Understanding some frequently used terms is very useful as you will learn and enjoy more.


Family of birds belonging to the order of the Anseriformes, i.e. ducks, swans, geese, etc. 


Generic term covering many families of birds. In general, they are birds that live in aquatic habitats, whether on the coast or inland. Waterbirds can be anything from ducks and herons to cormorants and waders.


Heterogeneous group of birds from different families that spend their entire lives (or a significant part of it) at sea, on which they depend. Included in this group are gulls as well as many species of cormorants, shearwaters, terns, etc.

Certain sea birds, such as some species of gulls, can live in environments far from the sea thanks to their eclecticism. Others only go ashore to breed, such as common murre and other species of gull.

Raptors or birds of prey

Broadly, they are birds that hunt or eat carrion. In a narrower sense, they include two different orders: Falconiformes and Strigiformes. The former are diurnal raptors: falcons, eagles, kites, harriers, vultures, hawks, etc. The second group consists of nocturnal birds of prey such as owls.

Cliff birds

They are birds whose habitat is cliffs, rocky drops or simply rocky areas. They generally use them for nesting. The peregrine falcon, griffon vulture and Eurasian crag martin are some examples of this type of bird.


Based on the Latin origin of the word, they are birds that live in the silt or mud. That is more or less the case, as they live in a wide variety of wetlands -from the coast to the inland region- and feed on small organisms they find in this type of environment.

In the strict sense they are birds of the order Charadriiformes. All have in common more or less long and highly sensitive beaks to catch and capture small organisms in the silt, sand, wet meadows, etc. Waders include curlews, godwits, dunlins, oystercatchers, etc. Virtually all are migratory and make large displacements between distant places. The record for the longest flight without stopping is held by the bar-tailed godwit, which is capable of flying 11,000 km from Alaska to New Zealand.


They are seasonal trips taken on a regular basis that many species of birds generally make from their nesting and breeding areas to the places where they spend the winter.

In Galicia we receive migratory birds in the spring and summer that they come to breed (summer birds), such as barn swallows, and we also host birds that only visit in winter (wintering birds) from more northern latitudes, such as the northern pintail. Also, certain birds can only be seen during their migration, such as the European pied flycatcher. The birds that remain in the same territory all year round are usually called residents.