Bird´s route: Town of Betanzos

Betanzos, which was declared a historic site in 1970, is one of the finest destinations for cultural tourism in the Biosphere Reserve. It is renowned for the beauty of its squares and façades and the majesty of many of its religious and civil buildings, as well as its outstanding gastronomy. The town centre sprang up at the confluence of the Mandeo and Mendo rivers. We recommend a walk through the town as far as the banks where both rivers meet to form a wide estuary. You will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of birds you will be able to spot.

Ornithological interest

The ornithological walk from the centre of Betanzos to the confluence of the Mandeo and Mendo rivers, which forms the start of one of the most spectacular estuaries in northern Galicia, is a magnificent opportunity to observe urban as well as countryside and river species. In spring, the streets and squares provide a habitat for the Common Swift and Common House Martin, as well as a year-round home for the Black Redstart, Magpie, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling and the Eurasian Collared Dove. On reaching the rivers, you may also be able to add to your list species such as the Mallard, Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Barn Swallow or the Zitting Cisticola. In spring and summer, look up as you walk in order to spot a Black Kite or European Honey Buzzard, or, at any time of year, the Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, and, if you are very lucky, a Peregrine Falcon.

Phenology

This walk can be enjoyed at any time of year.

What to see

  • From Praza de García Hermanos, head down along the streets Rúa da Vila and Rúa dos Prateiros as far as the old bridge (Ponte Vella) where the N-651 road crosses the Mandeo, although we will continue our route downriver along the riverside walk. This will take you around much of the historic quarter, as far as the confluence with the River Mendo.
  • Here, a pedestrian bridge will take you to the Ramón Beade walk, which will go past several industrial units as far as the start of the estuary.
  • You will make your way back along the Ramón Beade walk, but instead of crossing the bridge, continue along the banks of the Mendo as far as Pablo Iglesias Park, across the N-VI road bridge and enter Betanzos’ monumental area again. Ferreiros and Castro streets will bring you back to the starting point.

Getting there, accessibility and recommendations

Getting to Betanzos is easy by car or public transport. There is a public car park under Praza de García Hermanos.

Resources

To organise your visit to Betanzos, go to https://turismo.betanzos.es/es/betanzos-cerca/

Nearby sites of ornithological interest

You can combine this walk with a visit to Chelo, located upriver on the Mandeo, or both banks of the Betanzos Ria, included in this guide, which takes in the Pazo de Mariñán manor house and Souto bird observatory.

Birds of the Mariñas

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Andarríos chico
Scolopacidae
It is a small bird with fairly short legs and dark yellow feet.
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Common coalman
Paridae
It has yellow breast in contrast to the bluish tail and wings.
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Back common stone
Scolopacidae
It has a compact body, with its short legs, neck and beak. The legs have an intense orange coloration.
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Common correlimos
Scolopacidae
It is a medium-sized bird with a dark bill and legs.
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Martin common fisherman
Alcedinidae
Bright bluish green above, orange brown underneath.
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Curruca capirotada
Sylviidae
Curruca de tamaño medio, de aspecto robusto y de una tonalidad grisácea en general.
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European Robin
Turdidae
The plumage of the chest and face are orange.
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European aquatic mirlo
Cinclidae
Aquatic blackbirds are medium-sized plump birds, short tails and rather small wings.
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Common Zampullin
Podicipedidae
In the breeding season it has a bridal plumage in which the throat and neck stand out red, with a yellow spot on the membranous part of the base of the bill.
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Real Zarapito
Scolopacidae
The head of the Royal Zarapito is quite uniform in color.

Other places to visit:

The churches of Santiago, San Francisco and Santa María do Azogue, in the historic quarter.

A tour of the works of the town’s benefactors, the García Naveira brothers.

Useful telephone numbers and addresses:

For details of bus times, call A Coruña bus station on 981 184 335
Emergency services: 112
Betanzos Town Council: 981 770 011