A small and remote archipelago in the centre of the Mediterranean about 100km south of Sicily, Malta consists of three main islands, Malta itself (249 km²), Gozo (70 km²) to the northwest, and Comino (2.6 km²), between the two, and some smaller rocks and islets.
There are some significant seabird colonies but being rather remote islands, heavily populated with limited habitats the number of breeding species in Malta is very small. However, large numbers of a wide variety of species visit during passage periods.
Although Malta is not usually regarded as a birders' destination it is a popular holiday island with a good tourist infrastructure. There are interesting birds, especially during passage periods and the reserves the MOS have worked so hard to establish deserve to be visited and publicised as much as possible.
Unfortunately the Maltese are obsessed with shooting, even more so than other Mediterranean countries. Although this may be on the decline it is still a major problem and will remain so for a considerable time despite the courageous efforts of the Maltese Ornithological Society (MOS).
Malta is easily reached by air from most European cities and accommodation is plentiful. An out-of-season, and therefore inexpensive, package tour is an ideal way to see the birds of Malta.
A total of 382 species have been recorded in Malta but many only as vagrants. Breeding seabirds include European Storm Petrel, Cory's Shearwater and Yelkouan Shearwater and Yellow-legged Gull which share the cliffs with Rock Dove and Blue Rock Thrush and a pair or two of Peregrine Falcon may still survive.
Widespread breeding passerines include Greater Short-toed Lark, Corn Bunting and Spanish Sparrow, and small numbers of Eurasian Linnet and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Spectacled Warbler and Sardinian Warbler are widespread breeders, Cetti's Warbler and Zitting Cisticola less so.
Passage birds include occasional herons and egrets, waders and crakes, sometimes ducks at Ghadira and the coast. Other common migrants include Common Quail, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, European Nightjar and Common Cuckoo, European Bee-eater and Eurasian Hoopoe. Raptors such as European Honey Buzzard, Western Marsh Harrier and less often other harriers, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby and Common Kestrel and Lesser Kestrel also occur as migrants.
Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull occur on passage and in winter around Maltese coasts and small numbers of grebes, Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant also occur,small numbers of European Golden Plover and Northern Lapwing winter on open grassland, particularly the airfields. Eurasian Dotterel and Eurasian Woodcock often occur on passage and in winter. Migrant passerines include hirundines, pipits and wagtails, Woodchat Shrike, various warblers, flycatchers and finches.
In Malta there is always the chance of rarities, often of North African or Middle Eastern origins. Vagrants have included Great White Pelican, Lanner Falcon, Saker Falcon and Sooty Falcon, Red-necked Nightjar and Egyptian Nightjar and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.
Rare passerines such as Bar-tailed Desert Lark, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Dupont's Lark and Temminck's Horned Lark have occurred as well as various wheatears, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Moussier's Redstart, Tristram's Warbler, and Trumpeter Finch.
Birds you can see here include:
Cory's Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Mallard, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Eleonora's Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Common Quail, Common Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Dotterel, European Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl, European Nightjar, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Greater Short-toed Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Common Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Common Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Hawfinch, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting
Content and images originally posted by Steve
Pages in category ‘Malta’
The following 5 pages are in this category, out of 5 total.