First discovered in 1452, the island of Corvo is the smallest in the Azores, with an area of just 17km² and a total of 386 inhabitants. It is also considered one of the most isolated territories in Europe, being roughly the same distance from Canada and mainland Portugal.
It is here, in this hidden gem, that some of the most typical species of the Azores nest, as well as some extremely rare species in the European context, due to its proximity to the American continent, giving you an excellent opportunity to observe a wide variety of birds.
The first stop you should make is at the Corvo Wild Bird Interpretation Center, where you can explore extremely detailed, appealing and interactive exhibitions, giving you numerous details about each of the species that can be seen in the Corvo Island Natural Park and Biosphere Reserve.
The space also has a section with access to virtual reality, where you can experience a journey around the island and learn more about Man’s impact on the environment.
The center is part of a historical heritage site, and is located in Corvo’s last atoll, which has been out of service since the 60’s.
The Corvo Natural Park, which covers the whole island, has excellent places where you can observe the following birds:
Also known as the blue-winged teal, this species of the Anatinae family (ducks, geese and teal) is distinguished from the others by its black beak, white spots on its face and the characteristic blue spots on its wings in flight.
This species can be seen between October and March.
A rare species of duck in Portugal, known for its small stature and the black tones of its plumage. It is only possible to see this bird between the end of October and the end of March.
The Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris borealis) is one of the most emblematic birds of the Azores. It is a migratory bird that nests in the archipelago, arriving on the island at the end of February, where it spends the winter season.
The Cory’s shearwater is easy to spot due to the grey and white color of its plumage, which contrasts with the yellow of its long beak. Its flight is also distinctive, as it makes long glides over the surface of the water.
Despite being an excellent maritime flier, the Cory’s shearwater is described as rather “clumsy” on land.
Its plumage is black on the upper body and white under the wings and lower body.
This species can be seen between February and August.
The Little Shearwater is a seabird endemic to Macaronesia. The top of its body is quite dark, black in color, and the underside is white and greyish.
It can be seen between September and May.
As its name suggests, this species of Eurasian lamb has plumage that forms an incomplete collar around its neck, which distinguishes it from its congeners.
It also has a brownish top and white underside.
It can be seen between September and March.
This small bird stands out for its compact figure, brownish colors on the upper parts of its body and white on the undersides. It has a dark beak with an orange base and a dark “collar”.
It can be found between September and March.
Despite being rare in mainland Portugal, the Wilson’s Snipe is often spotted during the winter in the Azores, which suggests possible nesting.
This bird’s plumage is characterized by brown tones, striated wings and an extremely long beak.
It can be seen between September and March.
The Woodcock has very similar characteristics to the Wilson’s Snipe. However, apart from its size difference (three times smaller than the Snipe), it differs from the Snipe in its lighter, rufous plumage.
It can be seen all year round.
Although rare in Europe, sightings of this species have been recorded in the Azores.
Its appearance varies according to the mating season, during which time it has orange tones instead of the brown striped patterns on its upper body.
It can be seen during the months of September and November.
This species is very large, with males weighing between 45 and 126 grams. They are sexually difformous, i.e. show physical differences between females and males (mostly in terms of size).
The Pectoral Sandpiper is characterized by the stripes that cover its body, a white belly, long, yellowish legs and a long beak.
It can be seen during the months of September and October.
Also known as the Yellow-legged Sandpiper, this species has a long bill and a long neck. Its plumage is made up of shades of gray and white, darkening towards the tail. It also has long, yellowish legs.
It can be seen in September and October.
The Roseate Tern is an abundant species in the Azores, and it is estimated that around 47% of its European population nests in the archipelago. Around 35% of its Azorean population nests on the island of Flores.
This is one of the most difficult species to spot, largely due to its close resemblance to the Common Tern. Both have a very distinctive appearance, with white plumage all over their bodies and black on the top of their heads. Depending on their height, they have orange beaks. Their legs have an orange tinge, similar to their beaks.
However, the Roseate Tern has some characteristics that you should look out for when spotting it. Look for the following details:
Tail more forked and longer than the Common Tern, so much so that when perched;
A lighter shade of white on the belly;
In April, its beak is completely black, which makes it much easier to distinguish;
Very hoarse, low-pitched song. Very distinct from the Common Tern;
It is possible to see this species between April and September.
Characteristic for its yellow color (in males), this species has a very distinctive appearance. It also has pink legs, a typically dark beak and a black iris.
The females have striped patterns on their plumage in dark tones and some yellowish areas.
They can be seen all year round.
This species comes from the Arctic regions and is similar in color tone and shape to some snowy plovers.
Its plumage differs between the fall/winter and spring/summer seasons, with brownish or black and white plumage, respectively.