Madrid, Hot birding?

Madrid is Spain's capital, and it is also a capital place to find birds in Europe. Besides, Spain holds Europe's largest populations of many species, including Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti), Great (Otis tarda) and Little (Tetrax tetrax) bustards, Eurasian Black vulture (Aegypius monachus), Purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) or Black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), all of them can be seen within Madrid Province.

Other birds such as Citril finch (Carduelis citrinella), Red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis), Eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), Scops owl,  Stone curlew, Bee-eaters, Roller, Griffon vulture...can be seen too.

general terms
  • duration of trips:
    • half day trip (5 h)
    • full day trip (8-10 h)
    • more days/ time previous arrangement.
  • guides: local English-speaking Spanish guides. Biologist, birds lovers.
  • food / transport: food provided (picnic-lunch and water/soft). Full transport from/ to Hotel, checklist, guiding services...
  • prices: depending on duration, number of persons or special requirements, different prices. Usually based on 2 persons.
  • travel insurance: please note that travel insurance is NOT INCLUDED in the prices so it´s strongly suggested that you arrange your own insurance.
  • recommendations: confortable and casual clothes from april  - october; winter clothes in winter. Mountain boots. Information about birding sites, accomodation and local food will be provided if required, after booking.

    • Red-necked nightjar trip: (from 5/6/7pm to 11-11:30pm mid May, June, July, mid August)
    • Citril finch trip: all year round
    • Owls trip extension: all year round, better in spring-summer
    • Iberian Lynx trip (best january)
    • Bustards & Spanish Imperial Eagle: all year round

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Some testimonials

John Swales, University of Michigan, USA, May: I have been out birding twice on day trips around Madrid with Aitor. Both were excellent, transport, company, picnic lunch, birds found, all excellent. Indeed...I found a grand total of 14 raptor species in a single day, a total that I have never approached before, nor would hope to equal again (except with Aitor!) If anybody wants further information, I can be most easily reached at Professor Emeritus of Linguistics.  

Claudius Feger, NY, May: "What a fabulous day in a spectacular landscape!..You were a great guide and person to be with! Thank you!". It exceeded all my expectations. Although it was "only" an afternoon we saw 70 species. 

Sean & Kim Ashton, UK, November: "...Thanks very much for a wonderful day". Aitor was very charming, thoughtful and knowedeagle, and worked hard to make sure that we had a great day and saw so much. We stopped fo lunch...there  were Black and Griffon vultures sat in the field...too heavy after feeding to get off the ground...we heard an unfamiliar noise behind us,..a Spanish Imperial Eagle!...a small flock of azure-winged magpies then cross the lane just in front of the car...Great Bustards in flight across flat dry fields, Blue-rock thrushes...melodious warblers and zitting cisticola...Aitor was a superb guide..and I recommend him to everyone!!

David Broughton, Canada: My wife and I went on a full day. We had a great time, as Aitor knows the best areas to see lots of raptors like Golden Eagle, and such local specialities as Great Bustard. He was very helpful in assisting us to identify local birds and in making effort to find the species of interest to us. I would recommend Aitor's services for anyone who is looking to do some birding in and around Madrid.

Rose Robert, London: We had a wonderful day with Aitor. Aitor was very knowledgable indeed about the birds and you took us to three (or was it four?) different places where we saw lots of birds - very impressive. It was very interesting and informative. 

Dr. Hank Webster, Pennylvania: The birding trip that Aitor arranged met our expectations and provided us an excellent introduction to the birds in the Madrid region. An added bonus was the oportunity to explore the surrounding landscapes and land uses which are quite different from northwestern pennylvania. the timing of our trip permitted us observe a number of raptors, with views of the Spanish Eagles being exceptional. our day was well organised and efficiently conducted. My students and myself added signicantly to our life lists. Thank you!!

