Tour Details

Dates:23rd of Feb - 1st of Mar 2025
Availability:7Guaranteed departure
Group Size:Minimum 4, maximum 12 guests
Grading:Easy day walks
PricesFull price: £1,295.00 / person Single room supplement: £150.00 / person Deposit: £150.00 / person
Price includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transportation, services of your guides, and a holiday report
Not included: International travel, drinks and other personal items, holiday insurance

Tour Highlights

  • Exploring the unique range of fauna and flora on naturalist's paradise Fuerteventura, an Atlantic island where Africa meets Europe to incredible effect
  • A superb range of birds, including Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Barbary Falcon, Barbary Partridge, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Trumpeter Finch, Berthelot's Pipit, Kentish Plover, Laughing Dove, Fuerteventura Stonechat, African Blue Tit, Desert Grey Shrike, Egyptian Vulture, and Atlantic Canary
  • A small but highly desirable range of butterflies, including Fuerteventura Green-striped White, Desert Babul Blue, African Grass Blue, Monarch, Plain Tiger, African Migrant
  • Botanical highlights will be numerous - of the more than 2,600 species of plant recorded from the Canary islands, over 740 are known from Fuerteventura

Tour Description

Sitting 100km off the North African coast, Fuerteventura is the second largest of the eight main Canary Islands and, geologically, is one of the most ancient of all the Macaronesian islands. This long pedigree, combined with an oceanic isolation yet a comparative proximity to the African continent, means that the island boasts a truly enticing array of fauna and flora alike – it’s a naturalist’s paradise, with both European and African influences combining to glorious effect in a relatively compact area.

At roughly 100km long and 30km wide, Fuerteventura’s size is such that we will see a good proportion of the island in the course of our visit. The island enjoys a warm semi-desert climate, and it is home to some specialist birds, butterfly and plant species – some African pioneers, some restricted to the Canary Island archipelago as a whole, and some endemic to Fuerteventura alone.

The island is justly renowned as a birding destination, not least for being arguably the premier place on the planet in which to see the dramatic and spectacular Houbara Bustard. The island also boasts the endemic and charming Canary Islands Stonechat, the charismatic desert-dwelling Cream-coloured Courser, stunning Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Macaronesian endemic Berthelot’s Pipit, colourful African Blue Tit and Atlantic Canary, chunky Trumpeter Finch and Barbary Partridge, subtle Plain Swift, and dashing Desert Grey Shrike and Barbary Falcon. The timing of our visit means we should see some passage waders, including Whimbrel and Ruddy Turnstone heading north on their way to their sub-Arctic breeding grounds, and delightful Kentish Plovers, long-lost as a British breeding species. The island is also, happily, a stronghold for the globally declining and threatened Egyptian Vulture, and we expect to enjoy excellent views of this beautiful bird.

Beauty on the wing won’t be confined to the birds. While there isn’t a huge range of butterflies to be found on the island, there are some notable ones, chiefly Greenish Black Tip Euchloe charlonia. This lovely insect is the same species that flies in North Africa. Those we look for in Spain are a different species, Spanish Greenish Black Tip Euchloe bazae.

Two further African species we will seek that cannot be seen in continental Europe are Desert Babul Blue and African Migrant, whilst other interesting species we should encounter are the flamingly beautiful close siblings, Monarch and Plain Tiger, and the diminutive African Grass Blue. And we must not forget that Fuerteventura boasts its very own endemic butterfly species, Fuerteventura Green-striped White Euchloe hesperidum – this will be very much on our radar and one we hope to see well.

Of the more than 2,600 species of plant recorded from the Canary islands, over 740 are known from the much drier island of Fuerteventura. Of these there are 18 taxa endemic to the island including the strange cacti-like Jandia spurge Euphorbia handiensis, a classic example of convergent evolution and the glorious Echium handiense. A further 27 are shared with adjacent Lanzarote and a couple more shared with one other island in the archipelago. These include the strange tree-like Canary Islands Candle-Plant Kleinia neriifolia, the sea-heath Frankenia ericifolia, a Mignonette Reseda lancerotae, a beautiful blue vipers bugloss Echium bonnetii, and the desert dwelling bindweed Convolvulus caput-medusae, and many more.

