Birdwatching on Cape Verde

The Cape Verde islands lie some 350km off the coast of West Africa. This group of far-flung volcanic islands, towering up to 2800m out of the Atlantic, is considered a far flung part of the Palearctic region, rather than the Afrotropical realm.

Relatively few ornithologists have visited the islands, some of which are inaccessible except by boat. Now birdwatching is gaining in the market of tourism and putting  Cape verde on the map.

Birdwatching here has found some of the most important seabird colonies in the Western Palearctic,                                                                                                                with breeding species including

  • Cape Verde Shearwater (split from Cory’s, and nesting only in these islands),
  • Boyd’s (or Cape Verde) Shearwater (split from Little, and likewise only nesting here),
  • Fea’s (or Cape Verde) Petrel (a species that breeds only in the Cape Verdes and the Madeira group),
  • Bulwer’s Petrel, Cape Verde Storm-Petrel (split from Band-rumped or Madeiran),
  • White-faced Storm-Petrel, Red-billed Tropicbird, Brown Booby and even Magnificent Frigatebird.

The landbird fauna is also quite fascinating. Although relatively impoverished, as is typical with remote island groups, there are a number of endemic landbird species;

  • Cape Verdean Buzzard (split from Common),
  • Swift, Raso Lark,
  • Cape Verde Warbler and Iago Sparrow.
  •  Bourne’s (or Cape Verde) Heron (sometimes split from Purple),
  • Alexander’s and Neglected Kestrels (both sometimes split from Common).
  • Cape Verde Falcon (sometimes split from Peregrine).
  • Cape Verde Owl (sometimes split from Western Barn),a perfect place for birdwatching.
  • Osperey(cape verdean sea eagle).