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The spectacular plateau of Giara di Gesturi is situated in the south of Sardinia roughly midway between Cagliari and Oristano.
The uninhabited plateau is basaltic and covers an area of nearly 50km2 at an altitude of about 500m. This boulder-scattered landscape has large expanses of Cork Oak forest and Mediterranean maquis.
A good range of bird species can be seen on the plateau with raptors such as Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard particularly common and Northern Goshawk is also present. Little Bustard was once a breeder here and may still do so in small numbers.
Barbary Partridge and Calandra Lark find ideal habitat amongst the rocks and the scrub has the usual Sylvia warblers such as Marmora's Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Moltoni's Warbler and Sardinian Warbler.
The endemic Sardinian races of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Common Jay are common. Additional passerines include Wood Lark, Woodchat Shrike, European Stonechat and Cirl Bunting with Spotless Starling in the villages at the foot of the plateau.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Grey Heron, European Honey Buzzard, Red Kite, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Barbary Partridge, Little Bustard, Little Ringed Plover, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Common Woodpigeon, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Little Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Wood Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Marmora's Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Moltoni's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Common Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Common Jay, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, Spotless Starling, Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Corsican Finch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting
Although famous for its semi-wild horses the flora of the plateau is of particular interest and importance. Most of the more than twenty species of orchid found in Sardinia can be seen here and the maquis consists of a wide variety of species.
History and Use
Avoid the area on Sundays and holidays as it is widely used for shooting.
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Giara di Gesturi can be reached by taking the S197 road to the village of Gesturi and then a signposted minor road up onto the plateau. There is no accommodation on the plateau but camping is possible.
Content and images originally posted by Steve