In the warm waters of the Mediterranean, between mainland Europe and Africa, sits the island of Menorca. With a warm climate for most of the year, great thermal air currents and an amazingly diverse ecological system, Menorca is a safe haven for almost 300 species of birds (five that are a globally endangered species) who make this a stopover on their migration between Europe and Africa.
The island has many varied ecosystems, from deep mountain gorges to rolling, shrub covered hills and from classic urban environments to extensive, untouched marshlands. In fact, the word “untouched” is perhaps the key.
Less visited than its neighbour Majorca, Menorcan wildlife habitats have remained, to a great extent, in their original, pristine condition. The wildlife, including the birds, settle there in confidence and relative safety.
It’s no surprise then that birdwatching in Menorca attracts ornithologists and enthusiastic birdwatchers from the UK and the entire world. In just one trip to the island, at almost any time of the year, there are dozens and dozens of different species to be found – some commonplace and other more exotic to identify and watch.
Just a Glimpse of What Awaits You
Unfortunately, to provide a comprehensive guide to Menorca’s bird population would take volumes. What we hope is that, by giving you just a brief insight into the variety of birdlife you’ll encounter while birdwatching in Menorca, you’ll be inspired to come and visit again!
The Nightingale (Luscinia Megarhynchos)
Long a favourite of poets thanks to its lovely song, the Nightingale will usually be found in large numbers during the spring and summer as it makes its way to Europe after spending the winter in Africa. Spring and early summer is the best time to catch this bird as the island is packed with them, all busily singing with their powerful voices, serenading you as you explore this wonderful island.
Slender-Billed Curlew (Numenius Tenuirostris)
This is one of the five endangered bird species that you may, if you are very lucky, find on Menorca. It breeds in marchland, so if you stand any chance of spotting it then it will most probably be in the marshes of San Bou in the south where it spends the winter months. With a long, slender beak, the bird is similar to many other curlews but one of its main identifying marks are its white under wings. If you do spot one, record when and where for it will be an achievement!
Red Kite (Milvus Milvus)
The Red Kite is a magnificent bird of prey in the Accipitridae family. It’s a resident of Menorca and so can be seen throughout the year. As with many birds of prey, the Kite uses the island’s thermal air currents to save energy as it searches for prey. The bird has a long wingspan, bright yellow eyes and a forked tail which acts as a rudder. It’s true that the Red Kite can also be found in the UK, but watching this magnificent bird as it soars and glides over the Menorcan landscape is a sight not to be missed.
And while we are on the subject of birds of prey – during your birdwatching adventure in Menorca you’ll have a unique opportunity to see many different types of these magnificent creatures: Kestrels, Booted Eagles, Red-footed Falcon, Egyptian Vultures, Montagu’s Harrier to name but a few.
Somewhere to Stay
Birdwatching in Menorca will have you out and about at all hours of the day and night – so you might want to consider renting an apartment rather than a hotel. Coming back in the early hours of the morning, you may want a hot meal. In an apartment, that is no problem. In a hotel, room service and lots of cash parts hands.
Brenda Jaaback, Managing Director of Bartle Holidays, is a renowned Menorca expert. From its history to its people and from its wildlife to its cuisine, no secret of the island remains hidden to her. Personally selecting the finest properties for her clients, Brenda is the go-to person for anyone planning a relaxing holiday to go birdwatching in Menorca or to simply enjoy the stunning natural environment. Bartle Holidays makes no warranty as to the accuracy of information contained in this article and excludes any liability of any kind for the information.
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