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A Report from

FUERTEVENTURA, March 29th - April 5th 2001,


A report by O. Gylling-Joergensen, Denmark (


My wife and I took a combined family/birdwatching holiday on the island Fuerteventura - the most eastern Canary Islands , just 80 miles off the African coast. The following report is based on a seven-night staying at Nueva Horizonte, just north of Caleta de Fustes.

We stayed at a hotel called Elba Garden, which is located at the east coast on the island. This place seems perfect to stay since some of the best locations are all nearby.

The island can be easily birded in a week,  and it is possible to manage to see all the main target species to be expected on the island, although some of them proved difficult to track down even in the right looking areas of habitat.

The weather was pleasant and sunny, but a little bit windy with a strong north to northwesterly wind from time to time.

Car hire from Avis was around PTS 40000 for a week including full insurance and unlimited mileage. We covered about 1000 kilometres during the seven days. The car handled the various tracks across the plains with relative ease and we didn't see the need for a four-wheel drive. Houbara Bustard in particular needs a specialised approach involving distant scanning of suitable habitat or a bit of luck.

We used Clarke and Collin's guide to the Canary Islands, which was very helpful to find the tracks needed. Furthermore we had collected a lot of reports which we used regularly. Thanks to everybody who replied to my EBN-request.

Though not mentioned to the book and the reports we found a small lake near the road from Trinquvi-jate to Puerto del Rosario which appears to be a very good place, where we among others saw our only Barbary Falcon very well. Another good site proved to be immediately north-west of  the village Antigua towards Betancuria, where Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Stone-Curlews all were seen very easily.

We managed to see all the island specialities to be expected.

The trip gave only one "lifer" for me (until the Houbara might be split officially), but a very nice holi-day indeed.


Bird species seen

1.       Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea borealis)
Seen in quite large numbers most evenings along the eastern coast with up to 15 birds/min on occa-sions and often close inshore.

2.   Little Egret (Egretta garzeta)
Recorded at several places on the rocky shore adjacent to the beach, but also seen at the Catalina Garcia place.

3.   Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Only 2 birds seen near Betancuria and the lake near Trinquvijate.

4.      Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)
Two birds with 9 small juveniles at the Garcia place, two birds in the small flooded area in the Barran-co de la Torre and two birds at the lake near Trinquvijate.

5.      Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris)
A total of  3 birds at Los Molinos.

6.      Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Seen near Barranco de la Torre with 2 birds incl. the only immature on the trip, one bird near Vega de Rio Palmas, one bird near Caleta de Fustes and one bird around the lake near Trinquvijate.

7.      Common Buzzard (Butea butea insularum)
Several birds seen at different places, usually in couples.

8.      Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Only one bird seen heading north near La Olivia.

9.      Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus dacotiae)
Several birds seen at widespread localities.

10.   Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides)
A great surprise to see an adult bird very well hunting near the lake on the road Trinquvijate - Puerto del Rosario.

11.    Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara)
Only seen with at least 4 birds near Presa de las Penitas, which unfortunately was completely dry. Fur-thermore 5 birds were seen at the farmland near the lake on the road Trinquvijate - Puerto del Rosario.

12.   Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Only a single bird seen at the lake near Trinquvijate.

13.   Coot (Fulica atra)
A total of about 60 birds was seen at Los Molinos.

14.   Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae)
Seen with a single bird at the track about 3 kilometres south of El Cotillo and with 2 birds (one flushed by my car) at the usual place Rosa de los Negrines near La Olivia.

15.   Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus insularum)
A single bird seen near Antigua, a single bird seen by the lake near Trinquvijate and two birds seen west of Nueva Horizonte.

16.   Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor bannermani)
Three birds were seen northwest of Antigua and three birds were seen west of Nueva Horizonte.

17.   Little Ringed Plover (Charadius dubius)
Birds seen at several places as Barranco de la Torre, Los Molinos, Catalina Garcia, El Cotillo and at the lake near Trinquvijate.

18.   Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Recorded at several places on the rocky shores around the island, especially on the north and East Coast.

19.   Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
A few birds were seen at the lighthouse near El Cotillo, near Corralejo and at Casas de las Salinas.

20.  Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Several birds seen at different places, always on the rocky shores around the island with only one bird in summer plumage at Casas de las Salinas.

21.   Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Only two birds seen on the rocky shores near Nueva Horizonte.

22.  Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Two birds seen at Casas de las Salinas.

23.  Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Several birds seen on the rocky shores at different places with a maximum of two at Casas de las Salinas.

24.  Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Single birds seen at Casas de las Salinas and three birds seen roosting in Barranco de la Torre.

