Top 10 Birds of Grazalema & Ronda Mountains

The Grazalema and Ronda Mountains are a complex of mountain ranges located in the north of the counties of Cádiz and Málaga. Most of this area is protected as a National Park and Natural Park: Sierra de las Nieves National Park in Málaga (22.979 ha) and Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in Cádiz (53.411 ha).

The main habitats are steep rocky areas and Mediterranean scrubland and forest. We must highlight also the “Pinsapar” or Spanih Fir forest, endemic from southern Spain.

Over 210 bird species have been registered here, a reasonable number for an area located inland and without outstanding wetlands. The most remarkable groups are the cliff raptors and the rock birds. Following, our personal top 10 of the birds of Grazalema & Ronda Mountains:

Egyptian Vulture

① Egyptian Vulture: As opposed to other Spanish vulture species, the Egyptian Vulture shows a negative trend, and it is declared at risk of extinction in Andalucia. Its main problems are the illegal use of poison and the wind farms It is extinct as nesting species in Ronda, but some pairs remain in Grazalema Mountains, traditionally one of its bastions in Andalucía.

Buitre leonado

②  Eurasian Griffon Vulture: The Eurasian Griffon Vulture is one of the most abundant birds of prey in Grazalema & Ronda Mountains, as one of the largest Spanish colonies is found here, with more than 700 nesting pairs inside the Grazalema Mountains Natural Park.

Bonelli's Eagle

③ Bonelli’s Eagle: The Grazalema & Ronda Mountains hold a good density of Bonelli’s Eagle, favoured by the profusion of cliffs where the eagles prefer to place their nests. For example, inside the protected area of Grazalema (53.400 ha) the number of nesting pairs is around 10.

Black Wheatear

④ Black Wheatear: The European distribution of this wheatear is restricted to Spain. Their main habitat are the rocky areas with patches of poorly vegetated soil. This is a common landscape in Grazalema and Ronda, where we can find a very good density of this bird.

Iberian Chiffchaff

⑤ Iberian Chiffchaff: The Iberian Chiffchaff is a nearly endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula, summer visitor of the Grazalema & Ronda Mountains. It inhabits the wet forests of different species of Quercus growing in this area. Despite its great resemblance to the Common Chiffchaff, its song is very helpful to its identification.

Red-billed Chough

⑥ Red-billed Chough: In Spain their main habitat are the steep areas, where they place their nests in inaccessible cliffs, in close proximity to open areas where they feed. In Grazalema & Ronda Mountains it is a common bird, and records of flocks of over 100 birds are usual.

Souther Grey Shrike

⑦ Southern Grey Shrike: The Southern Grey Shrike is a nearly endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula, that can be found in Spain, Portugal and southern France. It inhabits open fields with trees and scrubland, with a widespread range in Grazalema & Ronda Mountains.

Rock Sparrow

⑧ Rock Sparrow: Although in other Andalusian regions the Rock Sparrow inhabits open woodland or dehesas, Grazalema and Ronda Mountains they honor their name and are associated with cliffs. Although they place their nests there, they prefer open areas to feed. Easier to find during the spring and summer.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Roquero rojo

⑨ Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush: Unlike the Blue Rock Thrush, that is very common and widespread in Grazalema and Ronda, the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (or Common Rock Thrush) is a very located summer bird in this area. Its main habitat are steep rocky areas at the higher elevations of these mountains.

Subalpine Warbler

⑩ Western Subalpine Warbler: The subalpine warblers, formerly monospecific, have been split into 3 species in recent years: Western Subalpine Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler and Moltoni’s Warbler . In Grazalema and Ronda we can find the Western Subalpine Warbler, which is distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.

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