Birds in Spain

The Iberian birds, together with the Balearic Islands, comprises about 400 species, without considering the broad range of described subspecies. These birds are, for the most part, representatives of the Western Palearctic fauna. The representation of cosmopolitan species is very low. According to ornithologists, the bird community clearly distinguish two zones: the Atlantic-Cantabrian-Central Europe and the Mediterranean.

The first is characterized by the presence of a number of bird populations perfectly settled in Central Europe, whose representatives did not descend below this latitude zone. Among the species include snipe, marsh harrier, the red-backed shrike, the tree pipit, the bullfinch, the yellowhammer, the Whinchat and song thrush, among others.

The Mediterranean zone includes a number of species that usually do not invade the anterior zone, although it is very difficult to draw a demarcation zone between them. Among the species can include the black wheatear, Dartford warbler, Sardinian warbler, the Spectacled Warbler, the Cirl Bunting, Audoin's Gull, Eleonora's Falcon and partridge. To these we must add another large number of birds that live outside this area in the southern part of Eurasia, which are called birds of steppe character. Examples are: the clerk Montesión, the gull picofina, the Sparrow, the Sparrow, the Cetti, the little bustard, the common and bencejo terreta pale. Moreover, the Mediterranean area is invaded by species from North Africa, and even the region of Ethiopia, such as the horned owl, the blue black-shouldered kite, the crested coot, the cattle egret, swallow daurica, crane damsel and the barbary partridge .

This partitioning must add latitudinal zones of altitude zones. The cast of species living in the high mountains of the Iberian Peninsula, add others living in low mountains or the plains of central or northern Europe, including chested, laperdiz snow, the partridge and the Goldcrest and a group formed by species from alpine and mountain alpinizado that fail to boreal and arctic latitudes, among which include the Alpine Accentor, the Chough Alpine piquigualda and sparrow.

The avifauna of the Canary Islands, similar in many species to the rest of the mid-latitude Atlantic islands (Azores, Cape Verde and Madeira), is distinguished in part by their own ecological characteristics of these islands. Many of the birds belonging to species that landed on the islands in spontaneous migrations that have adapted to their environment or have been introduced by man. At present, the birds of these islands are closer to Europe than to the Maghreb, or Ethiopian desert. Among the species native to highlight the pipit, the trumpeter finch, the canary, the broker, the Chough partridge, bustard Canary Islands, the oystercatcher unicolor, storm petrel, storm petrels pechialbo, laurel pigeon, the dove Bolle, Cory's shearwater , the Little Shearwater, Bulwer's petrel, blue finch, the canary and bencejo tarabilla unicolor, and a large number of subspecies, some of them endemic to each island.



Law 4 / 89 in its Article 30.1 creates the National Catalogue of Endangered Species (now Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species), which includes species, subspecies or populations whose preservation requires special measures by the Public Administration. In the case of birds, among the listed species, the number of taxa included in each category are listed below:

Special interest250

The species are listed below are those which are linked to aquatic ecosystems because of its uniqueness or represent the biodiversity in Spain.

  • Pardela pichoneta balear (Puffinus mauretanicus): only bird endemic to the Balearic Islands and one of the few in the Spanish avifauna. It is estimated that between all the islands no more than 4,000 couples, especially in Formentera. The Pinochet nests in the Canary Islands, deep walls of La Palma and Tenerife, where nests dug in the ground. In these places its population is around 2,000 pairs, although it is relatively common in other latitudes.
  • Paíño pechialbo (Pelagrodoma Hypoleuca): very low in Spain, where only raised in the small island of Montaña Clara (Lanzarote), with a population currently estimated at 20 pairs. Dig their burrows in sandy areas with presence of salsolares clay in Chenopodiaceae-dominated scrub, small dunes nitrofilizadas areas.
  • Avetoro (Botaratus stellaris): thirty lives in wetlands, among which the Delta del Ebro and Guadalquivir marshes. Relatively abundant in past decades, but has been affected by habitat loss. In the near extinction in the early 80's have come to be located at least 35 territorial males. The total population may be around the 1,200 nesting pairs.
  • Cigüeña negra (Ciconia nigra): farming in the provinces of Avila, Salamanca, Segovia, Zamora, Cáceres, Badajoz, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Sevilla, Huelva, Cordoba and Jaen. About 300 winter in the peninsula, 100 of them in the marshes of the Guadalquivir. Nests on cliffs and trees particularly river oaks or coniferous forests near rivers, reservoirs and ponds.


