Birdwatching, the activity of watching, spotting, following, photographing birds or another definition is Birdwatching or birding is the observation of birds as a recreational activity.

Twitching is a British term used to mean "the pursuit of a previously-located rare bird." In North America it is more often called "chasing", though the British usage is starting to catch on there, especially among younger birders.

AudouinsGull_LarusAudoninii_Santa Luzia Tavira

Why is this important in Tavira and in this part of the Algarve as a whole.

The Ria Formosa is one of the most beautiful and important wetlands of Portugal, featuring an extensive string of sandy barrier islands parallel to the coast protecting the interior of the ria from the sea and creating environmental conditions similar to an estuary. This system extends for almost 60 km between Ancão beach and Cacela Velha, with a very special biodiversity in which birds are of particular importance.

Ria Formasa National Park

The result of this is the existence of numerous different types of habitats, such as reefs and sandbanks, saltmarshes and saltpans,various watercourses and fresh and brackish water lagoons, reedbeds, woodland and farmland. More than 300 bird species have been recorded here, some of them very rare and others recognised internationally as endangered, such as the Purple Swamphen – the symbol of the Natural Park – and Audouin’s Gull.

Avoocet in the saltpans of Tavira

Every year more than 30,000 birds use the Ria Formosa during their migrations and in winter, making this wetland among the three most important wetlands in Portugal. Some species are of European importance because of their important breeding populations, including the Little Tern, the Pied Avocet and Audouin’s Gull. The wide diversity of habitats here leads to the occurrence of a great number of species, one of the highest in Portugal, especially waterfowl, including waders and ducks in particular and, in lesser numbers, herons.The Ria Formosa is also noted for the highest numbers of wintering Eurasian Wigeon and breeding Red-crested Pochard in Portugal. On the land areas several species of woodland passerines occur, as well as various raptors.

So from the above you can see that the presence of the Ria Formosa attracts the birdlife and the birdlife attracts the birdwatchers. There are tours available for those that are interested and we have listed a number of useful websites below.

Excellent rates for accommodation can be arranged through our accomodation page or booking page

Little_Egret_Egetta_Garzetta Tavira

Some of the birdlife seen in and around Tavira

AudouinsGull_LarusAudoninii_13Audouins Gull_Larus Audoninii
Black-headed_gull_Chroicocephalus_ridibundus4Black-headed gull_Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Black-winged_Stilt_Himantopus_himantopus2Black-winged Stilt_Himantopus himantopus
Common_Sandpiper_Actitis_hypoleacosCommon Sandpiper_Actitis hypoleacos
Cormorant_Phalacrocorax_carbo2Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Curlew_Numenius_ArquataCurlew_Numenius Arquata
Greater_Flamingos_Phoenicopterus_ruberGreater Flamingos_Phoenicopterus ruber
Hoopoe_Upupa_epopsHoopoe_Upupa epops
Little_egret_Egretta_gerzetta_Little Egret_Egretta gerzetta
Redshank_Tringa_totanusRedshank_Tringa totanus
Ringed_plover_Charadrius_hiaticulaRinged plover_Charadrius hiaticula
Spoonbill_Platalea_leucorodia3Spoonbill_Platalea leucorodia
White_Storks_Ciconia_ciconiaWhite Storks_Ciconia ciconia

Useful Websites

Algarve Birdwatching

Tel: (+351) 282 639 418

Mobile (+351) 912 824 053


Birds & Nature Tours

 Tel: (+351) 913 299 990

email :

Birding in Portugal

Tel: (+351) 283933065

Tel: (+351) 938386326

email :

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Tel: (+351) 21 322 04 30

email :

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Festa dos Pescadores Santa Luzia 2018