Madeira Archipelago Birds


Madeira Birds

List of identified bird species

Seabirds Landbirds

quoting  Slightly 335 species and subspecies of birds have been recorded in the Madeira archipelago.

The recent work of the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Archipelago of Madeira confirmed a total of 46 breeding birds, which 11 are seabirds and the rest landbirds. All species are protected by law and most of their breeding habitats are located in protected areas.

In recent years some of the endangered and vulnerable species as well as their habitats have been target of conservation projects.

Zino's Madeira Petrel Pterodroma Madeira
Madeira's / Zino's Petrel © René Pop

The number of breeding birds on the archipelago isn't high but includes unique and very special birds restricted to the region. Four species are endemic to Madeira: the threatened Madeira's / Zino's Petrel which have their breeding sites in the mountains of Madeira Island and the Desertas Petrel that breed in Bugio, one of the three islands of Desertas Islands. With a population of about 10000 individual each, the Trocaz Pigeon and the Madeiran Firecrest - the smallest bird in the island - are also limited geographically and breed in the unique Madeira Laurel forest.

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Besides the endemic species, there are other birds in Madeira represented by unique subspecies, such as the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo hartreti), the Barn Owl (Tyto alba schmitzi), Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs madeirensis)Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea schmitzi) and the Linnet (Carduelis cannabina guentheri).

quoting  23% of the birds of Madeira are endemic from Macaronesia.

 Birdwatching in Madeira

Birdwatching in Madeira Island - Roberto Moritz
Birdwatching in Madeira Island
© Roberto Mortiz

Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts travel around the world to discover the unique heritage of each different location and Madeira is no exception. An oceanic island born in the Atlantic and isolated ever since from the mainland created a unique environment on where its species developed unique characteristics. This peculiar set offers a high ornithological potential and therefore the endemic Madeira birds are one of the main reason and attraction for birdwatchers from all over the world to visit the Island.

quoting  While on the Island, visitors have their eyes set on the possibility of watching the two island endemic land birds: The Trocaz Pigeon and the Madeiran Firecrest but the Holy Grail for birdwatchers is by far the seabirds that can be observed in Madeira seas during their breeding season, such as the two rare endemic species of the island: Madeira’s / Zino’s Petrel and the Desertas Petrel


Pelagic Birding Trip at Madeira Archipelago
© B&C

In Madeira, birdwatching is possible all year around with the possibility of watching resident birds in their different habitats, although during the migratory season its possible to watch different species that use the archipelago grounds as a pitstop to rest from their journeys. Due to its dams of water consequenceof a dry climate, the island of Porto Santo Island is one of the best spots to watch migratory birds and rarities as well as Madeira where it is possible to watch seabirds passing in their migratory routes from specific seawatching spots. Between April and August, it's possible to visit one of the Island’s highest peaks on an exclusive night tour to Zino's Petrel breeding grounds where you can hear the birds communicate between themselves.



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