Açores | Azores


The Azores is a volcanic archipelago of nine islands – Corvo, Flores, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira, São Miguel and Santa Maria – and several islets in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a combined total land area of 2,346 km²


Palaearctic avifauna
Approximately 410 recorded species, including seabirds and many Nearctic vagrants

Azores Bullfinch (Werner Suter)
Monteiro’s Storm Petrel (Gareth Knass)

Endemics (E)
Monteiro’s Storm Petrel (VU)
Azores Chaffinch (NA)
Azores Bullfinch (VU)

Atlantic Canary (Paul van Giersbergen)
Grey Wagtail (Kevin Ravno)
Azores Chaffinch (Werner Suter)

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Common Quail (ESS conturbans)
Common Wood Pigeon (ESS azorica)
Eurasian Collared Dove
Common Moorhen | Eurasian Moorhen
Kentish Plover
Eurasian Woodcock
Common Snipe
Yellow-legged Gull (atlantis)
Sooty Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Band-rumped Storm Petrel
Cory’s Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Barolo Shearwater
Bulwer’s Petrel
Common Buzzard (ESS rothschildi)
Long-eared Owl
Eurasian Blackcap (gularis)
Goldcrest (ESS azoricus + sanctaemariae + inermis)
Common Starling (ESS granti)
Common Blackbird | Eurasian Blackbird (ESS azorensis)
European Robin (rubecula)
Grey Wagtail (ESS patriciae)
European Goldfinch (parva)
Atlantic Canary | Island Canary

Introduced species
Helmeted Guineafowl
Northern Bobwhite
Grey Partridge
Common Pheasant
Red-legged Partridge
Rock Dove
Rose-ringed Parakeet
House Sparrow
Common Waxbill
European Greenfinch

Cory’s Shearwater (Rubén Barone Tosco)
Common Wood Pigeon (John Caddick)

Montane laurel forest on São Miguel, offshore islets near Graciosa

Azores Secondary Area
15 Important Bird Areas

Pico da Vara on São Miguel for Azores Bullfinch
Graciosa (Praia and Baixo islets) for Monteiro’s Storm Petrel
Between Terceira and Faial for seabirds, including Black-headed Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Great Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Common Loon, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, White-faced Storm Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Zino’s Petrel, Desertas Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Great Shearwater and Northern Gannet

TIMING (May–Jun, Oct)
Best in spring, after the rains and once the weather warms and most birds breed (Apr–Jul)
Sep–Nov is the best time for Nearctic vagrants
Avoid winter (Dec–Mar)

Macaronesian Birds

Field guides
Birds of the Atlantic Islands: Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores, Cape Verde by Tony Clarke (2006)
Field Guide to the Birds of Macaronesia: Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde by Eduardo García-del-Rey (2011), which is also available in Spanish as Aves de Macaronesia: Azores, Madeira, Islas Canarias, Cabo Verde
Aves de Portugal by Helder Costa, Eduardo de Juana & Juan Varela (2018) is a field guide in Portuguese that includes bird species present in the Azores
Pelagic Birds of the North Atlantic: an Identification Guide by Andy Paterson (2012)
Seabirds of Spain and Portugal/Las Aves Marinas de España y Portugal – Península Ibérica, Islas Baleares, Canarias, Azores y Madeira by Andrew M Paterson (1997)

Site guides
Where to Watch Birds in Portugal, the Azores and Madeira Archipelagos by Colm Moore, Gonçalo Elias & Helder Costa (2020)
Observação de Aves nos Açores/Birdwatching in the Azores by Pedro R Rodrigues & Gerbrand Michielsen (2010)
Azores in The Good Bird Guide: a Species-by-Species Guide to Finding Europe’s Best Birds by Keith Marsh (2005)
Where to Watch Seabirds: the Azores by Angus Wilson (2002)

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2: Distribution, Abundance and Change by Verena Keller, Sergi Herrando, Petr Voříšek, Martí Franch, Marina Kipson, Pietro Milanesi, David Martí, Marc Anton, Alena Klvaňová, Mikhail V.Kalyakin, Hans-Günther Bauer & Ruud P B Foppen (2020)
Atlas das Aves Marinhas de Portugal
Atlas das Aves Invernantes e Migradoras 2012-2013

Further reading
Birds from the Azores: an Updated List with Some Comments on Species Distribution by Luís M D Barcelos, Pedro R Rodrigues, Joël Bried, Enésima P Mendonça, Rosalina Gabriel & Paulo Alexandre Vieira Borges (2015)
Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: an Annotated Checklist by Dominic Mitchell (2017)
European Red List of Birds compiled by BirdLife International (2021)
Aves dos Açores by Carlos Pereira (2010)
Aves Nativas dos Açores by Rui Martins, Armindo Rodrigues & Regina Cunha (2002)
The Azores by Luís R Monteiro in Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority Sites for Conservation, Volume 2: Southern Europe edited by Melanie F Heath & Michael I Evans with D G Hoccom, A J Payne & N B Peet (2000)
Azores Rare and Scarce Bird Reports compiled by the Azores Bird Club
Articles in Açoreana, Bull. ABC, etc.

Aves dos Açores
Bird Watching in the Azores
Azores Bird Sightings
Gerby Birding
Portal da Biodiversidade dos Açores
Sentier e Interpretar o Ambiente dos Açores (SIARAM)
Parques Naturais dos Açores

Avifauna dos Açores
MacaroAves Azores
Birds of the Azores
Azores Bird Sightings (2014-2017)
Birding Corvo 2009


The BirdLife Partner in the Azores is Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA)

SPEA coordinates the Centro Ambiental do Priolo/Azores Bullfinch Environmental Centre on São Miguel

All observers who record rare or accidental bird species in the Azores are invited to report their observations to the Portuguese Rarities Committee/Comité Português de Raridades of SPEA

Other bird or conservation organisations active in the Azores include –
Clube Observação de Aves do Triângulo
Corvo Birders
Grupo da Biodiversidade dos Açores (GBA)
Associação Ecológica Amigos dos Açores
Sociedade Afonso Chaves – Associação de Estudos Açoreanos
Quercus – São Miguel

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