Where to Watch Birds in Sardinia

Published on 28 February 2019 in Book reviews

By Ilaria Fozzi and Davide De Rosa

Pelagic Publishing, 2018; pbk, 140pp; 57 figures, 52 maps; ISBN 978-1-78427-179-4

£22.95 buy it from the BB Bookshop

With competitively priced direct flights from the UK to Cagliari in the south of Sardinia and Alghero in the northwest, there has never been a better time to consider this Italian island for a birding holiday. Situated in the middle of the western Mediterranean, it is an important refuelling stop for migrating birds and provides a good range of localised breeding birds – including Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara, Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax, Western Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, Audouin’s Gull Ichthyaetus audouinii, Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae, Marmora’s Warbler Sylvia sarda, Moltoni’s Warbler S. subalpina and Corsican Finch Carduelis corsicana.

This book is written by two ornithologists with extensive experience of Sardinian birding, and provides detailed information on the 43 key birding sites split between six main regions: roughly 19 are in the north, 13 in the centre and 11 in the south. For each site there is a map and list of target species. Information on habitat, best time to visit, plus other fauna and flora is given. There is clear guidance on how to reach the site (with GPS points), plus an indication of how long you ought to spend in the area, but after that you are mostly left free to discover the location for yourself.

If you take a short spring holiday to Sardinia, you are likely to see around 120 bird species along with up to 41 mammals, 18 reptiles and 8 amphibians. Those seeking dragonflies and damselflies usually see at least 20 species, and an even larger range of butterflies is possible.

Although there are no checklists within the book, there are alphabetical lists of the main taxa together with helpful site references for each. In addition to the 43 key birding sites, two long itineraries are suggested: one travelling coast to coast in the north of Sardinia, and the other north to south along the west coast. Apart from the lack of a larger map to the island’s sites, this book provides all that you will need to plan a successful trip.

Keith Betton