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Routes & Birdwatching Sites

Routes & Birdwatching Sites

Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 01. Málaga - Rincón de la Victoria

The first stage of the walk takes you along the coastline of Malaga and, partially, Rincón de la Victoria municipal areas, and because of that the predominant species here are the ones adapted to living in an urban environment, as well as the species associated with the coast. The cities and villages, places which do not lack biodiversity, make for an ideal settings to familiarise yourself in detail with some of the bird species of your interest and to discover behaviour patterns difficult to find in other types of environment. Some species have adapted to living together with humans to the point where they practically depend on us to be able to survive.

One could say that the urban landscape offers a great number of microhabitats which are used by species with different ecological requirements. The Malaga Park harbours typically forest-dwelling birds which can also be found in the best-preserved woods in the province. The cathedral resembles a sheer cliff and serves as a breeding spot for typical mountain dwellers such as the Peregrine Falcon. Malaga port and the beaches where this stage of the walk takes you serve as a resting place for a great quantity of marine and shore birds along their migration voyages.


Highlighted Species

Without a doubt the typically urban and coastal species play the leading part at this stage. Among the coastal species the Great Cormorants and Grey Herons deserve a mention. They frequent Malaga coast, especially the area of Pedregalejo and El Palo, attracted by the food source provided by the breeding enclosures containing Gilt-head Bream and Sea Bass at the Chanquete beach.

As far as birds of prey are concerned, the Booted Eagle needs to be mentioned, an increasingly usual bird around the port and Gibralfaro during winter months, and the Common Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon in the vicinity of Malaga Park and Wharf One. At the beginning of the stage there are factory chimneys, witnesses to the industrial past of Malaga city. They serve as regular perches for the Peregrine Falcons which nest at the cathedral and use the mouth of Guadalhorce river to find food. At the Plaza del Obispo below the nest at the cathedral tower it is not unusual to find remains of waders and other birds which were used to feed the Peregrine chicks.               

The Yellow-legged,  Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls are very frequent, mainly in winter, together with Sandwich Tern and waders such as Sanderling and Turnstone. The Sandwich Terns are quite easy to identify as they tend to gather on the same shore, following the rhythm of the waves as they seek out small invertebrates and try to avoid getting their little legs wet, this way creating a continuous in and out movement. In winter, with the help of binoculars and/or a telescope you can watch skuas following the gulls to steal their food and albatrosses diving hard into the water to fish. The domesticated variety of Rock Dove and Collared Dove can be seen along the entire stretch of the itinerary, though the major concentrations of them happen in the area of Malaga port where they find food easily.

In spring and summer at this stage of the walk Pallid and Common Swifts constantly fly across the sky, with each incessant movement greatly reducing the number of flying insects in the environment (thousands of swifts consume a daily amount of insects which is far from negligible). Notable passerines are the swallows, Common Swift, White Wagtail, Blackbird and Robin, Common Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Raven, Spotless (year round) and Common Starling (during winter season), House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Serin and Greenfinch.

A species which has recently joined the urban birdlife of Spain, and which you will doubtlessly hear and see during the first stage of the walk, is the Monk Parakeet, increasingly more abundant all along the province´s coast. This is a bird originating in South America, which has managed to form a population thanks to being released or escaping, and it is a species which is currently expanding.


From the start, 0 km, up to Rincón de la Victoria, you will enjoy the trail by the sea, which goes along the seafronts of Málaga City, such as Palmeral de las Sorpresas or Dock 1 of the Port of Málaga, and then along the beaches in Pedregalejo, El Palo and La Araña.


Routes On foot On a bicycle
Trail Type Lineal
Distance 15600
Estimated Time 3:20
Difficulty - Blue -Easy