Deep in Autumn, November tends to be a good month for some migratory birds to stop by Madeira, normally waders and ducks... Let's see which bird species will pass by Madeira this year!
11th of November 2022 at Madeira airport - reported by Stefan (GER)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinoides
October is normally a good month for vagrant birds and with the 'delayed' hurricane season in the Atlantic we might get some special vagrants being blown off their course and stopping by...
19th of October 2022 at Machico
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularius
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
September is starting with some easterly winds which during migration are good to blow some birds out of their course, into Madeira...
28th of September 2022 at Machico
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularius
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
22 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
In August starts some of the migration and depending from where the winds blow, Madeira might get some vagrant birds passing/stopping by...
30th of August 2022 off Porto Moniz - observed by Michel (NED)
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
41 Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
101 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
3 Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
7 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Great Skua Stercorarius skua
66 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Light wind does not help seabirds' migration and it gets more difficult to watch Madeiran storm petrel as well... Anyway, it was a comfortable pelagic expedition with some great views of different species, especially Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii who are constantly passing by the chum slick.
15th August 2022 - SW breeze shifting between 0 and 5 knots with westerly swell of 0.5 meters
2 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - sitting on the water on the way up
2 Great shearwater Puffinus gravis
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus - flew by a bit far
2 Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus graellsii
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
18 Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - flew by far from the boat
Madeira Archipelago offers good conditions to birdwatchers, not only in terms of breeding birds but also vagrant bird species. Though there are only 47 breeding species to these islands, about half of them are endemic species or subspecies to Madeira or to Macaronesia region (Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands).
Madeira has three endemic species: Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz which is associated with the native forest of Madeira: the Laurel Forest; Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis, normally observed on forested areas and the rare Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira, a threatened seabird that nests on the highest mountains of Madeira. Regarding the Macaronesia bird species, one may observe Fea's/Desertas Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro, Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria, Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotti and the Plain Swift Apus unicolor.
One interesting feature of birding in Madeira is the high number of endemic subspecies from which the ornithological highlights go to the bluish Madeiran Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis and the darker colours of Barn Owl Tyto alba schmitzi and Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea schmitzi.
However, seabirds are the major attraction for birdwatchers because there are several colonies of world importance. In Madeira archipelago one may find 8 breeding seabirds species namely the rare Pterodromas (P. feae and P. madeira), Barolo's Shearwater Puffinus baroli, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro and White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca. This last species being confined to breed in Selvagens Islands but observed offshore on Wind Birds' Pelagic Expeditions.
A pelagic trip on Madeira or seawatching from the coast gives you also the chance to observe some vagrant birds like Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis, Great Skua Stercorarius skua, Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus or European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus, between others;
Join one of Wind Birds tours and you will see not only Madeira birds but also amazing landscapes which are out of the common tourist routes!