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The fauna

Lilleau des Niges, paradise for birds and ornithologists

  • Crédit : Incognito photographe

The reserve of Lilleau des Niges was created in 1980 on a site where ancient salt marshlands were situated.


Located on one of the major European migration routes, this nature reserve shelters hundreds of thousands of birds taking refuge here: a racted by an important fauna living in the marshlands, some birds build their nests and reproduce.

Coming from Africa, Siberia, Greenland, Scandinavia or Canada, over 300 species have been watched by the ‘Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux’ (League for the Protection of Birds) which regularly rings them so that they can be identifed.

As winter is particularly mild in Île de Ré, brants, Eurasian curlews, belted king shers or Eurasian oystercatchers stop here in winter, which represents 40,000 birds. In spring, you will be able to watch common shelducks, black-winged stilts, pied avocets, common terns or, if you are very lucky, rare bluethroats. At the end of the summer, ospreys, little egrets and sacred ibises show their beaks after tourists leave the island.

On the whole path connecting to Les Portes to Ars, educational notice boards describe birds to be found here; in summer, observation points are set and any curious visito  is able to view the various species with binoculars.

What are the best conditions to watch birds?

Rather in winter and spring which are periods of important migration, and rather in marshlands at high tide: when the ocean is low, the salt licks of Fiers d’Ars become fantastic picnic areas abounding with easily accessible food. And bird calls will indicate you where they are…

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