Bird-watching in Dordogne

The rural terrain of the Dordogne <em>département</em> in Western France lends itself to superb bird watching. Find out here where to go and what to look out for when you get there...

Dordogne is an interesting area for a birdwatcher. It lies at a crossroads of climatic influences: Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean. Add to this the variety of habitats, and it is not surprising the large number of bird species present.

The terrain provides clean rivers and streams, river cliffs, oak and pine forests, limestone grassland and scrub, marshes, heathland, arable farmland, pasture and meadows. In addition farming is often relatively un-intensive and scrubby areas and overgrown field corners are common.

For a birdwatcher familiar with the species seen in Britain, Dordogne's southern location in Europe provides the attraction of both unusual species together with the more familiar British ones.

In and around most villages and hamlets in early summer there are Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Black Redstart and Cirl Bunting. Searching further afield can produce sightings of some sought-after species such as Black and Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, Eagle Owl, Ortolan Bunting, Subalpine Warbler, Alpine Swift, Tawny Pipit, Rock Sparrow, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor and Montagu's Harrier.

Key Bird-Watching Areas

  • Dordogne Valley between Bergerac - Sarlat
  • Vézère Valley between Le Bugue - Montignac
  • Faux Plateau around Issigeac
  • Verteillac Plain north of Riberac
  • Landais and Double Forest between Bergerac and Riberac
  • Lot Valley between Fumel and Cahors
  • To find these locations or plan a route, refer to Angloinfo maps

Access to Dordogne

Access is easy for visitors to the Dordogne, particularly for visitors from the UK:

  • By car via the A20 or A/N10 from the north
  • Regular flights to Bergerac airport by Ryanair, Flybe and Jet 2 from many UK airports

Getting around

IGN Blue maps are essential for most trips. These are 1:25000 scale and show footpaths and small tracks in detail. Regional scale IGN or Michelin maps are useful for longer trips. Roads are generally quiet and it is easy to travel around the area.

IGN Maps are available from most bookshops and some new outlets (presse).

  • Maps can also be bought online from the IGN website: Click here (in French)

When walking in the countryside keep to public paths and respect private property and wildlife. Be aware that the local hunting season runs from approximately mid-August to February inclusive; exact dates for each year are available from the local Mairie (Town Hall).

Further Information

Information supplied by David Simpson who rents a holiday cottage and leads guided wildlife trips and holidays in the Dordogne Lieu dit Cabant et St Meyme de Rozens, 24150 Mauzac et Grand Castang Tel: 05 53 27 34 47 / 06 80 67 70 39 / e-mail / Website / Owners Direct (Ref. FR3444)