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Serra de Monchique
The highest mountain in the Algarve is covered by dense vegetation and
can be a pleasant place during the hot days. For the visiting birdwatcher,
this is an interesting area; here it is possible to find several different
species of birds that are rare or totally absent in the coastal areas.
If coming from Portimão, the first stop can be made at the spa of Caldas de Monchique, on the left side of
N266 road. This is a very quiet place which offers good conditions for observing and photographing
passerines at a short distance. The best approach is to park the car and walk the small road
bordering the hotels. Along the streams it is possible to find the Grey Wagtail, while
in the bushes next to the road hold a few Robins, a species uncommon in the Algarve as a breeding bird. In
the larger trees there are some common species, such as Great Tit and Chaffinch.
Returning to the main road and passing the small town of
Monchique (a few km past Caldas de Monchique), take the
mountain road that climbs to the summit, known locally as
Fóia. This site, at 902 meters above sea level, is the highest
in the Algarve and is dominated by the huge communication
antennas. The landscape is open, soil is rocky and
vegetation cover consists mainly of small bushes. Birdlife is
not very rich here, but some species are quite common and
easy to observe, such as Stonechat, Linnet and Rock
Bunting. Sometimes the song of the Woodlark can be heard.
There is also a small breeding population of Whitethroats - this is an isolated pocket of this species, which in
during the months of April and May. Another interesting species here is the Red-rumped Swallow, which is
Portugal nests mainly to the north of the Tagus river, and birds can be seen and heard singing, especially
during the months of April and May. Another interesting species here is the Red-rumped Swallow, which is
sometimes been seen flying around the buildings next to the antennas and might breed. During migration
times, uncommon birds, such as Rock Thrush or Ring Ouzel, have turned up here.
The Caldas de Monchique located in a quiet area, surrounded by dense vegetation
The vegetation on top of Fóia is mostly shrubby
Around the peak of Fóia, the ground is covered with stones. The Alentejo plains can be seen in the distance.
Most interesting species:
Woodlark, Red-rumped Swallow, Iberian Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting

Other species:
Green Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Common Whitethroat
The serra de
Monchique is a
(Special Protection
Area for Birds)

To learn more,
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

District: Faro
County: Monchique
Where it is: in the inner Algarve, about 30 km north of the town of Portimão. From this town, access to the hills
is made by following the N124 northwards to Porto de Lagos and then the N266 towards Monchique. For
those coming via the motorway A22, the best exit is the Portimão node.

If you want to know other places to watch birds in this region, we suggest: