With over 300 species regularly sighted across the islands, the Azores are one of Europe’s unsung bird watching destinations.

The archipelago is a stunning backdrop for anyone hoping to spot rare endemics, American vagrants and Nearctic waders. For many, the draw of an Azores bird watching holiday is a potential sighting of the priolo – the endemic Azores bullfinch. The population was estimated at just 400 in 2003, and its natural habitat in and around Sao Miguel’s Serra da Tronqueira mountain range was in danger of being lost due to the intensive farming of non-native Japanese cedar.

Pico do Vara (Sao Miguel’s highest point at 1103m) is now a protected, sub-tropical forest with many native plant species not seen on other parts of the island – including laurisilva which were once common across mainland Europe. By 2017, priolo numbers had risen to 1182 thanks to a number of funded and volunteer projects – their work continues.

Bird Watching

The Azores are also home to some of the world’s largest colonies of Cory’s shearwaters and Roseate terns – Monteiros petrols and Azorean goldcrests are also regularly sighted.

Tours vary from individual day trips as part of your bespoke holiday, to week-long focussed birding holidays spread across multiple islands. Trips are suitable for curious observers through to experienced ornithologists, all in the company of the resident naturalists.

For the dedicated twitcher, our popular October bird watching holiday takes you to the remote islands of Flores and Corvo – the undisputed hotspot for Western Palearctic rarities and a wealth of America vagrants: from shorebirds and wildfowl, to wood-warblers and vireos.


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