Portugal has been a wonderful destination for birdwatching and one of the country’s best birdwatching areas is Sado estuary in Setubal. If you are a birdwatching fan and you haven’t visited this place before, then the range of species here might well surprise you.
The Sado estuary is a Ramsar site of international importance. Here you can watch around 70.000 birds of more then 250 different species, all year round. The estuary incorporates a number of different habitats, ranging from inter-tidal mudflats, salt marshes, salt pans, rice fields, reed beds and river beaches, to sand-dunes, small dams and slopes covered in cork and pine.
Some of the areas of major interest include: Gâmbia, Zambujal, Pinheiro, Monte Novo de Palma, Batalha, Cachopos, Carrasqueira and Comporta.
This sparsely populated region is a vital stronghold for Great and Little Bustards - and excellent for birds of prey, too. Resident Eurasian Black Vultures and Eurasian Griffons share the skies with Spanish Imperial, Golden and Bonelli's Eagles, and by late February, the first Lesser Kestrels should be returning from their winter quarters in Africa.
Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Heron, Purple Swamphen and Eurasian Penduline-tit... all are to be looked for. More birds like Black Stork, Calandra and Thekla Larks, Eurasian Crag Martin, Blue Rock-thrush, Spanish Sparrow and Rock Bunting are among other exciting species to watch for as you can listen for the tell-tale chuckling of Black-bellied Sandgrouse flying over the steppe.
Each year this region is attracting more and more people from across the world interested in birdwatching and if you come to Setubal you have a bonus, because you might as well observe the small and unique population of Bottle-nosed Dolphins, resident in the estuary.
There are several birdwatching tours available in the Setubal estuary. Contact us if you're interested to know more.
Watch our It's Spring time in Setúbal video with images of several birds you can watch in Setubal estuary.