK BUNTING Emberiza cia (Cia)
Two singing males: 1 north of Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo on 15th and 1 along the N2 at Cortelha on 16th.
Rock Bunting, north of Bispo, 15th April
REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus (Escrevedeira-dos-caniços)
One at Quinta do Lago on 15th.
CORN BUNTING Emberiza calandra (Trigueirão)
In the southern Algarve only seen in the far east around Castro Marim. Extremely common around Lisbon’s Tejo Estuary with about 60 at Ponta da Erva on 19th. In the Alentejo (and east of Mourão in Spain) this was one of the most, if not the most, abundant species of bird. Good to see such numbers in view of the sharp decline of this species in the UK.
Corn Buntings, Ponta da Erva, 20th April
Corn Bunting, east of Mourão, 21st April
Total of about 170-180 species of bird depending on what you count (e.g. naturalised species)
Click here to go on to the final part of the systematic list: Non-avian wildlife
Part I: Wildfowl and Gamebirds
Part II: Grebes to Flamingo
Part III: Raptors to Bustards
Part IV: Shorebirds
Part V: Other non-passerines
Part VII: Other non-avian wildlife
Or to return to the overview of the regions visited, including very brief details of the main birding sites:
Algarve I - 14th to 16th April
Lisbon - 16th to 21st April
Alentejo - 21st to 26th April
Algarve II - 26th April to 1st May