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Oristano - BirdForum Opus

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Europe, Sardinia


The Gulf of Oristano lies on the west coast of central Sardinia and together with the surrounding wetlands forms one of the best birding areas on the entire island.

Much of the area around the old town of Oristano is now used for fish farming or rice growing but the numbers and variety of birds remains of international importance.

Among the complex of wetlands are a range of habitats including salt, brackish and freshwater lagoons, extensive reedbeds and grazing land as well as sandy beaches and dunes and rocky coasts.

Sale Porcus is a Laga Italiana Protezione Uccelli reserve and one of the best areas although the nearby Cabras and Mari e Pauli, S'Ena Arrubia and Mistras areas should not be missed.


Notable Species

Breeding birds of this important area include Western Swamphen, Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Gull-billed Tern and Little Tern, Slender-billed Gull and Collared Pratincole, all of which breed at Sale Porcus.

In addition, Mari e Pauli has Red-crested Pochard and Ferruginous Duck nests at S'Ena Arrubia.

Other species of interest breeding in the area include Stone-curlew, possibly Little Bustard, Montagu's Harrier and Lesser Kestrel. European Bee-eater, Calandra Lark and Greater Short-toed Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler and Great Reed Warbler and Rock Sparrow are all common over much of the Oristano area.

Passage periods bring a larger selection of species such as grebes, waterfowl and herons, Osprey and Short-eared Owl, and waders. Most of the regular waders of Europe can be seen here during passage periods as well as scarcer species such as Marsh Sandpiper. Various herons, Glossy Ibis and Audouin's Gull are usually present in small numbers and the wintering flock of Greater Flamingo at Sale Porcus has reached 8000.

In total, tens of thousands of waterbirds use this hugely important area each autumn and winter.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Barbary Partridge, Water Rail, Western Swamphen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Common Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, European Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Hooded Crow, Spotless Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

Oristano is about 90km north of Cagliari and can be reached on Route 131. To find Sale Porcus head north from Oristano on the S292, turning off just past Riola Sardo towards Putzu Idu and follow the LIPU signs.

Cabras and Mari e Pauli can be seen from the Riola Sardo to Cabras road.

Mistras lies to the east of Oristano, follow signs for Torre Grande then Giovanni Sinis. S'Ena Arrubia is about 12km to the south of Oristano on the Arborea road.

Contact Details

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External Links


Content and images originally posted by Steve