Gibraltar lies at one of the most important migratory bottlenecks in Europe and its varied bird life reflects this. Almost any of the migratory birds that migrate past Gibraltar, other than seabirds, can be seen from the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. Birds of prey wheel over the gardens in the late summer and spring as they head to and from Africa. Songbirds often descend on the Alameda, which is one of the best places in Gibraltar to see Iberian Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus ibericus, especially during the late summer. River Kingfishers Alcedo atthis, which are rare in Gibraltar, sometimes stop off around our ponds to feed on small fish.
Wintering birds include Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, Black Redstarts Phoenicurus ochruros, Eurasian Robins Erithacus rubecula, Song Thrush Turdus philomelos and Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea. Breeding birds and regular visitors include common garden birds such as Collared Doves Streptopelia decaocto, Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus, Great Tits Parus major, Blackbirds Turdus merula, Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, Sardinian Warblers Sylvia melanocephala, Winter Wren Troglodytes?hiemalis, Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor, Greenfinch Carduelis chloris and House Sparrow Passer domesticus. The Alameda is also the only known breeding site in Gibraltar of the Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, which visits us every summer from its tropical African wintering grounds.
Bats frequently use the botanic gardens whilst foraging. They also visit our ponds to drink. The species of bats that have so far been recorded at the Alameda are the Soprano and Kuhl’s Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus & P. kuhlii, European Free-tailed Bat Tadarida teniotis, Common Bent-wing Bat Miniopterus schreibersii and Isabelline Serotine Eptesicus isabellinus. We erect bat boxes around the gardens in order to encourage them to roost and breed here, and we host the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society’s (GONHS) annual ‘International Bat Night’ event.