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Birdwatching at Luxury Resort in Mallorca
May 31, 2019 | Blog
Mallorca is a truly world-class destination for birdwatching. The island lies along major migratory flyways between Africa and Europe and boasts more than a few avians found only in the Balearics and nowhere else. From songbirds to seabirds to raptors, you’ve got amazing birdlife to explore whatever time of year you’re staying with us here at Hoposa.
We’ve written about birdwatching tips here at the Hoposa blog before—here and here, for example—and also have a general overview for your trip-planning purposes. Today we thought we’d profile several of the best-known Mallorca birds eagerly sought out by birdwatchers and photographers. Check out these feathered celebrities, one or more of which might grace your next stay at a Hoposa hotel or vacation apartment!
The Balearic Warbler
This handsome and proportionately big-headed songbird, closely related to the much more widespread Dartford warbler, is endemic (restricted to) the Balearic archipelago. It’s not uncommon, but a bit elusive given it favors the dense tangles of Mallorca’s shrublands and scrub. Some good places to look for the Balearic warbler on the island include Son Real and Cala Sant Vincent.
Blue Rock Thrush
A male blue rock thrust in his grayish-blue summer plumage ranks among the most vivid sights on Mallorca. This chat, widespread in Eurasia and Africa, nests here at higher elevations in rocky sites. Seek them out in hotspots such as the Arta and Formentor peninsulas and the Boquer Valley.
The unmistakable bee-eater is a brilliant, colorful bird with a strikingly long bill and a slender, long-tailed form. These tropical-looking birds winter in sub-Saharan Africa and breed across a broad range from North Africa through Southern Europe and Western Asia. As the name suggests, the bee-eater munches on lots of bees, but also wasps, dragonflies, and other insects. The countryside outside Puerto Pollensa and the S’Albufera Reserve are good places to look for them in summer.
One of Mallorca’s most celebrated seabirds, the little Balearic shearwater nests in coastal caves and alcoves on Mallorca and elsewhere in the Balearics while spending part of the year migrating and foraging more widely around the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic. The shearwaters here often commute to nearshore waters off the Spanish mainland to fish. You may see them around Pollenca Bay and virtually anywhere else along Mallorca’s coast.
Perhaps the most coveted birdwatching “quarry” on Mallorca, the Eleonara’s falcon is a swift hunter of insects and small birds. Several hundred pairs brood on Mallorca, arriving in mid-spring and departing in mid-autumn. Cap Formentor and the protected isle of Dragonera are prime places to look for these superb flying machines.
The greater flamingo—the world’s biggest flamingo—winters on Mallorca, most abundantly in the salt pans of the south, such as Salborar de Campos. Smaller numbers frequent S’Albufera. Needless to say, these extravagantly gangly, pink-white birds, which strain algae, crustaceans, and other small prey from shallow water, are an unforgettable sight.
Black (Cinereous) Vulture
Arguably the most impressive (and intimidating-looking) Mallorca’s bird is the Eurasian black vulture, also called the cinereous vulture. This dark scavenging raptor is enormous, the biggest boasting wingspans of 10 feet or so. These giants—which, like Mallorca’s other native vultures, perform an essential service ridding the countryside of carrion—nearly vanished from the island by the early 1980s, but strong conservation work has helped them recover. They nest in the Serra de Tramuntana on cliff-set trees and rock ledges: just the sort of stirring terrain you’d expect of such a superlative bird.