Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Relaxed with much birding from the roadside. One steep climb up to the Castillo at MonfragŁe

Group Size:

Seven plus leader

Azure-winged Magpie Hoopoe White-spotted Bluethroat Great Bustard Alpine Accentor Griffon Vulture Black-shouldered Kite

Extremadura - Winter in the Spanish Steppes

Date: 28th January - 1st February 2019 [SPACES]
Leaders: Paul Roberts



Common Cranes
A rich combination of inland waters, acorn-laden dehesa [open grazing woodland] and cereal crop fields makes Extremadura an ideal wintering site for many migratory species, the most spectacular being the Common Crane. To the south of the Sierra de las Villuercas, surrounded by sweeping Holm-oak dehesa and crop fields, lies Sierra Brava Reservoir. In recent years it has proven to be an extraordinary wildfowl refuge, serving as home each winter to over 120,000 birds. Sierra Brava is a small reservoir straddling the provinces of Cáceres and Badajoz where approximately 8000 Common Cranes spend the winter. Nobody so much as dreamt that this small reservoir, lost among dehesa and crop fields to the north of the celebrated Orellana Reservoir, might harbour such a huge concentration of birds. Indeed many of the reservoirs in the region play host to large concentrations of wintering wildfowl, and we will spend time looking out for the more interesting species at the newly created Embalse de Alcollarin. Here in 2016 we saw Ring-necked and Ferruginous Ducks, showing what is possible here. In this patchwork landscape we will find huge flocks of Common Cranes, Little Bustards  and geese feeding on the fallow land as well as sizeable flocks of European Golden Plovers, plus passage and/or wintering groups of Black-Tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Eurasian Spoonbill and Great White Egret. On the fringes of the dehesa we may find Black-shouldered Kites which are often easier to find at this time of year, and Golden, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagles and Black Vulture are among the other raptors to be found. In the foothills of the Sierra las Villuercas, montane species such as wintering Alpine Accentor can be found, and of course the rolling plains play host to spectacular Great Bustard. The Little Bustard form flocks at this time of year and sandgrouse might include both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied. It is the huge flocks of Common Cranes though which create the biggest spectacle, as tens of thousands feed by day beneath the cork oak trees of the dehesa before flying in to favoured roost sites in the evening, a sight which we will be hoping to see. Other resident species which can be easily seen include Azure-winged Magpie, Southern Grey Shrike, Rock Bunting, Calandra, Wood and Thekla Larks, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Stone Curlew, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Penduline Tit and Rock Sparrow. Your tour leader will be Paul Roberts for the first tour, and for the second tour we are pleased to be working with our friend Marcus Nash at The BIrd ID Company who will be assissted by Ashley Saunders. You can expect to see 115 species. 


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