News - Why Birdwatch in the Ria Formosa


The Algarve’s coastline boasts an array of wetlands that are of international significance, either for their birdlife or for their important plant communities. Many different habitats occur - both salt and freshwater types that provide the suitable niches for a large variety of waterbirds. The conservation of these sites, for the refuge and replenishment of migratory species, both winter visitors and passage migrants is paramount. Most species of west European waders occur in large numbers, especially during spring and autumn migration when the Algarve’s wetlands become vital refuelling grounds for these birds arriving from or leaving to African wintering areas. Breeding species are not lacking either, with many of the Mediterranean specialities being well represented. Furthermore, many of the sites boast peripheral habitats, like scrubland or woodland that add further interest for the birdwatcher. Visits are rewarding throughout the seasons and contact should be made with at least some of the more bird-diverse sites when staying in the area.

The “Ria Formosa Natural Park” is included in the prestigious Ramsar Convention, a status given only to the most important wetlands around the world. Furthermore, within Europe, the "Ria" has been declared an IBA (Important Bird Area) and is included in the Natura 2000 network of specially protected sites. There are more than 200 species of birds that visit the park regularly.

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