The Algarve is a stunning region in the south of Portugal, known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and impressive nature reserves. One of the most remarkable sights to see in the Algarve is the vibrant pink flamingos that inhabit the region’s wetlands.
These majestic birds are a true sight to behold, and spotting them in their natural habitat is an experience that should not be missed. In this blog, we will explore the best places to find flamingos in the Algarve and learn more about these stunning birds.
The Greater Flamingo is the largest of the flamingo species and the most common species of flamingo found in the Algarve and, at Lands, we love nothing more than showcasing them in their habitat to visitors. Outdoor lovers can enjoy our Ultimate Algarve Bird-watching Boat Trip to see flamingos and many more birds.
If you’d like to learn more about the birds you can expect to see in this beautiful part of Portugal, take a look at our definitive guide to Birdwatching in the Algarve. And, if you’d like to ask any questions about visiting Ria Formosa and planning a trip, please get in touch.
What Time of Year Can I See Flamingos in the Algarve?
While flamingos do not breed in the Algarve, they migrate from France to Spain and make a stop in the wetlands of Portugal. Flamingos can be seen in the Ria Formosa Natural Park throughout the year, but the best time to spot them is between November and March.
Breeding season usually takes place between March and July. While the number of flamingos in the park varies, as of 2021, the Algarve saw a group of flamingos establish a successful colony, resulting in the birth of 550 chicks across 880 nests. It was quite a rare occurrence and authorities kept the locations under wraps.
The colony began in one of saltpans of the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António’s Marshes Nature Reserve, making it one of the first successful nesting of this species in Portugal’s natural history.
The Flamingos Natural Habitat in the Algarve
Flamingos in the Algarve can be found in a variety of lagoons and wetland systems, where they often congregate in large groups foraging for food. The Greater Flamingo, which is the species usually found in the region, prefers to feed in mudflats and shallow lagoons with salt water.
These birds use their long legs and webbed feet to stir up the mud and water, creating a muddy soup that they then filter through their uniquely adapted bills. The bills of flamingos are specially designed to filter out small shrimp, mollusks, seeds, blue-green algae, and other microscopic organisms from the water.
Visitors can observe these fascinating birds foraging in this distinctive manner, with their heads turned upside down, in various locations across the Algarve.
Where Are the Best Places to Find Flamingos in the Algarve?
Ria Formosa Natural Park is Perfect for Flamingo-Spotting
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the best places to see flamingos in the Algarve. This protected area spans over 60 kilometers and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including over 20,000 waterfowl.
The park’s lagoon and salt pans are perfect for attracting flamingos, and visitors can spot them feeding and wading in the shallow waters. You can take a boat trip or hike around the saltpans of the park to get a closer look at these stunning birds.
Make sure to bring your camera, as the sight of dozens of pink flamingos standing in the water is truly breathtaking.
See Flamingos in the Salgados Lagoon, the Algarve
This beautiful coastal wetland is located near the town of Albufeira and is a popular spot for birdwatching. The lagoon is surrounded by dunes and salt marshes, which provide the perfect habitat for flamingos.
Visitors can take a walk around the lagoon’s boardwalk and observe these birds feeding in the shallow waters. The Salgados Lagoon is also home to a variety of other bird species, including herons, storks, and spoonbills.
Visit the Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve
This reserve is located on the border between Portugal and Spain and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The wetlands here provide the ideal habitat for flamingos, and visitors can often spot them feeding in the shallow waters and saltpans.
This reserve spans over 2,000 hectares and is home to a diverse range of bird species, including flamingos. The reserve is made up of saltpans, marshes, and also farmland, which provide the ideal habitat for these stunning birds.
Visitors can explore the reserve on foot or by bike and take in the breathtaking views of these magnificent birds. The reserve is also home to other bird species, including Avocets, Black-winged stilts, and Kentish plovers.
The Ludo and Quinta do Lago Nature Reserve is Home to Flamingos
This hidden gem in the Algarve is located between Faro and Almancil and is part of the Ria Formosa Nature Park. This reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise, and visitors can observe a wide variety of bird species, including flamingos.
The reserve is made up of a network of marshes, freshwater lagoons, pine woodlands, and salt pans, which provide the perfect habitat for these stunning birds. Visitors can explore the reserve on foot or by bike, and there are several observation points where you can get a closer look at the flamingos.
Things to Know Before You Go Flamingo Watching in the Algarve
Before going flamingo watching in the Algarve, it’s important to be prepared. Be sure to bring appropriate clothing and footwear for the outdoors, including a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Temperatures in the Algarve can get quite hot during the summer months, so it’s important to stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water. Consider bringing binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to get a better look at the birds from a distance.
Finally, respect the birds’ natural habitat by following any posted signs and staying on designated trails or paths.
We hope this guide has helped to introduce you to the flamingos in the Algarve and where you can hope to find them. Beyond our virtual tour, we hope we’ll see you on one of our birdwatching tours, whether by boat or on our Ria Formosa Birdwatching Tour from Faro on foot.
If you’d like to get in touch for more information, our knowledgeable local team will be happy to help you plan your tour and get the most from your Algarve vacation. An outdoor lovers’ paradise, this area is one of Portugal’s seven wonders that you have to see to believe.