To talk about birding in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar is to talk about raptor migration. Indeed, this is one of the busiest migration corridors on earth. Twice a year thousands of raptors use the Strait as a bridge between their natal region in Europe and their winter quarters south of the Sahara.
Which is best, spring or autumn migration? That’s the eternal question and it does have a simple answer: these are so different that you need to experience both!
Up to 36 raptor species have been recorded in the Strait in recent years. However, the huge concentrations of raptors are a more significant indicator of the magnitude of this phenomenon. For instance, over 20,000 Honey Buzzards, 9,000 Black Kites, 5,000 Short-toed Snake Eagles, 3,500 Booted Eagles and 200 Egyptian Vultures have been observed in a single day of migration!
To make things even more spectacular, up to 5 different raptor species are frequently found thermalling in the same updraft. The sight of eagles struggling to fly over the ocean and finally reaching the shore is equally breathtaking! They keep their beak open to cool themselves because of the effort. Every single day of raptor migration in the Strait is a masterclass on raptor ID and ecology. Also, and above all, an ultimate natural spectacle for any audience!
Contact us to arrange a birding trip for you that focuses on Raptor Migration!