The Ria Formosa is classified as Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention. It is an integral part of Special Protected Areas (SPA) of Nature 2000 Network, is qualified as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) according the criteria of BirdLife International and it was established as Natural Park of Portugal in 1987.
The Ria Formosa is formed by coastal dunes string of islands and peninsulas and the lagoon. Part of the lagoon is permanently immersed, and a significant part emerges during the low tide. The ebb and flow of water together with the shallowness of the water creates conditions to foster a great biodiversity of crustaceans, molluscs, annelids, fishes and their main predators, the birds.
Aquatic birds are the main ones amongst nearly 200 species that can be found. The concept of aquatic birds looks out to encompass all the birds with relations with wet biotopes. The specie´s presence and quantity depend on the time of the year with waders and wildfowl present during winter months whereas herons for instance, more abundant during the hotter months. There are also species that stay all year round, although population can increase due to arrival of migrants.
Birds that can be spotted include the Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), the Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), the Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), the Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio), the Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnenus), the Collared Pranticole (Glareola pranticola), the Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and the Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrius). The Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), the Fiddler crab (Uca tangeri) and the Spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) are examples of animals of this area.
- What Will You Do- Come to discover the Ria Formosa, through an easy and relaxed guided walk.
- Find out about the geological processes that were responsible for its formation, discover the impressive biodiversity that includes several species of local and migrant birds.
- Discover the vast floristic heritage that has many endemic plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians that live in this area.
- Get to know the most common butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies of this unique ecosystem.
- What To ExpectWalking through the area is by far the best way to discover and appreciate its natural and cultural heritage. Add the benefits to health, due to the practice of walking, to the pleasure and fun of a leisure activity while you enjoy the natural and cultural values of one of the most important natural areas of Portugal, the Ria Formosa, is what we would like to offer to the participants in the walk.
- What Is Included- Transfers between the hotel and the natural area.
- Local guide knowledgeable on the region.
- Binoculars for each participant.
- Field guides (Birds, Plants, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibious, Insects).
- What Is Not Included- Food.