Bird watching in Madeira holds a particular interest to bird watchers as the islands’ ecosystems support a wide variety of land and sea birds, including endemic, unusual and endangered species such as Zino’s Petrel or the Madeira Firecrest. There are 42 breeding species or subspecies of birds in Madeira.
- Resident breeder on Madeira. This endemic species is near extinction, but it’s situation has improved for the last years and the population is now estimated between 65 and 80 breeding pairs. In April-May they lay their single egg in self-made nesting holes in several ledges at the peak of Pico do Areeiro.
(Pterodroma feae deserta)
- Resident breeder on Bugio, the southernmost island of the Desertas. The species use the rabbit burrows on a small plateau for nesting. The Fea’s Petrel breeding season in Bugio is roughly two months behind schedule in comparison to Zino’s Petrel. So laying goes from mid July to early August and the chicks fledge in December. The population on Bugio is estimated at 150-200 pairs and the nominate race which breed on the Cape Verde Islands (500-1.000 pairs).
(Calonectris diomedea borealis)
- A migrant breeder, which breeds from June to October on mainland Madeira as well on the Desertas and Porto Santo. The breeding population is estimated to 3.000 pairs.
- Migrant breeder and only seen between early May (although it is not until June that large numbers can be seen) and mid September. The breeding population is estimated at 7.500 pairs. During the breeding season it could be seen in the whole archipelago.
- Resident breeder (one population in the summer and another during winter), however, many migrate to unknown areas outside the breeding season. The breeding population is estimated at 2.000 pairs, of which 1.000 breeds on Salvages. Without any doubt the most difficult of the breeding seabirds to see, no matter whether you watch from land or on pelagics.