Malaga Birds

We have some of the most exciting bird watching in Europe here and not just because of our wide variety of habitats. Being so close to North Africa, southern Spain is first port of call on the spring and autumn migrations for thousands of species.

Here is a list of the species I have seen here, thrown down haphazardly as they come to mind.

Family Common NameScientific NamePosts
Photo Patrick J O'Keefe
Great Black CormorantPhalacrocorax carboThe Beach Scene
My best shot
Short-toed Snake EagleCircaetus gallicusShort-toed Eagle
EagleBooted EagleHieraaetus pennatusBattle in the Skies
Bonelli's Eagle. Photo Dharani Prakash
Bonneli's Eagle Aquila fasciata
Monk Parakeet & pigeons
Monk ParakeetMyiopsitta monachusBeach Scene
PheasantRed-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufa
Pigeons in Malaga
PigeonColumba LiviaThe Beach Scene
Photo Andrew Clifton
House SparrowPasser hispaniolensis
Photo Francesco Canu
Spanish Sparrow


Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Crag Martin at the nest
Crag Martin


Nest and last chick to leave it











As for the Crag Martins I see them all summer: they have been nesting on the bodega building since 2015 (at least). Since one of the pair doing so is missing a wing flight feather, which make him/her easy to recognise in flight, I know it is the same parents coming back year after year.

Crag Martins, Ptyonoprogne rupestris


I have seen Peregrine Falcon nesting on ground just like this, and once sat near the ruins of Venta Maria Guerrera early one May morning watching a pair flying out from Atalaya towards Cerro Gavilan. Not one I see very often but definitely visits.

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus

Common Kestrel, Andreas Treptre,
Lesser kestrel feeding chicks, By Вых Пыхманн – Own work

A Common Kestrel thinks it owns the road between Sayalonga and the Cruce de Árchez, staking its claim on the overhead wires and pylons, or sweeping up to hover over the vineyards. I’ve also seen Lesser Kestrels once or twice, near Salares and was pleased to see one perched, which made the i.d. (spotless back) easier.

Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Lesser, Kestrel, Falco naumanni



The Siskin are lovely little birds that seem to flood the natural park with twittering much of the year. If it is fairly low flying, finch shaped, yellow and flies in a twittering flock, you have your i.d.!

Siskin, Spinus spinus, last seen 04.2017




Cattle Egret

I have seen Cattle Egrets here fairly rarely, generally flying near the coast, perhaps near bigger ponds or riverbeds. So this photo from near an overgrown water deposit in Árchez back about 2015 is also my last sighting of one.

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis


Woodchat Shrike, photo Clara Verheij

This Woodchat Shrike was a one off. It flew into the glass of a window of Bodegas Bentomiz and was stunned; the nesting Crag Martins were not happy and tried to finish it off, but the bird recovered.

Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator

Summer birds

Swallows in the rain




Barn Swallows are resident in the villages all summer, nesting in ruins or under house eves. I have also seen Red-rumped Swallows here, occasion, even evacuating the odd stray that flew into a building!

Common Swift

The swift Swift









Note: My camera work is limited by a point-and-shoot camera and limited time to sit still and watch, so only a few of the photos shown are my own. Besides, as a grasshopper, I can’t get too close to birdlife without great personal risk. I try to ensure all photographs are free for use and their author and origin acknowledged.