Cliff vultures Gorges du Tarn.Cliff vultures Gorges du Tarn.
©Cliff vultures Gorges du Tarn.|© B. Colomb Lozère Sauvage pour Pact Gdt

The little birds of the Grands Causses

Discover the region's wealth of ornithological treasures.

Discover the birds of the Grands Causses lozériens and the ornithological wealth of the region.

The vast limestone plateau of the Causse MéjeanThe Causse Méjean
©The Causse Méjean|Rémi Flament
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Birds of theGrands Causses

On the Causses, as in the Gorges, the star bird is the Vulture! However, there are over a hundred species of birds living in this majestic Caussenard landscape! If you know how to observe and listen carefully, you can come across many of these little birds on short hikes. Here are just a few you might spot!


Red-billed Chough

Latin name: Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Size: 41 cm
Wingspan: 76 to 80 cm.
Weight: 280 to 360 g

The Red-billed Crake is distinguished by its black-blue plumage, red beak and pasta. The bird is a true aerial acrobat, capable of graceful and dexterous flight. It travels in pairs, small groups or large gatherings of up to a hundred individuals. The Red-billed Crake frequents maritime moors and cliff-top pastures such as the Grands Causses.


Common wheatear

Latin name: Oenanthe oenanthe

Size: 16 cm
Wingspan: 26 to 32 cm.
Weight: 17 to 30 g

The clammy wheatear is characterized by a white rump that is easily identifiable in flight. The male’s plumage is black and gray, while the female’s is a less contracted brown and gray. The red wheatear is generally found in mountainous territory, but also in stony fields such as those of the Grands Causses.

The red wheatear is a migratory bird. From October onwards, it flies to equatorial Africa, where it winters until April.



Latin name: Upupa epops

Size: 32 cm
Wingspan: 42 to 46 cm.
Weight: 55 to 80 g

Its large, erectile hoopoe, long beak, rufous plumage and black-and-white tail make the Hoopoe a remarkable bird!

The Hoopoe is a demanding bird in terms of habitat. During nesting, it selects an open to semi-open, bare or lightly grassed environment close to tree or rock cavities.

During the breeding season, hoopoes live in pairs, then in small family groups.


Ortolan Bunting

Latin name: Emberiza hortulana

Size: 17 cm
Wingspan: 24 to 27 cm.
Weight: 19 to 27 g

Its head, neck and breast are olive-green, contrasting with its yellow throat. The lower part of the body is pinkish, while the upper part is reddish-brown with black stripes. The male can be distinguished from the female by a more colorful hue and the absence of small black spots on the upper belly.

The Ortolan Bunting makes its home in an open environment sparsely dotted with trees. Outside the breeding season, the bird lives among a hundred or so individuals in Africa.


The Ortolan Bunting was coveted for its dearness until the European Union banned its hunting in 2009.


European Nightjar

Latin name: Caprimulgus europaeus

Size: 28 cm
Wingspan: 54 to 60 cm.
Weight: 67 to 100 g

Difficult to observe, the plumage of this nocturnal bird blends into the dead leaves and bark. During its breeding season, the Common Nighthawk settles in medium-sized mountains or plains, in open woodlands.