Bevy of Birds on Beaches in Vigo

A great variety of flying fauna can be seen on the beaches of Vigo

By Mario Villatoro Suárez

March 20th, 2021

When you take a walk on the beach of Vao, Samil or any beach that you fancy on the coast of Vigo, you’d surely spot some of the fowls of which this article will talk about in the following lines. Some of these species are only seen in a specific time of the year, called the pre-nuptial step, which is when a bird goes from one place to another in spring, and the post-nuptial step, which is the same, but in fall.

First, the most recognizable species in Vigo, the Larus michahellis, or yellow-legged gull, is a sedentary bird who has a noticeable breeding colony placed in the Cies Islands. They are pretty aggressive and territorial, and have a bad influence on other species of gulls. Their diet isn’t really complex, they are omnivores and foragers.

A young yellow-legged gull; they change the colors of their beaks and wings when they become adults. (Photo by Mario Villatoro Suárez)

We can usually find the Phalacrocorax aristotelis or common shag. They can be often spotted resting on rocks after fishing.

Once they’re adults, they are completely black, with yellow spots near their beak. Their diet is composed of fish, since they dive into the seas to find food.

Another species that can be spotted on the seas of Vigo is the Calidris alpina or dunlin. They are usually spotted in winter, the pre-nuptial step and the post-nuptial step. Their bellies are black, just like their beak and their feet, while their wings are brown. They eat searching on the ground for bugs.

Usually spotted in the pre-nuptial step and in winter, the Arenaria interpres or ruddy turnstone, isn’t an exception on the list. This bird’s wings are brown with black spots, and they’ve got a black stain below their beaks, of the same color. They are always migrating and can be in groups of 100.

On the other hand, we can find the Actitis hypoleucos or common sandpiper. They can be seen in winter and in the post-nuptial step. While their bellies are completely white, their wings, head and beak are light brown.

And last but not least, the Egretta garzetta or Little egret. They’re completely white except for their beaks, which are black. Their necks are also undulating. These birds can be spotted almost all the year, for the breeding period.

So, next time you go for a promenade on the beach, make sure to bring some binoculars.

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