Along the rocky coasts there are several sea lavenders to search for such as Limonium papillatum, the Canary Sea Fennel Astydamia latifolia grows amongst the sea sprayed rocks. Along dry river beds we might find Winged Sea Lavender Limonium lobatum, the knapweed-like Volutaria bollei and the very recently described Blue-flowered Scarlet Pimpernel Lysimachia loeflingii. Heading into the dry hills patches of bright yellow-flowered Fuerteventura Beach Daisy Asteriscus sericeus colour the hills and careful searching might reveal the strange succulent milkweed Apteranthes burchardii. The hillside in places are dominated by a tree-like spurge Sweet Tabaiba Euphorbia balsamifera; in rocky gullies the attractive Canary Island Lavender Lavandula canariensis occurs together with the pink-flowered Campylanthus salsoloides.

Your tour leaders for this wonderful adventure will be a dream team of professional ecologists, in the form of David Fairhurst and David Gibbs. Boasting between them an enviable array of ornithological, entomological and botanical experience and skills, and both seasoned and popular tour leaders, with Fuerteventura's wildlife delights to share with guests we expect this to be an over-subscribed wildlife holiday experience for years to come!

Tour Leaders

For as long as he can remember, David has been passionate about birds and wildlife. This has led to a varied career in conservation, mainly working for the RSPB, and leading wildlife tours in Europe and beyond.

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Based in southwest England, David has been a lifelong naturalist and worked as a freelance survey entomologist for more than 35 years.

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Tour Location


Tour Itinerary

  • DAY 1

    Arrival at Fuerteventura airport

    Transfer to hotel. Local site visit if time allows

  • DAY 2
    Early morning visit to Tindaya Plain, back for breakfast / brunch then Los Molinos dam, Las Parcelas and Puertito los Molinos

    Montana de Tindaya is the impressive backdrop to a vast plain which spans from the base of the mountain town to the ocean and is a prime destination for several of the bird specialities on the island. We will get here early in the morning and spend several hours scouring this wonderful semi-desert habitat for species such as Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. The area is alive with the song of Mediterranean short-toed larks and Canary Island Buzzards frequent the plains.

    Returning to the hotel mid-morning we will have a late breakfast before heading to the sleepy settlement of Las Parcelas. The land here is cultivated and the gardens and small fields make a great spot to look for Fuertventura’s specialist butterflies. We will park up and wander the small fields and tracksides looking for butterflies such as Greenish Black Tip, Fuerteventura Green-striped White and Lang’s Short-tailed Blue. The margins of cultivated areas can also produce some interesting plants such as the spiny yellow daisy Launaea arborescens and the beautiful Blue-flowered Scarlet Pimpernel Lysimachia loeflingii.

    Nearby is the beautiful seaside cove of Puertito los Molinos where we can rest with a well-earned drink and perhaps take a look at some coastal plants such as Canarian Bean Caper Zygophyllum fontanesii. The adjacent Barranco de los Molinos is a great spot for local specialities such as Trumpeter Finch, Barbary Partridge and the coveted endemic Canary Islands Stonechat. This embalse is likely to be productive for plants with Crystalline Ice plant Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and Slender Ice plant M. nodiflorum forming reddish mats with white daisy-like flowers in dry situations. In the same locality is the Los Molinos dam which after times of rain holds a large amount of freshwater. As one of the largest bodies of standing water on the island it can attract a range of birds and can be an excellent site for species such as Ruddy Shelduck, Black-winged Stilt and Spoonbill.

  • DAY 3

    Salinas del Carmen, Barranco de la Torre, and finally to Betancuria

    The historic Salinas del Carmen will be our first stop today. They are a renovated area of saltpans, now a working museum, located on the rocky shore next to a small fishing harbour and beach. This is a great location for wading birds and gulls and we will scan for species such as Yellow-legged Gulls and Eurasian Whimbrel, and offshore is an excellent spot to scan for Cory’s Shearwaters.

    The nearby Barranco de la Torre is a great spot for a wander. The visible volcanic geology is fascinating in its own right, but we also stand to see some excellent species here such as Spectacled Warbler, Desert Grey Shrike and good numbers of Spanish Sparrows. It is also one of the best places for Egyptian vultures on the island.

