Southern Spain can be considered the bridge between Africa and the Northwestern- and Central Europe and even western Asia.

What is the behaviour of the different species on migration?



red= 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.

Small birds

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 Africa.

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 with.


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.