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Where can you see 20 species of raptors in 1 week?

It was only in 2011 when I moved to this area with my family that I discovered that the Languedoc is such a great area for birdwatching and particularly for birds of prey. During migration is possible to see 20 species of raptors in 1 week.


Resident species include Golden and Bonelli’s eagles, with large numbers of Short-toed eagles arriving in late March. Booted eagles can also be spotted on migration.

bonelli eagle

Bonelli’s eagle


Our resident vultures include the big four: Lammergeier, Black, Egyptian and Griffon, and good views of these can be seen at the vulture observation platform at Bugarach where there is a feeding platform, so if you are lucky enough to be there when a carcass is put out, you can watch the feeding frenzy!

During migration is possible to see 20 species of raptors in 1 week

Kites, Falcons and Harriers

A visit to this area during migration (spring or autumn) offers a good chance of seeing large numbers of Black and Red kite moving through, together with plenty of falcons including Hobby, Peregrine and Osprey, some of which stay to nest like the Lesser kestrel.  The occasional Red-footed and Eleonora’s falcon add to the raptor list and Hen & Montagus harriers can be seen hunting along the edges of the vineyards and amongst the less dense areas of scrubby garrigue – which is the local limestone based vegetation that covers much of this area. In spring migration there is also a change to see Pallid harrier.


Red footed falcon (female)


Marsh harriers are abundant and can easily be seen quartering the reed beds at the Grand Castelou.

And of course, no visit to this part of the world would be complete without seeing an Eagle owl!

So if you want to organise a raptor trip for your club, let us know via the Contact form and we can arrange it all for you. Or if you just want to do your own thing, you can download a bird guide here and a list of birding friendly B&B’s. We do recommend however, that you hire a local guide for at least a half-day – you will see so much more!
Contact details for local guides are available on the Team page profiles. My sightings of birds in the Languedoc can be seen here.


Maurice Riekert
I grew up in the Netherlands and have been birdwatching for 30 years. And since moving to Cessenon sur Orb, in the Languedoc, in 2011, I have rediscovered my passion for birds and wildlife in general. I had never really heard of birding in France apart from the Camargue, but in the Languedoc I now realise that we have the same species and they are much more accessible to the public. Every time I see a group of 20 Black kite migrating, which is normal over here, I still love it. Favorite birds: raptors.

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