    This Barranco is also a good spot for Plain Tiger butterfly as it contains several Giant Milkweed Calotropis procera plants upon which the caterpillars feed. On the rocky banks of the river bed we might find the strange Canary Islands Candle-Plant Kleinia neriifolia and purple-flowered Virgin's Mantle Fagonia cretica.

    Betancuria was once the capital of Fuerteventura and still maintains a unique charm. We spend some time meandering the streets which gives us the opportunity to admire the architecture and also look for butterflies and birds in the gardens and cultivated areas. The vegetated areas here are excellent for attracting butterflies and target species here will include Greenish Black Tip, Fuerteventura Green-striped White and Geranium Bronze as well as dapper local bees. The higher altitude in Betancuria also brings birds species not yet encountered at lower levels such as Atlantic Canary, Sardinian Warbler and African Blue Tit.

  • DAY 4
    early morning visit to Tindaya Plains and then inland to the mountains at Betancuria, Vega de Rio Palmas and Mirrador de las Peñitas.

    For those that want to we will have another visit out to the Tindaya Plain in the early morning but we will be spending the rest of the day exploring the winding mountain road to and beyond the town of Betancuria and nearby Barrancos. In contrast to the usual arid landscapes the fertile valleys can look surprisingly green. As we ascend, the views become ever more spectacular, and we will pause at Mirador Corrales de Guize to enjoy the vistas and look for Barbary Ground Squirrels and Ravens. Along the road here Milky Spurge Euphorbia regis-jubae is frequent.

    We will spend the morning walking along the dry river bed of Barranco de las Penitas to the very silted Embalse. Here Barbary Ground Squirrels have a colony and the endemic Atlantic Lizard Gallotia atlantica suns itself on the rocks. The stately Canary Island Date Palm Phoenix canariensis grows along here and we might find the knapweed Volutaria bollei and the endemic umbellifer Rutheopsis herbanica.

    In the afternoon we will take a short walk up a zig-zag track to the ridge in search of Fuerteventura Beach Daisy Asteriscus sericeus, Birdcage Thistle Atractylis cancellate, Scaly Lip Fern Cosentinia vellea, Canary Island Lavender Lavandula canariensis and Campylanthus salsoloides.

  • DAY 5

    Explore the north of the island at Lajares, El Cotillo, Majanicho and Faro de Toston.

    We will start the day at the tiny seaside town of Majanicho; the beaches here are great for wading birds such as Kentish Plover, Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone. From here we travel a short distance to Lajares, where there is an excellent barranco to explore, giving us another opportunity to look for Canary Island Stonechat.

    From here we head west to another seaside town of El Cotillo where we can visit the plains to the south for more desert specialist species. From here we will take a scenic clifftop walk where we should get good views of Barbary Falcon.

    We will finish the day at the picturesque lighthouse peninsula at Faro de Toston, another good spot to scan offshore for Cory’s Shearwaters.

  • DAY 6

    Explore the south of the island, La Lajita, Las Gaviotas, the desert area south of La Pared and the nearby plains.

    In contrast to most of the island, the small southern town of La Lajita is well vegetated, with introduced trees such as Cassia. These are the foodplant for the caterpillar of the Brimstone-like African Migrant butterfly, which we will look for here, along with African Grass Blue and Fuerteventura Green-striped White.

    On the opposite coast is the small settlement of La Pared and here a sandy desert can be explored. Here many different plants occur especially clumps of the endemic bindweed Convolvulus caput-medusae, often attracting nectaring Striped Hawkmoth Hyles livornica.

    Further south still at Las Gaviotas we will explore another couple of Barrancos for butterfly species such as Monarch, Plain Tiger and the hard-to-find Desert Babul Blue.

    Further west from Gaviotas the terrain becomes dry and rocky and here the endemic cactus analogue Jandia spurge Euphorbia handiensis is well worth a look.

  • DAY 7

    Return to Fuerteventura airport

    and tour concludes.

    As with all of our tours, we want our guests to enjoy the very best views of the very best wildlife and, as such, we think it’s important to retain a little flexibility in the holiday itinerary. This means that we may choose to swap days around to take into account local weather conditions, or the timing of the flight or flowering season we find upon arrival at our holiday destination. Rest assured, we will ensure you visit all the best sites, and we have your best interests and comfort at heart!

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