Birdwatching in the Azores

birdwatching azores

Birdwatching in the Azores


Birdwatching in the Azores is an activity for which the archipelago is little known, but amongst birders the Azores are gaining a reputation of being a hidden gem where one can observe some of the rarest birds in the world. That’s why we believe that all the visitors at the British Birdwatching Fair in Rutland – one of the biggest birdwatching events in the world – will quickly fall in love with the riches of the Azores and the rare species one can only find out about on these islands.


Azorean Endemic Bird Species

Given its location, the Azores has a variety of birds that is impossible to match elsewhere on the globe, firstly because of it’s endemic species like the Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) found in a small patch of forest in the Nordeste area, close to Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, Monteiro’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma monteiroi) and some American species as well, including many Nearctic rarities, specially during Autumn making the islands a privileged birding location. In total, the Azores has around thirty nesting species, but the number of observed and reported species is around 400, some of which are extremely rare and making their debut appearance in the Western Palearctic.


In some locations like Paul da Pedreira on Terceira island these American species find a sanctuary, thus our Terceira Mar Hotel in Angra do Heroísmo – especially before and after the summer season – hosts many guests who come here in search of these species. Some American species to be found in the Azores include the common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Wilson’s snipe (Gallinago delicata) and the Jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus). Sightings have also been registered of white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus), Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope) and the American wigeon (Anas americana).


Aside from these species it is also possible to encounter, among others, the Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria), that can be found across Macaronesia along with many endemic subspecies: the buzzard (Buteo buteo rothschildi) which is the symbol of the Azores, the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs moreletti), the Azores wood pigeon (Columba palumbus azorica) or even the tiny São Miguel goldcrest (Regulus regulus azoricus, R. r. sanctaemariae, R. r. inermis). The Azores are also home to the largest breeding population of Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia borealis) who are quite easy to recognize because of their characteristic call, and the roseate tern (Sterna dougallii).


Bird Diversity in the Azores

The Azores Islands present a great diversity of species throughout the year but there is a considerable variation in what is present at different times. While the rare azorean bullfinch and the azorean endemic subspecies can be seen all year round, the migratory bird species are more usally seen between September and May. As to the resident marine birds, the best watching period is from May up until late November.



In order to promote and actively collaborate with wildlife conservation efforts, Bensaude Hotels regularly works with the Azores Bullfinch Environmental Center (Centro Ambiental do Priolo) and the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves)  an agency that along with the Birds of the Azores site promote a Big Year, an event popular among birders worldwide, that also took place in the archipelago.


Resources for Birdwatchers

To get more acquainted with all the observable species of the Azores and birds information, we would suggest the Azores Bird Club, which offers an extensive list of all the endemic species, visitors and rare bird sightingsThe Azorean Biodiversity Portal also has loads of useful information about all the birds of the Azores, along with the site Birds of the Azores (Aves dos Açores) which, aside from organizing the Big Year, has a list of the best spots for every island. A few azorean companies are also offering bird watching tours, such as Gerby Birding, owned by Gerbrand Michielsen, one of the most renowned specialists in the field and the author of an acclaimed Azores bird guide.


Bensaude Hotels supplies its guests throughout the year with advice on how to know more about all of the biodiversity of the Azores, in their hotels in Ponta Delgada, Furnas, Angra do Heroísmo and in the city of Horta, highlighting and contributing to the preservation of the things that make these islands in the middle of the Atlantic truly exceptional.


No birder’s field notebook will ever be complete without a birwatching expedition to the Azores, so start preparing your binoculars and the rest of your gear and get ready for an unforgettable journey in these beautiful Islands, with the guarantee of excellence that only the Bensaude Hotels can assure. After all, we’ve been doing it for more than 80 years.


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Hotels in the Azores Islands

Sao Miguel Island

in Ponta Delgada

in Furnas Village

Hotel Marina Atlantico Hotel Açores Atlantico São Miguel Park Hotel Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Portugal Mainland
Terceira Island
Faial Island

Hotels in Lisbon

in Angra do Heroismo

in Horta

Hotel Açores Lisboa Terceira Mar Hotel Hotel do Canal


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