The Peninsula of Sagres, in the Municipality of Vila do Bispo, stands out among the most important areas of the Algarve and indeed the whole country for its avifauna. Located in the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, the area hosts species that are unique in the region and is home to a natural phenomenon which occurs nowhere else in Portugal - the autumn migration of soaring birds.
From August to November, this area becomes the country's major migratory corridor for storks, eagles, vultures, hawks and falcons where it is possible to observe almost all of the species of these birds that occur regularly in Portugal, as well as some rarities.
For the enthusiast, some of the most interesting of the rare species are Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti), Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) and Eleanora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae). Among the most abundant species are Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata), Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) and Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus). Fewer in number but with regular passage are Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) and Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus). There is also some migratory passage of owls, notably Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) and Scops Owl (Otus scops).
As well as soaring raptors and storks, Sagres is a great place to watch other birds, including many seabirds, steppe species and passerines. Amongst the seabirds, particularly notable is the passage of thousands of Gannets (Morus bassanus) and hundreds of petrels, Cory's Shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) and Balearic Shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus). Great Skuas (Stercorarius skua) are also commonly seen.
As for steppe birds, Sagres is important because there still remain many cereal fields, fallow land and pastures for cattle. Highlights include Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax), Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris) and Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus). In the surrounding areas several warblers occur, notably Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata) and Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata).
Finally, we should mention some species that are quite easily observed every year in the Sagres area, in bushes and woods around the village: Wryneck (Jynx torquilla), Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli), Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) and Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana).
A bird that is not migratory but that deserves a prominent place is the Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). This species is locally extinct in many parts of the country but still remains in Sagres and is easily seen near Cabo de São Vicente. Good ecological conditions for this corvid remain in this region but the birds are still in decline.