Top birding locations

responsible turism1NATURA INDÓMITA The Birding specialist in La Mancha & Sierra Morena (SPAIN)

Arcoiris en Mudela Natura Indomita

unexpected wildlife in the most populated area of La Mancha

Campo de Calatrava, as we like to say, "all in one place".

Not as attractive as other areas of the province of Ciudad Real (although the Tablas de Daimiel National Park and the SCA Calatrava Volcanic Fields are located within this space), the Campo de Calatrava offers a biodiversity of great interest to birdwatchers and nature lovers. Dominated by the Guadiana river (today almost disappeared due its big ecological problems) and its tributary the Jabalon river, the Campo de Calatrava hosts real hotspots of life, as the SPA Medium Basin of the Guadiana, the SPA Calatrava Steppes, the Mudela Fields, the Vicario Reservoir, the banks of the Jabalon river in Almagro and the Reservoir of Vega del Jabalon.


Tabla de la Garza Natura Indomita


Campo de Calatrava is a very anthropic land (by La Mancha standards) where, surprisingly, the visitor can find healthy populations of large predators including over 14 pairs of Golden Eagle and 10 pairs of Spanish Imperial Eagle, but this shire also hosts very rich populations of Marsh, Montagu’s and wintering Hen Harriers, whilst Common Kestrel and, crucially, the scarce Lesser Kestrel, keeps colonies that are the best and biggest in the province of Ciudad Real.


El Aguila Imperial en Castilla La Mancha Natura Indomita


Other highlights are the common presence of large numbers of Herons (Squacco, Night and Purple), Storks (including several pairs of Black Stork), Grebes, Mallards, Avocets, Stilts, Little Ringed & Kentish Plovers, Laughing & Caspain Gulls, Great-Spotted Cuckoos, Bee-Eaters, Iberian Woodpeckers, Wood, Crested & Thekla Larks, Wheatears such as Black and Black-Eared, Blue-Rock Thrush, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-Winged Magpie, Hoopoe, Spanish Sparrow, Hawfinch and a plethora of amazing Sylvia Warblers.


Abejaruco funambulista Natura Indomita


This place also stands out as hosting outstandings populations of Night Owls, such as Eagle Owl, Little or Tawny Owl. Red-Necked Nightjar is also a common sight in the big net of tracks of Calatrava.


Buho Real en vuelo Natura IdomitaJPG


Other incentives for visitors interested in nature are its good populations of Egyptian Mongoose, Red Fox, Wild Boar and Roe & Red Deers that can be found in the mountains of Calatrava, as well as the surprising and regular presence of Otters in some very few non-degraded sections of the Guadiana river and its tributary the Jabalon.


Meloncillo Natura Indomita


Of particular interest is the Special Protected Area (SPA) of Calatrava Steppes, which houses the best populations of Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-Tailed & Black-Belied Sandgrouse of La Mancha, including in its amazing birds’ list other quality species very rare and endangered, such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Quail, Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark, Iberian Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Red-Billed Chough and Lesser Kestrel & Montagu’s Harrier.


Alcaravan Natura Indomita


Apart from the SPA of Calatrava, five other places deserve special attention to any birder interested in discover this historical territory:


1- The Campo de Mudela Fields, home of the best cast of raptors of Calatrava and the wildest spot inside this shire. Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and even Goshawk occurs in this beautiful and unspoilt place, but its large Holm Oak dehesas and their impressive gorges also hosts other interesting species such as Black Stork, White-Rumped Swift, King-Fisher, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch or Rock & Cirl Bunting. Common mammals in this space are Red Fox, Wild Boar, Red Deer and the ubiquitous Egyptian Mongoose. There is even a small population of Iberian Lynx, the most endangered cat in the World, not in vain in the Campo de Mudela Fields are found the natural springs of the Jandula river, and the Sierra de Andujar is located just south of this space.


Zorro por la Hoz Natura Indomita


2- The Vicario Reservoir, the Tablas de Alarcos and the Tablas del Congosto -all of them parts of the Guadiana river complex- and its swamps are a centre of activity for Egrets, Herons and other Waterfowl, but a great diversity of birds of prey appears in its surrondings providing a spectacle worthy of admiration: Golden Eagle, Osprey, Black-Shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier and even Black Vulture can be seen soaring in the open skies of this high school of quality birders. Around the Vicario Reservoir nature lovers will also find some of the rarest orchids & wildflowers of La Mancha. Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Kingfisher, Roller & Golden Oriole complete the amazing birds checklist of thir remarkable wetlands near Ciudad Real.


