Whether you’re from here or elsewhere, chances are that you have heard about the Cantal’s wealth of ornithological treasures! How can you spot birds in the Hautes Terres du Cantal? Here are a few sites and tips to help you spot our winged wonders. Embark on a journey across the skies of the Hautes Terres!

What kind of birds can you spot?

On the mountain pastures

Birds of prey, such as the black kite and the red kite, are omnipresent and easy to spot. Just a warm breeze and the red kite is out and about! The Honey buzzard and the Short-toed eagle are also present, but you’ll need a little more patience to spot them.

Here’s a tip to recognise them: the Red kite can be recognised by its light-coloured head (white and black) and the fawn-coloured underside of its tail!

Milan royal

Red kite

Near the water

The grey heron, a popular wading bird that is easy to recognise and can be seen everywhere. The Eurasian coot is also easy to identify. However, to spot the Great crested grebe or Common snipe, a lookout post is essential! 

Here’s a tip to recognise them: shorebirds, such as the common snipe, are known as small waders. They use their feet to wade through shallow water, while stalking their prey. 

In the forest

An entirely different environment! Eurasian jays cross the road or path as you approach, but other birds are more discreet. You’ll have to scour the woodland bark to see the Chiffchaff or the Nuthatch!
Owls are sure to be watching you as you continue your search!

Here’s a tip to recognise them: the nuthatch feeds on insects that it takes from tree bark. It moves in all directions along the tree, and its coat is easy to recognise: blue on the top of the body and head, ochre under the abdomen

Héron au Lac du Pêcher

Heron at the Lac du Pêcher

The best spots for birdwatching

A specially adapted site on the banks of the Lac du Pêcher

The ornithological observatory on the Lac du Pêcher gives you a bird’s-eye view of the lake and its surroundings, while being camouflaged by a driftwood cladding. Information signs complete the observation and help you to recognise the different species.
Nearby, La Pinatelle wood also offers easy sightings, if you keep a low profile!

Ideal sites for birdwatching 

  • Be on the lookout at La Roche de Landeyrat
    The boulder field is home to a wealth of prey for birds of prey and bats. The star of the site? The red kite!
  • Gazing at Le Jolan and La Gazelle peat bogs
    Waterfowl love to enjoy the lake near the landscaped path. A view at your fingertips!
  • Watch the diversity of birdlife at the Brujaleine peat bogs in Chastel-sur-Murat.
    Common chaffinches, brown shrikes, Eurasian kestrels, Northern wheatears, reed buntings, coots, grey herons, common moorhens, meadow pipits and many other species blend into the landscape of peat bogs and mountain pastures.

And what about the migratory birds?

These long-distance travellers take different routes, thereby creating migratory corridors. Tracking migratory birds implies following the seasons, marked by the return of the warm weather and the arrival of the cold.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Meadow pipit, Eurasian siskin, European starling... A spot not to be missed? the Col de Prat de Bouc mountain pass, at an altitude of 1392 m, at the foot of the Plomb du Cantal!

Observatoire du Lac du Pêcher

Lac du Pêcher observatory

Chaos de Landeyrat

Boulder field of Landeyrat