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Birdwatching at Wetlands and Riverbanks in Madrid 2024

The wetlands of Madrid are home to a variety of waterfowl that gather around water in great numbers during dry summer months

Best time: June–August

Birdwatching at Wetlands and Riverbanks
Birdwatching at Wetlands and Riverbanks
Birdwatching at Wetlands and Riverbanks

The Madrid region has many gravel lakes that are nice birdwatching spots. The most famous bird observed here is the purple swamphen, whose silver-bluish body contrasts with a bright red beak and legs. Other inhabitants of rivers and lakes are Eurasian penduline tits, which are often observed on trees and shrubs near water bodies. The wetlands of Madrid are also home to little bitterns, Western marsh harriers, great crested grebes, black-necked grebes, and great reed warblers.

Bird watchers are advised to go to this area in the summer because the birds there are particularly numerous around water during hot days. Besides, in the rainy seasons, these areas might get flooded.

The most popular spots for bird watching are the Mar de Ontígola in the Southeast, the Laguna de San Juan near Chinchón, and gravel pits near the rivers Jarama, Manzanares, and Henares.

Practical info

When is the best time of the year to go birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands and riverbanks?

The dry summer months from June to August are ideal for birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands. During this period, waterfowl throng vertical water sources in the region on hot days, making it an optimal time for bird watchers. The rainy season, when the area experiences flooding, is not a recommended time to go birdwatching. Show more

Where are the most recommended spots for birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands and riverbanks?

The Mar de Ontígola, Laguna de San Juan, and gravel lakes in the Jarama, Manzanares, and Henares rivers are the popular spots for birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands. Several species of birds, including the purple swamphen, Eurasian penduline tits, little bitterns, Western marsh harriers, great crested grebes, black-necked grebes, and great reed warblers, thrive in these gravel pits. Show more

What types of waterfowl can be observed in Madrid's wetlands during the summer?

Madrid's wetlands have a diverse collection of waterfowl such as the purple swamphen, which is famous for its red beak and legs. Eurasian penduline tits, little bitterns, Western marsh harriers, great crested grebes, black-necked grebes, and great reed warblers are some of the other orders of waterfowl that bird watchers can observe during the summer season. Show more

How can birdwatchers prepare themselves for birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands and riverbanks?

To enjoy birdwatching in Madrid's wetlands and riverbanks, bird watchers must pack appropriate gear such as comfortable walking shoes, a camera, binoculars, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and water. Wearing light clothing is also essential as the region usually gets hot during the summer months. Show more

What other wildlife can be observed in Madrid's wetlands other than waterfowl?

Other than waterfowl, the wetlands in Madrid have a thriving population of other animals like the European otter, the common kingfisher, and the rare Iberian lynx. Relatively unspoiled vegetation in the wetlands as bulrushes, reedbeds, and salt marshes homes diverse insects and non-aquatic birds that serve as prey and food source for the waterfowl observed in this region. Show more

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