Places for animal watching

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Places for animal watching


There are ten Bird-Watching Trails in and around the south area of the Nature Reserve. They are easy to access and have stunningly beautiful landscapes. At the entrance you will find an information panel giving full details of the area, the bird species you can watch and the itinerary.

Here are some of the trails you can follow and the most interesting species you can find on each trail:

Cerrada de Utrero

Griffon vultures, kingfishers, white-throated dippers, red-billed choughs, golden orioles and alpine swifts.

Lake Valdeazores

Sparrowhawks, northern goshawks, grey herons, little grebes, common moorhens, mallards, coots, great crested grebe, tawny owls and golden orioles.

River Borosa

Northern goshawks, Eurasian eagle-owls, golden eagles, sparrowhawks, tawny owls, white-throated dippers, kingfishers, golden orioles, siskins and red-rumped swallows.

Cueva de La Malena

Griffon vultures, peregrine falcons, buzzards, kingfishers, common firecrest, crossbills and Bonelli’s warbler.

El Chorro

Booted eagles, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, northern goshawks, falcons, crag martins and crossbills.

La Presilla

Peregrine falcons, griffon vultures, little owls, red-billed choughs, black wheaters, cirl buntings, blue rock thrush, crag martins, siskings and redwing thrushes.

Upper Guadalquivir Nature Spot – La Cerrada bridge

Moorhens, marsh-harriers, Montagu’s harrier, black kites, water rails, gadwalls, northern shovellers, common pochards, reed warblers, common sandpipers and common ringed plovers.

El Chillar

Peregrine falcons, common kestrels, Eurasian eagle-owls, little owls, stone curlews, black-eared wheater, zitting cisticola, meadow pipits, rock sparrows, European bee-eaters, rollers and cattle egrets.

Guadalentín Canyon

Bearded vultures, golden eagles, short-toed snake eagles, booted eagles, Bonelli’s eagles, peregrine falcons, sparrowhawks, goshawks, citril finches, golden orioles, white-throated dippers, common firecrests and Bonellk’s warbler.

River Guazalamanco

Sparrowhawks, buzzards, goshawks, great spotted cuckoos, azure-winged magpies, white-throated dippers, wrens, golden orioles and robins.


One of the most well-known and noteworthy attractions of the Nature Reserve is the frequency with which wildlife can be spotted. Red deer, fallow deer, Spanish ibex, wild boar and several different kinds of birds of prey are common, owing to the extensive, rugged and unspoiled terrain.

However, it is important to bear in mind the following tips so that you are not disappointed in your expectations, and to spot the wild animals without disturbing them:

  • The presence of wild animals is always unpredictable. You cannot be certain of spotting them at any given place or at any given time. Please be reminded that the Nature Reserve is not a zoo.

  • Most of the animals you will see are quite far away. Binoculars will come in handy.
  • Watching wild animals in their natural habitat depends on several environmental conditions, such as the weather, the season and the time of day. As a rule, early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see large herbivores. The best time to spot large birds of prey is midday, when they are riding the warm air currents to fly at slow speeds.
  • You will have to be patient and wait a while to spot the large herbivores because the colour of their coats serves to camouflage them. Usually you won’t see them until they move.
  • Be careful to intrude upon the animals’ natural environment as little as possible. Here are some simple rules you can follow to make it easier to spot animals without disturbing them:
    • Above all, take care of the natural surroundings and remember that you are there to watch.
    • Try to go as unnoticed as possible. It is better to go alone or in small groups, wearing appropriate clothing that blends in with the surroundings. Animals are likely to detect your presence before you detect theirs because their fear of us is genetically ingrained after being hunted by humans for thousands of years.
    • Silence is essential. Take the opportunity to listen and interpret all the sounds in nature that you don’t normally notice.
    • Never run after the animals or try to get too close to their nests and breeding areas. You could cause irreparable damage and risk an aggressive reaction.
    • It is not a good idea to stray from the paths and trails.
    • All the species are protected by laws that you must not breach. Follow the rules for your own safety.
  • There are specialised companies in the Nature Reserve that are authorised to organise trips in off-road vehicles to take visitors to the areas that are off-limits for the general public. These are the areas where wildlife is frequently spotted.
  • The rutting season is one of the most popular events in the Nature Reserve. Normally, the most popular place to witness it is the Bujariaza area, near the Tranco reservoir. There are other less well-known rutting places just outside the Nature Reserve, in the foothills of Sierra Morena, close to Génave, Puente de Génave and Arroyo del Ojanco. These are extensive private estates with big game hunting grounds where deer are plentiful, although you can only see them from the other side of the fences that surround the properties.
  • You will find it much easier to see red deer, fallow deer, mouflons and Spanish ibex at the Collado del Almendral Wildlife Reserve.

Apart from big herbivores and birds of prey, the Nature Reserve is full of many other animals that are great fun to watch.

Squirrels thrive here, as well as small forest birds (finches, blue tits, long-tailed bushtits and tits) and many other birds. The calls of small nocturnal birds of prey, such as the tawny owls and Eurasian scops owl, are common in the Nature Reserve’s forests and in the vicinity of towns and villages.

You can see white-throated dippers in fast-flowing, clean rivers. And trout too, of course. You can spot thousands of species of invertebrates as well, such as small amphibians and reptiles. One of the most riveting hunting scenes you can imagine is when an ordinary gecko stalks a mosquito on a whitewashed wall with infinite patience on a cool, starry summer night.

Wildlife can be spotted throughout the Nature Reserve, but on this map we suggest certain areas and places where you are more likely to see large herbivores and birds of prey.

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