Extremadura Autumn Tour

Bustards, Sandgrouse and Vultures!

  • Duration

    23 – 29 September 2017

  • Location

    Extremadura (Spain)

  • Led by

    David Lindo – The Urban Birder and Extremadura-based Martin Kelsey

  • Group size

    up to 8 participants

  • Price

    £1,300 per person plus flight

  • Single supplement


  • Deposit

    £260 per person

  • Remaining balance due

    60 days before travel start date

Free loan of Leica Ultravid binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

About Spain

Spain is by far the most well known destinations in Europe when it comes to wildlife and it brings in birders from all over the world.

Extremadura is perhaps the best region in Spain for birding. Situated inland in the southwest of Spain, the region butts onto the border of Portugal. The nearest airports are Madrid, Lisbon and Seville.

The local currency is the Euro.

Tour overview

Extremadura, although well known by British birders, is one of the least known regions of Spain – even by the Spaniards. The area is twice the size of Wales and is indeed, Spain’s biggest secret.

The region is traditionally known as spring venue for birding and wildlife watching but the autumn is nevertheless a rewarding time to visit. Although most of the summer visitors like the Lesser Kestrels may have left there is large autumn passage underway and early winter visitors are already arriving. Indeed, Extremadura as a whole has the richest winter birdlife of any region in Spain. One of the lasting impressions visitors will have is of the sheer number of birds, everywhere.

Extremadura boasts a wonderful variety of habitats ranging from mixed-farming plains to open managed woodland pasture where the famous Iberian pigs roam free-range, deep rocky valleys, irrigated lands, reservoirs and mountains. Added to this mix are the beautiful towns and villages that are steeped in history and great for wildlife in their own right. During the time of this tour the landscape will be turning green after the summer drought with beautiful autumn flowers in bloom attracting the remaining butterflies and dragonflies that are still present.

Speciality birds like White-rumped Swift should still be around whilst resident steppe species like the Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse are findable. Winter flocks of Stone Curlew gather making them much easier to see than during the spring. Everywhere will be migrant Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler with also a good chance of Tawny Pipit.

Passage waders and waterfowl will be moving through the rice-fields where the harvest will be starting, inducing feeding frenzies amongst the egrets, storks and gulls that follow the combines and tractors.

Meanwhile, at the world famous Monfragüe National Park Red Deer rut, Griffon and Black Vultures drift and there is a good chance for a local Golden or Iberian Imperial Eagles.

Expected birds

  • Black Stork
  • Black Vulture
  • Black Wheatear
  • Black-bellied Sandgrouse
  • Black-winged Kite
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Blue Rock Thrush
  • Bonelli’s Eagle
  • Calandra Lark
  • Cetti’s Warbler
  • Crested Lark
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • Golden Eagle
  • Great Bustard
  • Great Egret
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Iberian Imperial Eagle
  • Iberian Magpie
  • Little Bustard
  • Little Owl
  • Penduline Tit
  • Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
  • Purple Swamphen
  • Red-rumped Swallow
  • Rock Sparrow
  • Southern Grey Shrike
  • Spanish Sparrow
  • Spotless Starling
  • Squacco Heron
  • Stone Curlew
  • Tawny Pipit
  • Thekla Lark
  • White Stork
  • White-rumped Swift


NB. The sequence of places visited may alter to take into account changes in the weather.

22 September

Arrive in Madrid and transfer to Extremadura.

Overnight stay for the duration of the tour at Casa Rural El Recuerdo, our tranquil and rural base near Trujillo, in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura.

23 September

We will visit the plains and river valleys west of Trujillo to get a good introduction to landscape and scenery. Great and Little Bustards, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Griffon and Black Vultures, hopefully eagle species, Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks, flocks of Corn Bunting and hopefully Rock Sparrow.

Dinner and overnight stay at Casa Rural El Recuerdo.

24 September

A day spent in the iconic Monfragüe National Park: a superb site for raptors, woodland species such as Hawfinch, Firecrest and Crested Tit as well as roaming Red Deer. We will stay out until dusk for the chance of Eagle Owl.

Dinner and overnight stay at Casa Rural El Recuerdo.

25 September

This will be a day of reservoirs and rice-fields and we will see how modern landscapes have become great resources for birds. We will see large numbers of egrets and storks, as well as passage waders and duck. We will also look for Stone Curlew roosts.

Dinner and overnight stay at Casa Rural El Recuerdo.

26 September

We will start the day visiting the plains south of Trujillo for more bustards and other steppe birds.

Lunch will be south of Mérida at Alange where we will scout for Black Wheatear and hopefully find Bonelli’s Eagle.

Finally, we will spend an afternoon in Mérida, the capital city of Extremadura, focusing on birding from the Roman Bridge to spot egrets and Penduline Tit. At 790 metres, the Roman Bridge is longest surviving Roman bridge in the world. It straddles the Guadiana River in the heart of the city and is also probably the best place in Extremadura to see Purple Swamphen.

Dinner and overnight stay at Casa Rural El Recuerdo.

27 September

We will pay a visit to the Arrocampo Reservoir for more Purple Swamphen with chances for Penduline Tit and Bluethroat. We will also pop into the nearby mixed woodland for birds like Short-toed Treecreeper.

Later in the afternoon/early evening we will pay a visit to Trujillo and with a little luck plus using a bit of The Force we may be rewarded with an encounter with an urban Eagle Owl.

28 September

Transfer to Madrid for the flight home.

Special trip notes

The tour will depart from Madrid Terminal 1 at 14oohrs so it is imperative that participants arrange to arrive at the airport before that time. Indeed, you should aim to book flights that arrive at the airport by 1300hrs.

For the return flight, clients should book flights departing after 1500hrs on the final day.

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The pace of this tour will gentle. We will let the wildlife come to us

In Extremadura most of the region’s rain falls during the spring and autumn. The temperature will be warm and we can anticipate a chance of rain, but we should also be able to enjoy some sunshine as well.

Recommended literature

Collins Bird Guide – Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterström

Crossbill Guide for Extremadura

Martin Kelsey’s blog: birdingextremadura

Book now

  • Price: £1,300 per person plus flight
  • Group size: up to 8 participants
  • Single supplement: £115
  • Deposit: £260 per person
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date
  • For further details:


  • Please contact us if you have any other queries:

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

Price includes

  • Full board accommodation
  • Drinks and meals
  • Transport in a comfortable minibus
  • The services of your guides David Lindo (The Urban Birder) and Martin Kelsey
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • Incidental refreshments at cafes and bars, plus all additional drinks
  • Entry fees to monuments and museums (if desired)
  • Personal travel insurance


The whole package was just great. Casa rural El Recuerdo was a superb place to stay and we couldn’t have been looked after any better. The company was amazing, light hearted birding at its best, just what we wanted! We especially enjoyed the Alpine Swifts and Spanish Imperial Eagles. So pleased we visited AMUS (conservation centre & wildlife Hospital) too and we’re now able to support their valuable work.

Louise & Jim Bentley(Bolton, England)

Just to let you know I really enjoyed the week’s birding in Extremadura. I felt really welcome since we met at the airport. It was great to benefit from the in depth knowledge both you and Martin had of the birds in the area and it was nice to have the company of other birders in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

James Walsh(Leeds, England)

Thank you a really enjoyable few days, lots of birds, lots of wine, very nice accommodation really nice group.

Mike Beer(Cheltenham, England)