25.  Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Seen at different places with single birds at Casas de las Salinas, Barranco de la Torre, Catalina Garcia, at the lake near Trinquvijate and near Corralejo.

26.  Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Only seen at the Garcia place with a maximum of 4 birds.

27.  Common Sandpiper (Actites hypoleucos)
Seen at several places on the rocky shores around the island.

28.  Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)    
Recorded at several places, always on the rocky shores with a maximum of 6 birds at Cases de las Salinas.

29.  Lesser black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Only recorded by the lake near Trinquvijate with an adult and 2 second winter birds.

30.  Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans atlantis)
Seen everywhere with a maximum of 70 birds near the lake at Trinquvijate. I am not sure of the race, but I presumed it to be an atlantis.

31.   Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
A few birds migrating north along the East Coast of the island.

32.  Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis)
Several birds seen at different places with 4 birds north-west of Antigua, 8 birds near Nueva Horizonte, 2 birds in Barranco de la Torre and 2 birds near Caleta de Fustes.

33.  Rock Dove (Columbia livia)
Recorded all over the island, birds around Los Molinos and Barranco de la Torre seem more "pure" than some of those seen near villages and towns.

34.  Collared Dove (Streptopelia deacaocta)
Common in and near villages and towns.

35.  Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
About 40 birds seen and heard at several places from the north to the south.

36.  Plain Swift (Apus unicolor)
Fewer than expected but seen at several places with maximum of 12 birds seen near Caleta de Fustes on a calm evening.

37.  Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus brehmorum)
More common than Plain Swift and often seen near villages with a maximum of 30 birds west of Puerto del Rosario.

38.  Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Widespread and common in suitable habitats with a maximum of 5 birds near La Olivia.

39.  Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens polatzeki)
The distinctive local race C.r.polatzeki was abundant and widespread in most areas, many in full song.

40.  Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Only seen with four birds at the Catalina Garcia place.

41.   Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Several birds seen at different places, mostly near fresh-water.

42.  Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Surprisingly 3 birds were seen during the week, with one at the Garcia place, one near Betancuria and one near Vega de Rio Palmas.

43.  House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Most common near fresh-water with a maximum of 3o birds near the lake Trinquvijate.

44.     Tawny Pipit ( Anthus campestris)
Two birds seen in Barranco de la Torre and a single bird near Trinquvijate.

45.     Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotii berthelotii)
Common all over the island and seen in nearly all habitats.

46.     Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Four birds seen with two at Costa Calma and two by the lake near Trinquvijate.

47.     Canary Islands Chat (Saxicola dacotiae)
About 12 birds seen with 5 - 6 in Barranco de la Torre, two near Vega de Rio Palmas, two at Los Molinos, two near Trinquvijate and one near Tetir. This endemic bird was not difficult to find.

48.     Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Only one bird was seen near Costa Calma.  

49.     Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
Surprisingly a bird of this winter visitor was found near the lake at Trinquvijate.

50.     Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata orbitalis)
The most common warbler on the island. Seen in good numbers at nearly every location we visited, many in full song.

51.      Sardinian Warbler (Sylivia melanocephala)
Seen at several places with up to 8 birds near Betancuria and Vega de Rio Palmas and 3 birds in Barranco de la Torre. Many of the birds were singing.

52.     Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla atricapilla)
Only seen with two birds near Las Penitas and a singing bird in the village Pajara.

53.     Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita collybita)
A few birds seen  in suitable habitats. Most probably of the race collybita.

54.     Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus throchilus)
One in the tamarisks by the lake near Trinquvijate.

55.     Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Only seen in Barranco del la Torre with 2 birds and a single bird at Vega de Rio Palmas.

56.     Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus degener)
Three birds of the distinctive race P.c.degener with 2 seen near Las Penitas and one bird singing in the village Pajara.

57.     Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor koenigi)
Individuals of the local race L.e.koenigi were quite common and widespread in most habitats.

58.     Raven (Corvus corax tingitanus)
Three to five birds were seen every day and recorded all over the island.

59.     Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
Abundant in agricultural and urban areas and also near the concrete tourist developments.

60.     Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
A single bird seen near Costa Calma. The bird appeared to be of the nominate form and identical to those seen elsewhere in Europe, with no suggestion of it being of any of the Canary Isle sub-species.

61.      Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Only seen in Costa Calma with recently fledged juveniles.

62.     Linnet (Acanthis canabina harterti)
A few recorded on the plains and near cultivation.

63.     Trumpeter Finch (Budanetes githaginius amantum)
Scattered birds in all barren rocky areas with a maximum of 20 birds near Nueva Horizonte.

64.     Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)
One bird heard singing near Tefia and up to5 birds roosting by the lake near Trinquvijate


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