MIGRATION OF BIRDS
Southern Spain can be considered the bridge between Africa
and the Northwestern- and Central Europe and even western
What is the behaviour of the different species on
continental raptors (migrating southwards)
purple= iberian raptors (migrating southwards)
Following mountains, rivers, etc. birds coming from western
and central Europe mainly go to Western Africa. Coastal
routes and inland routes are used as well. They concentrate
at the Eastern half of Iberia. Birds of prey coming from
central Europe pass the Pyrenees and go down following the
Mediterranean coast, while birds from Spain itself tend to
follow the western coast to go down. Wether condition often
force the birds to congegrate or they are drifted away from
their original route scheme.
The first migrating birds are the small birds who cross the
Sahara to winter in Africa. They avoid the dry east of
Spain and prefer to go through the wetter northwest. One
group goes down at the Portuguese coastline and finally
cross the Atlantic to Morocco. Another scheme we can find
at the eastern side of this route who cross Gibraltar or
better the strait to arrive at Morocco and go on through
the Sahara desert to reach the rich tropical grounds of
This first movement is followed by a later one whose birds
winter in Morocco and Spain itself, and concentrate along
the Mediterranean coast. They arrive in October November.
The small birds are the first one who leave or cross Spain,
back to their breeding grounds. In march already, the
African migrants start their journey back. Arriving in
Spain in April May they need some time to refuel their
energy after the exhausting crossing of the Sahara. After
bad weather lots of birds strand at the western coastal
Mediterranean and the strait. They go up to north taking a
northeastern route instead of the western route they came
Waders Follow mostly the Atlantic coast to go to their
wintering grounds in Morocco and the famous Banc d'Arguin.
Others Follow the Mediterranean coast of Spain via delta
del Ebro and Gabo de Gata.
Follow coastal routes and inland lagoons.
We can see a horizontal movement of seabirds between the
Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Other descent along the
African coast. In summer and autumn we see large flocks on
beaches and coastal lagoons. Specially gulls. They return
in February and March.