Islas Canarias | Canary Islands


The Canary Islands are an archipelago of seven main islands – Tenerife (T), Fuerteventura (F), Gran Canaria (GC), Lanzarote (L), La Palma (P), La Gomera (G) and El Hierro (H) – and six islets in the North Atlantic Ocean, together covering 7,493 km²


A blend of Palaearctic and Afrotropical species
Approximately 375 recorded species, including breeding seabirds, endemic landbirds and many vagrants

Tenerife Blue Chaffinch (John Caddick)
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (John Caddick)

Endemics (E)
Bolle’s Pigeon (P, G, T & H) (LC)
Laurel Pigeon | White-tailed Laurel Pigeon (P, G, T & H) (NT)
Canary Islands Chiffchaff (P, H, G, T & GC) (LC)
Canary Islands Stonechat | Fuerteventura Stonechat (F) (NT)
Canary Islands Chaffinch (P, H, G, T & GC) (NA)
Tenerife Blue Chaffinch (T) (NT)
Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch (GC) (EN)

Canary Islands Stonechat (John Caddick)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemics (1/2)
Plain Swift
Berthelot’s Pipit

Berthelot’s Pipit (John Caddick)
African Blue Tit (John Caddick)
Atlantic Canary (John Caddick)

Birds best found in two territories but occurring in more (B2), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Houbara Bustard | African Houbara (ESS fuertaventurae)
Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Great Grey Shrike (ESS koenigi)
African Blue Tit (ESS palmensis + degener + ombriosus + teneriffae + hedwigae)
Atlantic Canary | Island Canary

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Barbary Falcon
Desert Grey Shrike (B2)
La Palma Blue Tit (E)
Canary Islands Blue Tit (E)
Tenerife Goldcrest | Canary Islands Kinglet (E)
Tenerife Robin (E)
Gran Canaria Robin (E)

Spectacled Warbler (John Caddick)
Trumpeter Finch (John Caddick)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Ruddy Shelduck
Common Quail
Pallid Swift (brehmorum)
Eurasian Collared Dove
European Turtle Dove
Laughing Dove (phoenicophila)
Common Moorhen | Eurasian Moorhen
Eurasian Coot
Eurasian Stone-curlew | Eurasian Thick-knee (ESS distinctus + insularum)
Black-winged Stilt
Pied Avocet
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Eurasian Woodcock
Cream-colored Courser
Common Tern
Yellow-legged Gull (atlantis)
White-faced Storm Petrel (hypoleuca)
European Storm Petrel
Band-rumped Storm Petrel
Cory’s Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Barolo Shearwater
Bulwer’s Petrel
Black-crowned Night Heron
Western Cattle Egret
Egyptian Vulture (ESS majorensis)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (granti)
Common Buzzard (ESS insularum)
Western Barn Owl (ESS gracilirostris)
Long-eared Owl (ESS canariensis)
Eurasian Hoopoe
Great Spotted Woodpecker (ESS canariensis + thanneri)
Common Kestrel | Eurasian Kestrel (ESS dacotiae, canariensis)
Eleonora’s Falcon
Red-billed Chough (barbarus)
Northern Raven | Common Raven (ESS canariensis)
Mediterranean Short-toed Lark (ESS rufescens)
Eurasian Blackcap (heineken)
Sardinian Warbler (ESS leucogastra)
Spectacled Warbler (orbitalis)
Goldcrest (ESS teneriffae + ellenthalerae)
Common Starling | European Starling
Common Blackbird (cabrerae)
European Robin (ESS superbus + marionae)
Rock Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Grey Wagtail
Trumpeter Finch (ESS amantum)
European Greenfinch (aurantiiventris)
Common Linnet | Eurasian Linnet (ESS meadewaldoi + harterti)
European Goldfinch (parva)
European Serin
Corn Bunting

Barbary Partridge (John Caddick)

Introduced species
Barbary Partridge (koenigi)
Red-legged Partridge
African Collared Dove
African Sacred Ibis
Monk Parakeet
Nanday Parakeet
Rose-ringed Parakeet
House Sparrow
Common Waxbill

Laurel forest, coastal desert, saltpans

Madeira and the Canary Islands Endemic Bird Area
65 Important Bird Areas

Embalse de los Molinos, Llanos de Tindaya and Costa Calma on Fuerteventura for Canary Islands Stonechat and arid country species including Houbara Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Cream-colored Courser and Trumpeter Finch
Reserva Natural Integral de Inagua on Gran Canaria for Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch
Monte del Agua, Barranco de Ruiz and Teide National Park on Tenerife for forest species including Tenerife Blue Chaffinch
Barranco del Cedro on La Gomera for Bolle’s Pigeon and Laurel Pigeon
Between Tenerife and La Gomera for seabirds including Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine’s Gull, Black-headed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Long-tailed Skua, Parasitic Jaeger, Pomarine Jaeger, Great Skua, Red-billed Tropicbird, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Great Shearwater and Northern Gannet

