Madeira Birdwatching

3 min read

For the travellers who love to admire all kinds of birds, not only for its physical beauty but also for its skills and ingenuity, then Madeira Island is the ideal destination to practise birdwatching.

We know that Madeira is an ecological paradise, a beautiful natural landscape, but did you know that it is especially rich in rare bird species. Around 335 species and subspecies of birds have been recorded in the Madeira archipelago. According to the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Archipelago of Madeira it has confirmed a total of 46 breeding birds, which 11 are sea-birds and the rest land-birds. All species are protected by law and most of their breeding habitats are located in protected areas.

When you visit Madeira Island, you get the opportunity not only to explore the rugged areas of our Island, but also to discover the endemic species that resides safely in the protected nature environment, such as the Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz), Madeira Firecrest (Regulus madeirensis) and Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotti madeirensis).

Lets give a short description for each of the mentioned Madeiran birds ...

Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz)

Madeira Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz)Also known as Madeira laurel pigeon or long-toed pigeon. An endemic pigeon, recognizable by its mainly grey colour and a pinkish breast. Its silvery neck patch and lack of white wing markings distinguish it from its close relative, the common wood pigeon.

Trocaz Pigeon is dark grey overall with red bill and toes. At a close view one can observe its stripped silvery patch on neck-side and its pinkish chest.

Its call is a characteristic six-note cooing, weaker and lower-pitched than that of the wood pigeon. Despite its bulky, long-tailed appearance, this pigeon has a fast, direct flight.

Madeira Firecrest (Regulus madeirensis)

Madeira Madeira Firecrest (Regulus madeirensis)Also known as Madeira kinglet, or Madeiracrest. This very small bird is endemic to the island of Madeira. It is a member of the kinglet family.

Before it was recognised as a separate species in 2003, it was classified as a subspecies of the common firecrest.

It differs in appearance and vocalisations from its relative, and genetic analysis has confirmed it as a different species.

This Madeiran bird has green upper-parts, whitish under-parts and two white wing-bars, and a distinctive head pattern with a black eye stripe, short white super-cilium, and a crest that is mainly orange in the male and yellow in the female.

Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotti madeirensis)

Madeira Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotti madeirensis)This small passerine bird breeds in both Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is a common resident in both archipelagos.

Berthelot's pipit is found in open country, where it lays its nest on the ground, with 3-5 eggs being laid.

This is a small pipit, 13-14.5 cm in length. It is an undistinguished looking species on the ground, mainly grey above and whitish below, with some breast streaking. It has a whitish super-cilium and eye ring, with dark eye and stripes. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are browner than adults.

In the Madeira Archipelago there are several areas classified as Biogenetic Reserve and Natural World Heritage, which generate countless possibilities of observation of terrestrial or marine birds, some of them rare in the world. The islands natural diversity and specificity of its ecosystem makes it an excellent spot for nesting and migrating birds.

We at Legendary Travel can organize a birdwatching excursion which will be led by a professional nature guide. Based on your wishes the tour can be adapted, to a certain extent, and can be tailor-made for groups. The goal is to offer you a memorable 'date' with our beautiful feathered 'residents' and at the same time you can enjoy the impressive natural scenery around you.

Madeiran Chaffinch - Photo Don Amaro

Madeiran Chaffinch - Photo Don Amaro

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