Extremadura is the main wintering area for those European Common Cranes that follow the westerly migration route.
Extremadura is the main wintering area for those European Common Cranes that follow the westerly migration route. Some 139,000 individuals choose our region to spend the winter, 30-40% of the Western European population and more than half of the Spanish population.
An abundant food supply, the existence of numerous wetlands for shelter and the mild winter temperatures in Extremadura, all combine to provide these birds with an ideal habitat to spend the winter months.
Taking the foraging, feeding and roosting areas as a whole, it is estimated that the surface area occupied by this species is around 1,835,000 ha, which represents 44% of the region's surface area. It is therefore, a species which can be easily spotted over a large part of Extremadua's territory.
Watching the cranes during their daily movements from the feeding areas to the nocturnal gathering sites, (roosts), constitutes a unique experience for those seeing it for the first time. During these flights they move in groups adopting a characteristic "V" formation while emitting their distinctive and characteristic loud trumpeting call. It can be said that it is one of the most thrilling spectacles in the world of ornithology.
The Festival de las Grullas in Extremadura (Extremadura Common Crane Festival) came into being with the aim of once again promoting and spreading the word about Extremadura's exceptional natural resources and its unique position in the European context, while at the same time conserving this species and educating and raising consciousness about it. Culture, tradition, nature, environment and tourism go hand in hand over the entire programme of activities which offer something for everybody of all ages during the festival. The organisation and development of this event has meant the collaboration of public and private bodies related to the conservation and protection of the species as well as with the planning and promotion of tourism in the region.
Nature tourism in Extremadura has the goal of becoming one of the main axes of tourist development in our Autonomous Community. The region's valuable natural legacy meets all the requirements to become a focus of attraction for visitors, in tune with both the most current tourism demands and principles based on sustainability.
Festivaldelasgrullas.com is a website dedicated to ornithology and tourism. All the available information about Common Cranes in Extremadura, the various core wintering sites and the best bird watching routes can be found on the different sections of the site. Tourist information about guides specialised in this type of service as well as information about where to stay and where to eat is also provided. All you need to plan a journey through the best natural spaces in Extremadura in search of a species which, each year, returns to Extremadura to spend the winters.