Status of common bird monitoring and atlas work in Portugal


Present schemes

The CAC Project (“Censo de Aves Comuns”, that is Common Bird Census, in Portuguese) monitors common breeding bird populations and aims to assess species numbers and trends on a long-term. The project follows the same methodology adopted in Spain (SACRE Program) and started in 2004. Point count routes carried out in Spring from 2004 onwards. Routes chosen by observers within 10x10 Km UTM squares (n = 55 in 2004; n = 58 in 2005; n = 70).

Contact person

Coordinator: Ricardo Martins, SPEA (BirdLife Int. Partner). E-mail:

Home page

Previous schemes

In the eighties and early nineties, a project aiming to assess the breeding bird communities of several forest-type areas in Continental Portugal was conducted under the coordination of the ICN (our National Institute of Nature Conservation). Chief Coordinator: Luis Matos, ICN, former national delegate of the EBCC. The CAT Project (“Comunidades de Aves Terrestres”: Terrestrial Bird Communities) was based on 20 min point counts randomly selected in each study area and carried out twice per breeding season. Apart from bird data, information on habitat descriptors was also recorded in order to associate the presence of birds and community parameters to habitat features. Preliminary results were produced and published in short technical reports and communications presented at the 11th and 12th Conferences of the IBCC & EOAC (Prague 1989 and Noordwijkerhout 1992).


Matos, L.F. 1990. The Portuguese survey of woodland birds: aims and methods. In Stastný, K. & Bejcek, V. (eds.) Bird Census and Atlas Studies. Proc. XIth. Int. Conf. on Bird census and Atlas Work. Prague. Pp: 107-108.

Matos, L.F. 1994. The Portuguese survey of woodland breeding birds (Projecto C.A.T., Comunidades de Aves Terrestres): a progress report. In Hagemeijer, E.M.J., & Verstrael, T.J. (eds.) Bird Numbers 1992. Distribution, Monitoring and Ecological Aspects. Poster App. Proc. XIIth. Int. Conf. of IBCC & EOAC, Noordwijkerhout. Pp: 85-86.

Atlas work

Latest atlas

Census period: 1999-2005. Territorial cover: continent, Madeira and Azores archipelagos. Method: breeding criteria in 10x10 Km UTM squares. National coordination: ICN and SPEA. Publishing expected in early 2007.

Previous atlases

Census period: 1974-1984. Territorial cover: continent. Method: Breeding criteria 1-20 in 5 x 5 km squares. No densities estimated. Atlas published in 1989 (Rufino, R. 1989).

Contact person

Coordinator: Luís Silva (ICN). E-mail:

Other atlases (Regional scale)

Several Regional Atlases have been produced and published in the last decade. Most of them were conducted in Natural Parks & Reserves and focused on breeding birds (see

Other Current National Surveys

1) CANAN – Christmas & New Year Bird Counts. The project began in the winter of 2001/02 and focused mainly on birds associated to farming systems (when present, water bodies were also surveyed). Annual Reports can be downloaded from

Contact person

Coordinator: Domingos Leitão, SPEA. E-mail:

2) Vth. National Census of the White Stork. Conducted in 2004 under the supervision of SPEA and ICN. The Final Report (in Portuguese) can be found at

Contact person

Coordinator: Gonçalo Rosa. E-mail:

3) Wader & Waterfowl counts – Winter counts have been carried out each year from late eighties onwards. The most important continental and coastal water bodies (reservoirs, ponds, lagoons, marshes and estuaries) are covered. Counts are conducted twice/season and the total number of birds is recorded.

Contact person

Coordinator: Vítor Encarnação (ICN). E-mail:

Latest update: 20 September 2006


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