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Tenerife and Fuerteventura
31 Oct - 7 Nov 2019

These remarkable volcanic islands lying 100km or more off the African Coast have been isolated for long enough to have evolved an endemic flora and fauna and now provide one of the naturalist's greatest opportunities to appreciate the evolutionary process first observed by Charles Darwin in the 19th century. We will visit the two islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura which differ substantially in vegetation, from semi-deserts to lush laurel forests. Between them they are home to six species of endemic birds - Laurel Pigeon, Bolle's Pigeon, Blue Chaffinch, Canary Island Kinglet, Canary Island Chiffchaff and Fuerteventura Chat. A further three species - Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit and Atlantic Canary are endemic to the Macaronesia group, while several fascinating endemic subspecies can also be found. It is also home to a good number of desert-loving species typical of North Africa and to top it off these islands have a good record for turning up rare vagrants from both Africa and North America. However, as the islands are so isolated the number of species we see will be quite low (about 70) but the quality will definitely be high!

Day 1
Meet at the airport for a direct flight to Tenerife. Once there, if time permits we'll visit a few locations in the south (close to the airport), where we may pick up a few of the most widespread targets such as Plain Swift and Berthelot's Pipit as well as a few migrants before moving to the hotel located on the north side of the island.

Days 2 - 4
Three full days to explore Tenerife, which presents an array of habitats ranging from the dry rocky terrain in the south to the lush green of the north. The most significant of these are the pine and ancient laurel forests. Both are found within Teide National Park, on the slopes of Mount Teide, a dormant volcano which at 12,198 ft is the highest point not just on the Canary Islands but in the whole of Spain! Teide National Park is also a good place in which to see all the three Macaronesian endemics; Berthelot's Pipit is common and widespread and small flocks of Atlantic Canary are often seen in areas of scrub, while large gatherings of Plain Swift can be seen anywhere on the island.

The pine forest has only one native species of tree, the Canary Pine and it is here that we will look for perhaps the Canary Islands most wanted endemic bird, the beautiful Blue Chaffinch. These pine forests are also home to another must see endemic - the delicate Canary Island Kinglet, as well as other specialities such as the delightful African Blue Tit, a species which is always much appreciated, being very different from its European cousin. Others should also include Great Spotted Woodpecker and Common Chaffinch, both of which have evolved into distinctive subspecies.

In the Laurel forests we will search for perhaps the most elusive of all the endemics: Bolle's Pigeon and Laurel Pigeon. Not only are they declining in numbers but they are shy and rarely perch in the open. To make our task even harder, low clouds frequently roll in making viewing difficult, but with patience we should manage to find both. Whilst here we are also likely to find another of the endemics, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, though these are fairly widespread and much easier to see. The local race of Robin should also be found here, along with Sardinian Warbler.

During these three days, we will also visit a number of the sites in search of migrants; these include the well watered greens of the golf courses and a number of small pools and reservoirs, where we hope to find a variety of waders, ducks, herons and passerines. Passage waders regularly include Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Turnstone, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel. Numerous rarities have been recorded at this time of year and anything may turn up, including the occasional American vagrant, with Ring-necked Duck and Long-billed Dowitcher recorded on our last tour.

One afternoon we will board a small boat and take a Whale watching trip out into the deep, food-rich waters that surround the islands, where several species of cetaceans, including Short-finned Pilot Whale and both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins may be encountered close to the boat. Although this is not the best time of year to observe seabirds, we should also see several Cory's Shearwaters at close range.

Day 5
After a final morning of birding on Tenerife, we will head to Tenerife north airport and take a short flight to Fuerteventura for the remainder of the tour. On arrival we will quickly notice the starkly different landscape of volcanic rock and semi-deserts. Once we have checked into our hotel, we will head straight out and look for one of the islands most wanted birds, Houbara Bustard, a species that is becoming seriously endangered over most of its range, though they can often be found in the evenings at a site not too far from our hotel.

Days 6 - 7
Fuerteventura's star avian attraction is without doubt the endemic Fuerteventura Chat, a unique species found only on this one island and probably numbering less than 1000 pairs. With this in mind, our first mission will be to ensure good views of this much sought-after target are received.

The remainder of our time here will be spent exploring the semi-desert areas where Lesser Short-toed Lark, Spectacled Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike, Hoopoe and Trumpeter Finch are reasonably common. Our main targets however will be the desert-loving species more at home in the arid regions of North Africa, the most sought-after once again being Houbara Bustard. The handsome Cream-coloured Courser will also be high on the agenda, along with Barbary Partridge, Barbary Falcon and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. None are easy, but with two full days in which to look for them we should see most, if not all of these species.

We will also visit the reservoir at Los Molinos to look for waterbirds, including Ruddy Shelduck and perhaps even Marbled Duck, which has bred here in the past, while other birds may include Common Raven, Common Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture and Spanish Sparrow. Lying closer to the African continent, Fuerteventura often produces a range of interesting migrants, amongst which African vagrants have frequently been recorded.

Day 8
After a leisurely morning re-visiting a few of the more productive areas, we will head to the airport for our flight back to the UK.



More Details

Total Cost £1250pp   Price Breakdown
Deposit £  250pp   Air price
£  200pp
Single room supplement £  165pp   Ground price


Whats Included
All Flights, All ground transport, Accommodation, All Meals, Drinking water, All excursions listed in the itinerary and Guiding services throughout.

Not Included
Additional drinks, Insurance and Items of a personal nature.

Group Size
Maximum of 9, including leader.

Dave Read

This tour will run at a moderate pace, with a comfortable amount of walking over easy terrain. The daytime temperature should be pleasantly warm, with an average temperature of 20°C. Accommodation will be in good quality hotels with private facilities. Transport will be in minibus with A/C. There are no health requirements and a visa is not required.




Financial Protection
Many of the flights and the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL certificate go to


Cream-coloured Courser

Atlantic Canary

Blue Chaffinch

Laurel Pigeon

Pilot Whale

Fuertevenura Chat

Houbara Bustard

African Blue Tit

Berthelot's Pipit

Trumpeter Finch


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