These are two different areas - one a river-mouth consisting of fresh water and brackish pools close to the sea, the other a mountain site covered mostly with pines and cork oaks, where several tracks lead through the woods. The Montes de Malaga are famed for the presence of Chameleon, which are extremely difficult to find. Some streams contain yellow Wagtails from the Iberian breeds and Passerines are abundant along these small streams, especially during winter when residents are accompanied by northern species such as Thrushes, Redwings and, sometimes, Ring Ouzels. The Firecrest is often seen as are all Tits. Nightingales and Cuckoos can be heard in summer, Golden Orioles fly by and some Raptors are present, including the Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle and Buzzards and Sparrow Hawks in the summer. This is a nice area to visit, but it is best done early in the morning, and avoiding weekends when hundreds of people have their barbecues in the mountains and along the streams.

How to find it?

From Malaga take the A7 in direction Cadiz just behind Malaga look for the Urbanisation Guadalmar (West of Malaga). From there you go south to the beach, up to Calle Guadalhorce where you will find a passage for passing the river into the reserve

GUADALHORCE river-mouth


This is an excellent site for people who booked a Costa del Sol holiday accompanied by non-birding family members. A good compromise is to enjoy some bird-watching while the others are sunbathing on the beach of the same park. This can be done perfectly on a day-trip as even a short visit uncovers numerous species. I visit this area regularly and there is often something special (see reports).

The area consists mainly of a few fresh-water and brackish pools close to the sea. The ponds have originated from former gravel extractions but the area is now a nature park. Occasionally, after heavy rains, the area is flooded but this does not occur often. The species are the typical ones: Kentish Plover breed; Osprey appear during migration; and wintering Booted Eagles also are present. You can expect rare species at all times of the year, such as the Western Reef Heron in 1996, and the Feruginous Duck. The Bengal Terns and all the other Terns also appear. In winter there are colonies of Cormorants and Blue Herons and some years a Short-eared Owl stays in the area for a few weeks. Fan-tailed Warblers breed commonly and, in contrast to other places, are highly visible. Breeding around the ponds are the Great Reed Warbler and Reed warbler. Little Bittern also breed and there are many migrating Squaco Herons.

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White-headed duck often present in wintertime and since 2003 breeding in Guadalhorce.

Monk Parakeets

Very present at Guadalhorce nature reserve


Monk Parakeets have been breeding in Spain for many years now and estimated some 780 species can be found in Andalucia and the majorirty in Malaga, were they are present from the late 70's.
Originally from South America this bird has settled in some points in NorthAmerica and Europe. The european ones all originate from escaped birds.
They are well established in many of the larger cities in Spain, e.g. Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, and especially along the Mediterranean coast.
A large colony can be found at Guadalhorce. Their colonies can be found in the eucalyptus trees. The nests are not only for breeding, they use the rest of the year as their bedrooms.They actually can not be missed.