Intrigued to learn more about the island’s birdlife?
GITH has enlisted bird photographer Roland Vella to bring you The Gozo Bird Diaries; A series showcasing the phenomenal birds that frequent the Maltese Islands. All have been beautifully captured on Gozo or nearby, enjoying the land, sea, or specifically chosen flowering species. There are so many to be found, each with its own distinctive call. All you have to do is recognise them. The first birds in this series are either Maltese residents or frequent visitors and can be spotted during the summer. Happy twitching!
Photography by Roland Vella
The Merill is the Maltese National bird and belongs to the Thrush family, also known as Blue Rock Thrushes. This is a male, the female has dark brown colourings. Merills are usually spotted near the cliffs or found singing on telegraph poles. They feed on worms, grasshoppers, and lizards.
Otherwise known as the Yellow-Legged Gull. They scavenge anywhere for a bite. They are the largest breeding bird in The Maltese Islands and can be spotted mainly at sea. Eggs are laid from mid-March to early May and nests are sometimes built on the ground or on the cliff edges.
Also known as a Dunlin, a member of the Sandpiper family. The Dunlin is a wader and has a distinctive call. It eats insects and worms in mud near the water edge and breeds on the ground laying 4 eggs. Spot them in Spring from March until May then again from July until November.
Ciefa Cory’s Shearwater (Scopoli’s)
The Scopoli’s Shearwater fly in large groups and feed on fish, squid, and other marine creatures. You can almost always see them trawling fishing boats for their supper and across Ta’ Cenc cliffs. The females lay a single egg which hatches after 53 days. See them mainly March – November.
The Sardinian Warbler is a common Mediterranean resident and can be spotted all over the Maltese Archipelago, particularly in woodlands, tall bushes, or your garden singing a characteristic up-tempo song. They predominantly feed on insects but tuck into berries during the winter.
Bufula ta’ l-Imrewha
Also known as a Zitting Cisticolas or a Streaked Fan-Tailed Warbler. These tiny birds are the smallest bird that breeds in the Maltese Islands and can be spotted through the year, however… this energetic species is easier to hear than see! Their preferred habitat is grasslands near water.
Gozitan born Roland is an ex-hunter, however, these days you will only find him capturing these stunning birds in Gozo behind a lens. Over the past year, his enthusiasm for bird photography accelerated and enriched his days during the Pandemic when he had more time for this passion to develop. Follow Roland on Instagram for more awesome shots!
If you want to learn more about the wildlife on Gozo, take a look at our #ForagingGozo series.