The natural setting of the site

Located between Southern Spain and Morocco, and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar is the main bottle-neck along the Western Palearctic Flyway. Only 14 km divide Africa and Europe and good watchsites are located on both sides of the Strait. The migration front is wide and goes from Cap Trafalgar in the west to the Rock of Gibraltar in the east but the area of higher intensity of migration is that between Tarifa and Algeciras. Similarly, in the Moroccan side the migration spans from Tangier in the west to Ceuta in the east.


The migration survey

The Strait of Gibraltar is a place that is known to be important for bird migration since very long time. Now it is active a long-term monitoring programme for the autumn migration of soaring birds that started in the late ’90s and is promoted by Fundacion Migres who manage a bird observatory at the site (CIMA).  Raptor migration involve the passage of thousands of Short-toed Snake Eagles, Booted Eagles, Black Kites, Honey Buzzards, Egyptian Vultures, Griffon Vultures. Migration at the site takes place in both seasons for about nine months of migration.


How to get there?

In Spain the closer airports are in Malaga, Sevilla and Cadiz. All cities are well connected by bus with Tarifa while there is a train from Barcelona/Madrid to Algeciras. Tangier has its own airport.


Fundacion Migres


Main references

  • Martin B., Onrubia A., De la Cruz A. & Ferrer M. 2016. Trends of autumn counts at Iberian migration bottlenecks as a tool for monitoring continental populations of soaring birds in Europe. Biodiversity and Conservation 25: 295.
  • Panuccio M., Martin B., Morganti M., Onrubia A. & Ferrer M. 2016. Long-term changes in autumn migration dates at the Strait of Gibraltar reflect population trends of soaring birds. Ibis 159: 55-65.
  • Martin B., Onrubia A. & Ferrer M. 2014. Effects of climate change on the migration behavior of the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo). Climate Research 60: 187–197.
  • Onrubia A., Muñoz A.-R., Arroyo G.M., Ramírez J., de la Cruz A., Barrios L., Meyburg B.-U., Meyburg C. & Langgemach T. 2011. Autumn migration of Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina in the Strait of Gibraltar: accidental or regular? Ardea 99: 113–116.
  • Bildstein K, Bechard MJ, Farmer C, Newcomb L, 2009. Narrow sea crossings present obstacles to migrating Griffon vultures Gyps fulvus. Ibis 151: 382–391.
  • Programa Migres 2009. Seguimento de la migracion de las- aves en el Estrecho de Gibraltar: resultados del Programa Migres 2008. Migres 1: 83–101.
  • Bensusan K.J., Garcia E.F.J. & Cortes J.E. 2007. Trends in abundance of migrating raptors at Gibraltar in spring. Ardea 95(1): 83–90.
  • Finlayson, C. 1992. Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar. London: T. & A.D. Poyser
  • Bernis F. 1975. Migración de Falconiformes y Ciconia spp. por Gibraltar. Parte II, Análisis descriptivo del verano-otoño 1972. Ardeola 21: 489–580.