TIMING (Mar– May)
The best time is spring, after the rains and when most birds breed (Mar–Jun)
Avoid the hottest, driest time of the year (Jul–Sep)

Collins Bird Guide
Macaronesian Birds

Field guides
Birds of the Canary Islands by Eduardo García-del-Rey (2018)
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
Guia de las Aves de las Islas Canarias by José Manuel Moreno (1988)
Aves de España by Eduardo de Juana & Juan M Varela (2016), which is also available in English as Birds of Spain, also treats species occurring in the Canary Islands
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)
Wildlife of Madeira and the Canary Islands by John Bowler (2018) is a photographic guide to the birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies most likely to be seen on these islands

Cantos y Reclamos de las Aves de Canarias by José Manuel Moreno
African Bird Sounds/Oiseaux d’Afrique Vol 1: North-West Africa, Canaria and Cap-Verde Islands/Sahara, Maghreb, Madère, Canaries & Iles du Cap-Vert by Claude Chappuis

Site guides
Finding Birds in the Canaries by Dave Gosney (2013)
Canary Islands in The Good Bird Guide: a Species-by-Species Guide to Finding Europe’s Best Birds by Keith Marsh (2005)
Where to Watch Birds in Tenerife/Dónde Ver Aves en Tenerife by Eduardo García-del-Rey (2000)
A Birdwatchers’ Guide to the Canary Islands by Tony Clarke & David Collins (1996)
Crossbill Guides to the Canary Islands, I: Lanzarote and Fuerteventura & II: Tenerife and La Gomera by Dirk Hilbers & Kees Woutersen (2014 & 2015)
Tenerife Nature Walks and Birdwatching – Crossbill Guides

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 de las Aves Nidificantes en el Archipiélago Canario (1997-2003) by Juan Antonio Lorenzo (2007)

Further reading
Birds of the Canary Islands by Eduardo García-del-Rey (2015)
Aves del Archipiélago Canario by Aurelio Martín & Juan Antonio Lorenzo (2001)
Spain (including the Canary Islands) by Carlota Viada 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)
Checklist of the Birds of the Canary Islands/Lista de las Aves de las Islas Canarias by Eduardo García-del-Rey (2018)
Lista de las Aves de España Edición de 2019 by Miguel Rouco, José Luis Copete, Eduardo de Juana, Marcel Gil-Velasco, Juan Antonio Lorenzo, Marce Martín, Borja Milá, Blas Molina & David M Santos (2019)
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)
Los Vertebrados Terrestres de Teno: Catálogo Ilustrado y Comentado by Beneharo Rodríguez, Felipe Siverio, Manuel Siverio, Airam Rodríguez & Rubén Barone (2014)
Rare Birds of the Canary Islands/Aves Raras de las Islas Canarias by Eduardo García-del-Rey & Francisco Javier García Vargas (2013)
Catálogo y Bibliografía de la Avifauna Canaria by Keith Emmerson, Aurelio Martín, Juan José Bacallado & Juan Antonio Lorenzo (1994)
Articles in Ardeola, Vieraea, Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, Bull. ABC, etc.

Birding Canarias
UNESCO World Heritage List: Garajonay National Park and Teide National Park

Canary Islands Birding News
Macaroaves Canarias
Aves en Canarias
La Palma Birds
Ornito Addiction
Birding in Lanzarote

Facebook groups
Birds of the Canary Islands is a public space for observers to share their sightings and photos of birds on the Canary Islands, focused on both common and rare species


SEO (Sociedad Española de Ornitología)/BirdLife en Canarias is the BirdLife Partner in the Canary Islands

The Spanish Rarities Committee/Comité de Rarezas of SEO is in charge of compiling, homologizing and publishing observations in the Canary Islands of species and subspecies included in the List of Rare Birds of Spain

Grupo Ibérico de Aves Marinas (GIAM) is a working group of SEO dedicated to the study and conservation of seabirds

Other bird or conservation organisations active in the Canary Islands include –
Sociedad Ornitológica Canaria (SOC)
Grupo de Ornitología e Historia Natural de las Islas Canarias (GOHNIC)
Colectivo Ornitológico de Gran Canaria
Asociación Tinerfeña Amigos de la Naturaleza (ATAN)
Amigos de las Pardelas

The Canary Islands Natural Inventory Bank/El Banco del Inventario Natural de Canarias (BIOCAN) is a platform that integrates and gives access to the different databases that bring together information on species of the archipelago, including its birds

Shopping Cart
Skip to content