Because of its strategic position at the gateway of two continents, Tarifa is a unique blend of Europe and Africa, the main migratory route south across the Straits. We are lucky to have renowned experts based minutes from El Aguilon, organising excellent guided tours. So if you´re after a snapshot of superb resident species in intertidal, wetland, farmland, woodland and urban habitats, we really do have some star local species waiting for you here in the Straits!
A successful reintroduction programme of the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis took place here in 2008, and with the help of our local guides, you should be able to see these extraordinary birds at their nesting colony or on surrounding farmland.
Northern bald ibis
With less than 500 birds remaining in the wild, worldwide, the Northern Bald Ibis is a bird on the brink. But with a successful reintroduction underway at Barca de la Vejer, one of the world’s most endangered birds is just 25 minutes from El Aguilon.
Nipping into the beautiful Old Town of Tarifa, you'll be able to enjoy the antics of our local Lesser Kestrel colony, swooping and reeling around the Moorish fort.
You can also hope for a great selection of raptors including Griffon Vultures, Egyptian Vultures, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagles, Short-toed and Booted Eagles and Black-winged Kites.
Visits to wetlands should yield a host of waders including Sanderling, Red Knot, Dunlin, Little Stint, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit passing through, amongst the breeding Collared Pratincoles, Common Ringed and Kentish Plover.
The smallest of the four European vultures, it is also the most highly migratory, arriving in Europe from sub-Saharan Africa at the end of February. It dates back to the late Pleistocene, and yet in a matter of years, we have destroyed what took millions of years to put together as their numbers are in sharp decline. We are fortunate to have a nesting pair of these magnificent birds in the mountain overlooking El Aguilon.
There are many seabirds such as Sandwich, Little and Caspian Terns, Slender-billed Gull and the once extremely rare Audouin’s Gull. We should also get views of Eurasian Spoonbill and Greater Flamingo as well as Western Osprey and Purple Swamphen.
Other resident Spanish specialities include Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crested Tit, Western Bonelli´s Warbler – the list goes on!
Even among waders there are species which mainly feed on flying insects. The agile flight of the Collared Pratincole is in no way inferior to that of swallows.
The mere nine miles that separates Spain from Africa has proved to be no boundary for some plucky African species! Here you can add the unexpected to your Spanish list.
Two typically African Swift species choose the Iberian peninsula as one of their very localised breeding sites in Europe – Little and White-rumped. It’s one of the very few places in Europe you can see all five of our breeding Swift species!
Our location puts us right at the epicentre of birding in the Straits and, from a migrating raptor’s point of view, we must surely also be at the centre of the world!
Tarifa is THE place not only to marvel at the birds passing on their migratory journey, exploring the whole range of fascinating and varied terrains they traverse each year.
If you'd like to arrange a bird-watching tour during your stay, please let us know.
Spanish Moon moth
Don't miss the beautiful Spanish Moon Moth which appears end of April and beginning of May. These magnificent moths live in the indigenous pine trees of Andalucia.