blog category: Birdwatching

  • Greater Flamingo

    16, Jun 2015 in Birdwatching
    It is one of the most emblematic occurring wild birds in Portugal, and can be observed in the Ria Formosa.
    The Greater Flamingo is a wading bird curved beak, which measures between 90 and 150 cm. Its plumage can be quite colorful in bright pink tones. They are animals that feed on algae and small crustaceans by filtration.
    Greater Flamingo are gregarious birds that live in large flocks along the wetlands. Some species can even inhabit extreme salinity zones.
    Come see them with Formosamar.
  • The Little Terns arrival to Ria Formosa

    5, Jun 2014 in Birdwatching

    Sternula albifrons
    (Pallas, 1764) is the smallest tern found in Europe, and that why it's called Little Tern.

    The Little Tern is almost half the size of the Common Tern and its length ranges from 21 up to 25 cm and a wingspan of 41 up to 47 cm. The juveniles have black bills with yellow base, and during breeding plumage the adults have a black crown and white forehead, yellow bill with a black tip, yellow legs and its upper parts are black, white and grey.

    This small coastal bird is classified as a vulnerable species, in Portugal. It's a migrator that visits the Ria Formosa Nature Park in Spring and Summer and spends the Winter in Africa (between Guinea and Camarões). Between 2000 and 2002, Ria Formosa has an estimated population of 440 breeding couples. Although the breeding population is stable since the 70's, there is a record of a reduction of their breeding areas, especially concerning the habitat reduction of the barrier islands which are decreasing at a rate of 1,7m/year. For this reason, the breeding areas of the Little Tern have been moving from the beach sandy areas towards the salt pans.

    It arrives to the Ria Formosa Nature Park mid April and starts to breed mid May. This species nests in colonies of about 2 to 50 couples. It's a beach nesting bird, preferring isolated barrier islands, between the vegetation and above the high water line and less frequently in salt pans. Its´ nests are a bare scrape in the ground, decorated with fragments of vegetation, small stones and shells. During courtship an interesting habit to see is the male offering small fish to the female.

    The Little Tern lays its first eggs (1 to 3 at a time) mid May. The eggs hatch after 20 days and both male and female are responsible for parental care. The newborns, 4/5 days old, start to leave the nest to more protected areas. After 20 days, the chicks are ready to fly and they start their first migration route along with their parents. They will be fed by both parents for the next 2 to 3 months.

    The Little Tern feeding habits are mainly of small fish and eventually they also feed of insects, molluscs and annelids. To catch their prey, they fly over the water, scanning for fish, and as soon as they spot one they stop and start hovering, flapping their wings very fast, doing an incredible fast dive to catch their prey.

    The Little Tern is one of the most frequently sighted species in Ria Formosa during spring and summer, so if you want to see this lovely bird closely we invite to join us on our boat tours departing from Faro or from Tavira.

  • Boat Trips in the Ria Formosa and Nature Photography

    30, Sep 2013 in Birdwatching
    During September, Carlos Rio – a Portuguese nature photographer joined us one of our boat trips in the Ria Formosa, one of the most important wetlands for birds in Portugal and an extraordinary area for birdwatching in the Algarve.

    During his boat trip, Carlos took many pictures and was very kind to share some of his work with us.

    Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
    Ria Formosa - Carlos Rio

    Bar Tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

    Ria Formosa - Carlos Rio

    As one can see by his pictures, a boat trip in the Ria Formosa provides excellent opportunities for those who are interested in nature photography.
  • Birdwatching Tours in the Ria Formosa | Algarve

    19, Mar 2013 in Birdwatching
    Late February, Phil and Jean joined one of our birdwatching tours in the Ria Formosa.

    Bárbara was guiding this birding tour out on the Nature Park. We explored the area of Ludo and Quinta do Lago, one of best spots for birdwatching in the Algarve.

    The sun was shining and we had no wind, the morning was perfect for birding. We had excellent views of many species of birds and Phill was very kind to share with us excellent photos of some of the species observed.

    » Hoopoe - and exotic looking bird frequently in the Algarve

    » Ludo is an excellent site for birdwatching in the Algarve and the Purple Swamphen is one of highlights of this birding tour.

    » We were quite lucky and had excellent views of the Glossy Ibis

    » Spoonbill - view of this species is always a treat.

    And we observed many more bird species. It was a great morning out in the company of Phill and Jean.
    Once again thanks for the photos.

    If you enjoy birding, check our birdwatching tours and nature walks in the Algarve.