Barbara Kelley, Bishop, California: On a hot July afternoon Aitor took me birding to two sites near Madrid. With my brief visit to the area it was the only time we could go. despite the heat and time of day. I would say it was a very "birdly" afternoon and evening! We saw 50 especies, almost all of them new for me. Aitor was an excellent guide. He is careful with his identification, to me an important aspect of birding. He was focused and we waste no time. Also,he is very friendly and considerable! I would not hesitate to go with him again, and highly recommend him! Feel free to contact me at: if you like.

Mario Dávalos, Puerto Rico, December: Excelente el viaje..el tour muy bueno y Mario muy profesional (Mario is one of the colleagues which also run birding trips)

Margaret, Anchorage, AlaskaOn January, In only eight hours, I saw 38 new species of birds, even though I have birded in Europe before.  He knew just where it was best to see certain species of birds and was very good at stalking and listening for birds so that we could get close enough to see them well and observe their behavior. We saw about 50 species of birds, including everything from small forest birds to huge soaring raptors. One highlight for me was when we saw about seventy great bustards in two different flocks and even watched them soar into view from up and over a hill to settle in a plowed field to feed. Another highlight was watching Spanish Imperial eagles, then seeing them joined by handsome griffon vultures and an enormous black vulture, all soaring right around us and over us! Amazing! This was one of the happiest birding trips I have ever been on. Thank you, Aitor!

James & Gill, UK: Having read the good reports on birding with Aitor, i decided to do a full day tour of various sites around Madrid. This not disappoint me, we had a fantastic time with him, and we got to see most of the birds described on his webpage as he will go that little bit further to make sure your trip exceeds expectations no matter the weather. At the end of the day, if you are staying in central Madrid what better way unwinding after a great day birding than a great meal over a glass of wine and recap of what you have just experienced.

Sean Grace, USAWe booked a day's birdwatching with Aitor when we visited Madrid for a long weekend last year. My mate has been 'twitching' in the UK before and we wanted to see something of the countryside around Madrid and I was a birdwatching novice. We spotted lots of different species, including Raptors, Buzzards, amazing flocks of goldfinches turning gold and brown as they went one way then the other in flight, azure-winged magpies, and then the bird everyone wants to see - the Spanish Imperial Eagle. Incredible! Aitor was very informative and really knows his birds. He speaks English, is a really friendly and even bought us a beer to round the day off! (though I can't promise that's part of the tour!). A great day and really good value for money and we would definitely do it again. I'd recommend it to anyone - whether you are a twicher or a novice, and it was so great to get a feel for the wildlife and countryside around Madrid on a citybreak.

Rebecca Buck, NJI was in Madrid, Spain for a brief courier trip, and I contacted Aitor to see if he could accompany me on a birding trip on October.  He agreed, and despite the bad weather of a rainy day. It was a wonderful day, with Azure Magpies, Great Bustards, raptors and the beautiful Blue Rockthrush.  We stayed fairly near the city and yet saw a good variety of habitats and birds.  He knows his stuff, and can find the good birds!

Debra Oberbeck, Montana, US: Our experience with Aitor was terrific. It was our first trip to Spain and we only dared to hope for the big 3, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Eurasian Black Vulture and the Griffon Vulture, but Aitor had all three in our sights in one afternoon! In addition, Aitor reported an uncommon for the area Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been seen at El Pardo and again, we were fortunate enough to see that as well.

We were impressed with Aitor's English skills which included knowing the birds by their English names as well. We spent a delightful afternoon with him.

M. Mottesheard, Houston, Texas: In March, Aitor is equal to the best bird guides I have had during my travels throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. He birds not only by sight but also by ear, thus ensuring that you won’t miss any birds that are around. We birded in the areas surrounding Madrid, and in the three short hours we were together we saw 40 species of birds. I have been birding for 15 years and am an avid birder. My native language is English and Aitor’s English was more than adequate. If you are looking for a highly trained, engaging bird guide, I can’t recommend Aitor highly enough!