The headquarters of Ria Formosa natural Park are located in Quinta do Marim. The area, which covers about forty hectares, encompasses several different habitats. These comprise a collection of salt marshes, tidal flats, freshwater ponds, beaches and dunes, as well as a large swathe of coastal pinewood and a dense undergrowth of Mediterranean brush.


Map | Olhão | Quinta de Marim Birding Hotspot: check markers to get directions

HOTSPOT FACTSHEET: QUINTA DE MARIM

Location:  Quinta do Marim, Olhão, Central Algarve | Coordinates: 37° 02′ 0.2454″ N, 7° 49′ 09.578″ W (Lat/Long) | Code: OH1 | Completion Time: up to 3 hours | Best Time for Birdwatching: all year round | Activities: birding; nature walks/hiking; cycling, running & other outdoor activities; sightseeing;

[PLEASE CHECK MARIM’S BIRD SPECIALITIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE] The forest and adjacent quarters provide shelter to birds large and small, including Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Azure-winged Magpie, Hoopoe, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Serin and a variety of warblers. Other notable bird inhabitants include Little Bittern, Purple Swamphen, Cattle Egret, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler and the occasional Great Spotted Cuckoo. Apart from Castro Marim – where it probably nests – Quinta do Marim is the only other place in coastal Algarve where Great Spotted Cuckoos (Clamator glandarius) occur on a regular basis as a passage migrant. A notorious brood parasite, this is a relatively large bird with beautiful, contrasting plumage. In Quinta do Marim, the best months to observe Great Spotted Cuckoos – a shy, cautious species – are February and March.

Radiating from the entrance there is a circular network of signposted trails covering the different bird habitats. Here, aquatic birds are quite abundant throughout the year, and even more so in winter or during the annual migration periods. Among others, widespread species include Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Little Grebe and Eurasian Coot. These water-loving birds can be easily observed from a bird hide located to the east where the main trail starts to circle back towards a traditional tidal mill.

In itself, the mill is an interesting building and a rare example of its type in the Algarve, or indeed anywhere else. It affords a great panoramic view over a huge expanse of channels and mudflats to the south. From its easily accessible terraced rooftop (open to the public) it is possible to observe species like Great Flamingos, Little Terns, Spoonbills, Caspian Terns, Pied Oystercatchers, Grey Herons and White Storks. All in all, Quinta do Marim can be a rewarding place to properly explore: apart from the birds there are human-made and natural features that add interest to its privileged location. However, as an introduction to Ria Formosa, there are probably superior places like Quinta do Ludo, neighbouring Quinta do Lago, and the saltpans of Santa Luzia in Tavira.

IMPORTANT TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

Please note that visits to Quinta do Marim are subjected to a small fee. At the entrance, you will be given a map and additional information regarding the area. Quinta do Marim is open 8.00 am – 8.00 pm at weekdays, and 10 am – 8.00 pm at weekends and bank/public holidays. Motor vehicles are not allowed within Quinta do Marim, but there are parking space available outside the perimeter. Quinta do Marim is a bit rundown, and a larger admission fee would probably make sense considering all the valuable work being made inside the premises. For instance, and among several other centres, the Ria Formosa Recovery Centre and Wildlife Research operates within Quinta do Marim. Wounded or sick birds and other animals are properly treated there before being released once again in the wild (see their Facebook page to obtain further info).

 

BIRD SPECIALITIES: QUINTA DE MARIM | OLHÃO | WESTERN RIA FORMOSA BIRDING HOTSPOTS
Aquila pennata Algarve
Aquila pennata
Booted Eagle
Sep.-Oct.
Apus pallidus Algarve Apus pallidus
Pallid Swift
Mar.-Oct.
Bubulcus ibis Cattle Egret AlgarveBubulcus ibis
Cattle Egret
Resident
Calandrella brachydactyla Greater Short-toed Lark AlgarveCalandrella brachydactyla
Greater Short-toed Lark
Resident
Calidris ferruginea Curlew Sandpiper AlgarveCalidris ferruginea
Curlew Sandpiper
Winter | Rare
Calidris minuta Little Stint Algarve Calidris minuta
Little Stint
Autumn-Winter
Caprimulgus-ruficollis-Red-necked-Nightjar-AlgarveCaprimulgus ruficollis
Red-necked Nightjar
Apr.-Sep.
Short-Toed-Treecreeper-Certhia-brachydactyla-AlgarveCerthia brachydactyla
Short-toed Treecreeper
Resident
Charadrius alexandrinus Kentish Plover Algarve Charadrius alexandrinus
Kentish Plover
Resident
Chlidonias hybridus Whiskered Tern AlgarveChlidonias hybridus
Whiskered Tern
Apr. & Sep. | Rare
Chlidonias niger Black Tern Algarve Chlidonias niger
Black Tern
May-Jun./Aug.-Sep.
Ciconia ciconia Algarve Ciconia ciconia
White Stork
Resident
clamator-glandarius
Clamator glandarius
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Jan.-Mar. | Jun.
Cisticola juncidis Algarve Cisticola juncidis
Zitting Cisticola
Resident
Cyanopica cooki Iberian Azure-winged Magpie Algarve Cyanopica cooki
Iberian Azure-winged Magpie
Resident
Estrilda astrild Waxbill Algarve Estrilda astrild
Waxbill
Resident
Galerida cristata Crested Lark Algarve Galerida cristata
Crested Lark
Resident
Haematopus ostralegus Oystercatcher Algarve Haematopus ostralegus
Oystercatcher
Winter
Himantopus himantopus Black-winged Stilt Algarve Himantopus himantopus
Black-winged Stilt
Resident
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta AlgarveHippolais polyglotta
Melodious Warbler
Apr. & Sep.
Wryneck-Jynx-torquilla-AlgarveJynx torquilla
Wryneck
Apr.-Oct.
Merops apiaster Algarve
Merops apiaster
Bee-eater
Apr.-Sep.
Milvus migrans Black Kite Algarve Milvus migrans
Black Kite
Mar.-Aug.
.
Oriolus oriolus Algarve
Oriolus oriolus
Golden Oriole
Apr.-Sep.
Otus scops Algarve
Otus scops
Scops Owl
Sep.-Oct.
.
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Pandion haliaetus Algarve
Pandion haliaetus
Osprey
Erratic
Platalea leucorodiaPlatalea leucorodia
Eurasian Spoonbill
Resident
Phoenicopterus roseus Greater Flamingo Algarve Phoenicopterus roseus
Greater Flamingo
Resident
Picus-sharpei-iberian-green-woodpecker-algarve Picus sharpei
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Resident
Ptyonoprogne rupestris AlgarvePtyonoprogne rupestris
Crag Martin
Autumn-Winter
Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet Algarve Recurvirostra avosetta
Avocet
Oct.-Mar.
Sterna caspia Caspian Tern Algarve Sterna caspia
Caspian Tern
Aug.-Mar.
Serin-Serinus-serinus-AlgarveSerinus serinus
Serin
Resident
Sylvia melanocephala Algarve Sylvia melanocephala
Sardinian Warbler
Resident
Upupa epops Algarve Upupa epops
Hoopoe
Resident