Ornithologically, the Tagus (Tejo) is the most important estuary in Portugal with all regular northern European waders either wintering here or visiting on passage and a total of over 240 species recorded in all.
Partly a Natural Reserve, the estuary is very wide with extensive mudflats and saltmarshes, and large reedbeds in the north. Some of the area has been used for saltpans and fish farming, there are drainage dykes, arable land, pasture and ricefields around the river.
Further inland there are small woodlands and eucalyptus plantations.
Breeding birds include Little Bittern, Little Egret and Purple Heron, Marsh Harrier and Montagu's Harrier, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole and Little Tern. Small numbers of Red-crested Pochard are present all year.
The reedbeds have Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler and other warblers and Stone-curlew and Calandra Lark breed on adjacent farmland. Little Bustard occurs all year but in the largest numbers in winter.
Hunting over the farmland are Black-winged Kite and Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle. The woodland patches have Short-toed Treecreeper, European Nightjar and Red-necked Nightjar, Iberian Magpie and many passerines.
Passage waders include Curlew Sandpiper, Common Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit in their thousands and many others in smaller numbers. Other migrants include Eurasian Spoonbill and Greater Flamingo, Mediterranean Gull and Black Tern and many passerines.
Birds you can see here include:
Black-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, European Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Red Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Common Quail, Water Rail, Baillon's Crake, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Northern Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Red Knot, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Red-necked Nightjar, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Wood Lark, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Water Pipit, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Bluethroat, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Western Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff, Common Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Crested Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow, Common Waxbill, European Serin, Common Crossbill, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Situated to the east of Lisbon the estuary is vast but the areas most worthy of investigation are found south of the N10 between the Tagus and the River Sorraia, and further south between the estuary and the N118.
Further south still is the Paul da Barroca with Cork Oak woods and ricefields, as well as many native reedbeds species there are three birds breeding here ferally; Yellow-crowned Bishop, Red Avadavat and Village Weaver.
Access and Facilities
Lisbon has plentiful accommodation to suit all tastes but there are also guesthouse in the smaller towns around the region.
Local public transport can be used to get to the main areas but a hire car is a much better option.
Content and images originally posted by Steve
Ferry from Praca de Commercio on the estuary in Lisbon to Montijo and then local bus to Alcochete is a good start to this region. Great wader variety at Montijo harbour with hundreds of avocets, stilts and godwits amongst others. This was late February, much less in August. There is a reserve office in Alcochete which has useful info. A day walking around the area will realise many of the resident birds. Try especially the saltpans between Montijo and Alcochete. There are supposedly boat trips available, but when I was there could not locate the chap or his boat. Had over 75 species in a morning. Good accomodation available in either village and much cheaper then Lisbon. I recommend Dave Gosney's guide to the birds of southern Portugal as an excellent introductory guide albeit now some 6 years old. Last time I was there I wondered why the pavements were all boarded off as I walked up the middle of a sanded road. Soon realised as 4 bulls came charging down the road. I was festival day! Had time to climb on to a telephone box roof. From this vantage point had sardinian warbler and blackcap. Late February already has breeding martins. Serins and calandra lark everywhere. If anyone visits here please let me know as I think its a wonderful place and plan to visit before 2007 is finished. Cheers, Jono
- superb birding