  • Garcilla cangrejera (Ardeola ralloides): in 2002 was estimated around 1,100 pairs. The most numerous are the core of the Ebro Delta, the lagoon and the marshes of the Guadalquivir. They are common in freshwater wetlands, especially those with plenty of marsh vegetation.
  • Morito común (Plegadis falcinellus): is the only European representative of the ibies and there is no certainty that has grown in Spain since the fifties, although there are indications that it does so scattered and sporadic in the marshes of the Guadalquivir and the lagoon of Valencia. However, there may be some individuals in these wetlands for most of the year.
  • Porrón pardo (Aythya nyroca): with a breeding population probably does not exceed 10 pairs today. Lives in wetlands with shallow water and abundant vegetation. Breeding occasionally in Andalusia, Valencia, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha and Aragon. It breeds in marshes, coastal and inland freshwater or brackish water with abundant submerged vegetation.
  • Cerceta pardilla (Marmaronetta angustirostris): globally threatened species whose population has continued to decline in recent times. Spain is the only European country where it breeds, and does so based on the abundance of rain, 80 for 100 of Europe's population is concentrated in the 'Parque Natural' Hondo (Alicante). In the last century was the most abundant duck in the marshes of the Guadalquivir. Lives in shallow water bodies and permanent with abundant emergent vegetation and riparian and submerged.
  • Malvasía (Oxyura leucocephala): requires clean water pools and deep, with cover, a habitat that has been greatly reduced in recent decades. With a population of around 500 individuals, breeding Cádiz, Almería, Córdoba and points of La Mancha and Alicante. Hybridisation with the Ruddy Duck, and widespread North American species introduced to Europe, is one of their main problems.


  • Águila imperial ibérica (Aquila adalberti): the 150 couples in the world living in our country, with the exception of a few individuals who have conquered the north of Morocco. Breeding in Extremadura, Sierra Morena, Doñana, Montes de Toledo and Madrid. Has increased its population, and in 1967 was only 50 couples. Has a preference for the following habitats: alluvial plains and dunes, rolling hills with mixed conifer Mediterranean forest, hills with plenty of scrub and small woodlands of cork and holm oaks and mountains where the dominant vegetation is the Scots pine and Resinera.
  • Águila pescadora (Pandion haliaetus): is an almost cosmopolitan species that is threatened in the Mediterranean basin, where only a few dozen breeding pairs. In Spain it does in the Balearic and Canary Chafarinas, where he played a dozen pairs. The destruction of coastal habitats by the urban and tourism is their main threat.
  • Torillo (Turnix sylvatica): this species is widely distributed in Africa and the Indian subcontinent, but very little in our country, where the population no greater than 10 partners, located in the marshes of the Guadalquivir. The species is linked to dense scrub and grassland around coastal lagoons.
  • Focha cornuda (Fulica cristata): very low for at least two decades, its population does not exceed 20 breeding pairs. Does not breed anywhere else in Europe, but is abundant south of the Sahara. It is bred in captivity at the recovery center The Valley of the Birds, in Seville, and from a few months ago also in the Commonwealth Valenciana.Tiene preference for marshes and brackish lagoons with shallow water and abundant emergent vegetation and extensive underwater meadows.
  • Gaviota de Audouin (Larus audouinii): farming in the Mediterranean and only four of the most important core players are in the Delta del Ebro, Balearic Islands Columbretes (Valencia) and islands Chafarinas (on the northeast coast of Morocco). In recent decades its population has increased significantly; is around 15,000 pairs
  • Fumarel común (Chlidonios niger): its population in Spain is marginal, with a maximum of 200 breeding pairs in the marshes of the Guadalquivir, Ebro Delta, lagoons Villafáfila (Zamora) and Levantine gaps. He lives in inland waters.
  • Árao común (Uria aalge): is on the verge of extinction in Spain, where only about 10 pairs breed on the islands and Cape Sisargas Vilán (Galicia). And that, despite the Galician population of guillemots in the sixties was about 2,000 pairs. It nests on ledges of cliffs and small rocky islets. Migrating frequent marshes and wetlands inland wetlands and salt marshes.
  • Paloma rabiche (Columba junoniae): is a two Canarian endemic pigeons. Its population of around 1,500 people, spread through the islands of La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife. Vive linked to the laurel forests.
  • Milano real (Milvus milvus): in Spain are about 2000 copies. It is located mostly in meadows of Salamanca, Zamora and Extremadura and middle mountain areas of Huesca, Zaragoza and Navarra and the majority of the province of Segovia. Nests in woodlands, thickets, fields and especially in woodland. Also closely associated with human activities but often near water bodies.

  • Pico dorsiblanco (Dendrocopos leucotos): a total of 70 pairs have settled in the Pyrenees of Navarre and the northwest corner of Huesca, where he lives in old forests of beech and fir.

  • Alcaudón chico (Lanius minor): of the four species of shrikes that breed in Spain, the boy is the scarcest, with a maximum of 90 couples in the marshes of 1'Empordá and the basins of the rivers Segre and Cinca, Huesca, Lleida and Girona