Top 10 Birds of Sierra Norte of Seville
Sierra Norte of Sevilla is part of Sierra Morena, the mountain range located in the north of Andalusia, from Jaén to Huelva. A part of this territory (177.500 hectares) is protected as Natural Park. Joining the neigbouring natural parks of Sierra Morena, they form the biggest protected area in all Europe.
The main habitats are Mediterranean scrubland and forest. A big part of the former forest was converted to “Dehesas”, a men-made open forest of Cork and Olm Oak very important for both, wildlife and farmers, that raise Iberian pigs and cows there.
More than 220 different species of birds have been registered here, an important number for an area situated inland. The most prominent group are raptors, with a high diversity and density. Following, our personal top 10 of the birds of Sierra Norte of Seville:
① Spanish Imperial Eagle: Sierra Norte of Seville is the best area of western Andalusia for the Spanish Imperial Eagle. We have the presence of near 20 nesting pairs. They are joined for an important number of inmatures, who use some areas as dispersive range due to the high number of rabbits, their main prey. Due to the higt density, the probability of observation is quite high.
② Boenlli’s Eagle: Andalusia is one of the most important regions for the Bonelli’s eagle in all Spain, with more than 300 pairs. In Sierra Norte is the rarest eagle, with around 5 nesting pairs joined by some inmatures in the areas with higher rabbit densities. The nesting pairs are very attached to their territories, helping to their observation.
③ Golden Eagle: The Golden Eagle is the biggest eagle of Sierra Norte, and with more than 40 pairs one of the most commonly seen. Although usually they prefer nests on cliffs, its scarcity causes that in Sierra Norte it nests mainly on big trees.
④ Cinereous Vulture: The Cinereous or Eurasian Black Vulture, with 3 meters of wingspan, is the biggest European raptor. Although it is threatened at a worldwide level, in Sierra Norte is easy to find, due to the presence of two different colonies, one with around 140 pairs, and another incipient with a few couples. The whole area is part of their feeding range.
⑤ Eurasian Griffon Vulture: The number of nesting pairs (around 125) of Griffon Vulture is limited by the low availability of cliffs where they can nest. Anyway, inmatures and vultures from other areas have their feeding range in Sierra Norte, making possible the observation of hundreds in a single day.
⑥ Black Stork: The nesting range of the Black Stork in Spain is restricted to the southwest of the country. In Sierra Norte of Seville is a summer and elusive bird. It is considered in danger of extinction in Andalusia, but Sierra Norte, with near 40 nesting pairs, is one of the main strongholds in Spain, where te total nesting population is situated around 400 pairs.
⑦ Iberian Magpie: The Iberian (or Azure-winged) Magpie is endemic of the Iberian Peninsula. They are gregarious all over the year and have their optimum in the Dehesas. That makes Sierra Norte of Seville a perfect place where look for them. Flocks of more than 100 are possible to observe here.
⑧ Iberian Green Woodpecker: The Iberian Green Woodpecker, formerly considered conespecific with the Eurasian Green Woodpecker, is endemic of the Iberian peninsula. Although in some areas they are shy, the high density in Sierra Norte of Seville give us the chance of hear and observe them easily.
⑨ White-rumped Swift: The White-rumped Swift is and African bird, first recorded in Spain in 1964. Now still as a located and scarce bird in southwestern Spain, with probably less than 200 pairs in all the country. In Sierra Norte are known a small number of localities with regular presence all summers.
⑩ Little Swift: The Little Swift is another African (and Asiatic) swift, even more recent colonizer of Spain than the White-rumped Swift. The first one in Spain was recorded in 1981. Nowadays, apart from the coast of Cádiz, Sierra Norte of Seville is one of the only Spanish localities with regular presence.