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Routes & Birdwatching Sites

Birding Málaga

Routes & Birdwatching Sites

El Chorro (Paraje Natural del Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes)


A visit to this wonderful place will be rewarding at any time of year but January is when Griffon Vultures start their breeding season and we can admire their male and female “synchronized” display flights and how they carry nesting materials to refurbish the rock shelves where the females will lay just one egg by mid January.

The Vultures’ Gorge reserve is a very diverse place in terms of many different habitats. The water reservoirs are artificial lakes where we will find Cormorants, Coots, Mallards, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Great Crested Grebes, a few Yellow-legged Gulls and hundreds of Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed ones (specially in the Guadalteba and Guadalhorce reservoirs). The tail and some muddy banks of the reservoirs act as wetlands, where we can find waders like Green and Common Sandpipers, Snipe and Greenshank, as well as Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Serins.

Some of the roads and tracks in the area are surrounded by Aleppo Pine forests homing most of the typical forest birds like tits, including the Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest and a big population of Common Crossbills. Mediterranean scrub is also very common here, with wide stands of Phoenician Juniper -where Song Thrushes, Redwings and Ring Ouzels can feed all along the winter-, gorse –from which we will be able to hear the persistent calls of the Sardinian Warblers and the shyer one-noted ones of the Dartford Warbler before it pops up for a moment and come down again into the bushes-, and Rosemary, the favourite perch of Stonechats and Rock Buntings.

As we reach the higher rocky areas, chances increase to find Black Redstart, Thekla Lark, Blue Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear, some of the gems of this fantastic place. In the cliffs, apart from the Griffon Vultures, keep an eye to the flights of the Rock Dove, Spotless Starling and Crag Martin, and turn your head to the caws of the Choughs, as they could be betraying raptors like the Peregrine Falcon or one of the most emblematic birds of Malaga, the Bonelli’s Eagle.

Itinerary

Natural values

The Paraje Natural Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes (Vultures’ Gorge Nature Reserve), popularly known as El Chorro, is located just between the Guadalteba and Valley of the Guadalhorce districts. This is a place where three rivers (Turon, Guadalteba and Guadalhorce) converge, forming three big water reservoirs, and flow through a stunning gorge with high cliffs where the Griffon Vultures, the most representative birds here, nest. The well known Caminito del Rey (King’s Little Path), goes across this gorge.

Besides being part of the Andalusian Network of Protected Natural Sites, the Vulture’s Gorge Nature Reserve is included in the European Natura 2000 Network as Birds Directive Special Protection Area (ES6170003).

There are two routes you can take in this environment. To know them, click on this link.