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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Where to watch > Castro Verde and Mértola
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Castro Verde and Mértola
The fields around Castro Verde town constitute a wide area of uncultivated land and open country in central Alentejo, noteworthy for its steppe birds. The area is known for its Great Bustard population, but also for the relative abundance of Little Bustard, Lesser Kestrel, European Roller and Calandra Lark. Black-bellied Sandgrouse is also present, but scattered around, and harder to spot. Spanish Imperial Eagle has recently started to breed in the area and is regularly seen. Other large and scarce soaring birds like Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles, and Griffon and Black Vultures are also regular, although low in numbers. Montagu´s Harrier, Short-toed and Booted Eagles are also present in the breeding season. 
Species like Eurasian Bee-eater, Short-toed Lark, Black-eared Wheatear and Golden Oriole are widespread in the region. The scarcer Rufous-tailed Bush Robin can be found mainly along streams. 
In the wintertime, Little Bustards gather in large flocks, as well as Lapwings and Golden Plovers. It is also one of the few areas in Portugal where Common Cranes can be spotted. 
You can start exploring the area with a visit to Vale Gonçalinho environmental center. The center is run by LPN - Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, an NGO that works in several local conservation and management projects. 
The surroundings of the town of Mértola, bathed by the Guadiana river is another area of great interest. Most of the steppe birds found in the neighboring area of Castro Verde can be found here as well. One of the places worth a visit is “Minas de São Domingos”, an abandoned mining complex with a unique landscape, and where the rare White-rumped Swift can sometimes be spotted in the summertime.

Municipalities: Aljustrel, Almodôvar, Beja, Castro Verde, Mértola and Ourique




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