Tablas de Alarcos Natura Indomita


3- Calatrava the New Castle. From its altitudes, this awe-inspiring castle offers superb views of La Mancha & Sierra Morena in a very evocative setting, and some very best opportunities to enjoy excellent birding, with quality species such as Golden Eagle, Black Vulkture, Peregrine Falcon, Black Wheatear, Blue-Rock Thrush, Subalpine & Dartford Warblers, Hawfinch or Rock Bunting.


Calatrava La Nueva entre montes Natura Indomita


4- Calatrava the Old Castle. From this ancient watch-tower, the visitor can enjoy superb views of the Guadiana river and excellent birding. Night, Squacco, Great and Purple Heron, Golden & Spanish Imperial Eagle, Marsh & Montagu’s Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Great & Little Bustard, Collared Pratincole, Stone Curlew, Quail, Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Turtle Dove, Roller, Bee-Eater, Hoopoe, Iberian Woodpecker, Eagle-Owl, Little Owl and Spectacled Warbler are reasons enough that are well worth.


Calatrava La Vieja 1 Natura Indómita


5- The Jabalon Reservoir and River. Very close to Almagro, this Reservoir is one of the best birding spots of La Mancha. Healthy populations of Waterfowl, the regular presence of quality Herons such as Night, Squacco & Purple, roosting place for thousands of Cattle Egret, important stopover and resting place for hundreds of Shorebirds on their migration to and from Africa, big concentrations of White Storks in summer with up to two thousands of this beautiful bird, and hunting ground for some of the biggest predatory birds in Spain like Golden & Spanish Imperial Eagles are reasons enough for take time and go birding to this unique and underwatched place.


Aguila Real Natura Indomita




The large volcanic rectangle of Calatrava covers an approximate area of 5.000 square kilometres, with vertices at the Valle de Alcudia, Montes de Toledo Mountains and the Cabaneros National Park. True heart of La Mancha, this pictoresque region, whose boundaries overlap with a much longer historical limits, has been associated with the old military power of the Order of Calatrava, whose influence extended over most of the province of Ciudad Real and large areas of the northern side of Andalusia.


Castillo y Sacro Convento Natura Indomita


In this vast territory have been counted more than 500 volcanic manifestations and inklings originated in the Alpine Orogeny due the ascent to the surface of basaltic magmas. With a length of between 8 and 1 million years (Tertiary and Quaternary age), some of these manifestations have come to very recent geological times, as attested in the Topographic Relations of Philip II (1575 AD) which collects the following words regarding the survey in the village of Valenzuela de Calatrava: “… from this town is a hill called Cerro de la Sima, where, in some rocks, some hot and red flames appear as when a lime kiln is burned, with no smoke or flame, but it is showing the fire inside , which heat exits from these rocks, smelling “alcrivite” from time to time, as when people throws rockets …. “


Ciruela en Marzo Natura Indomita


Many volcanic eruptions are still today perceived around the Campo de Calatrava in the form of hot and ferruginous springs, many of whom served as old spas sixty years ago, but, today, the visitor can walk without fear in these beautiful and scenic fields and enjoy some unique scenery shaped by telluric forces, some of wich can still be found like huge volcanic cones, perfect basalt drops or like a “maar”, a volcanic depression originated by violents hydromagmatics explosions that formed beautiful and ephimeral seasonal lagoons, such as La Posadilla, El Acebuche, La Inesperada (RAMSAR site), Caracuel Lagoon or the stunning Maar de Cervera in Almagro.


Laguna de la Posadilla en secreto Natura Indomita


These places, the only volcanic lagoons in Western Europe, host an impressive number of quality species, such as Little Grebe, Black Stork, Greater Flamingo, Squacco, Night & Purple Heron, Golden Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, White-Headed Duck, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Whiskered Tern, Eagle-Owl, Skylark, Thekla Lark, Black Wheatear, Blue-Rock Thrush, Spanish Sparrow, Hawfinch… Otters, Red Deers and Wild Boars the main big mammals that occurs in these chain of lagoons, using them for feeding, drinking or resting.


Santuario de los Santos Natura Indomita


This Special Conservation Area can be visited in our “day tours“, just 10 minutes from Almagro.

Almagro is the capital city of the Campo de Calatrava as well as being one of the most lovely villages in Spain.


Vicente Malagón. Revised 2017.


Interested in visiting Campo de Calatrava? Two options for visit this fantastic spot in Spain:

Campo de Calatrava Nature Trips OR Steppe Birds of Calatrava.


Avutardas en Calatrava Natura Indomita Anochecer y el Duque Natura Indomita


C/ Ejido de San Juan, 39
13720 - Almagro (Ciudad Real)
Phone: 926-860806
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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