I haven’t been to Madeira yet, but I’ve included community reports from those that have.

Community Reports

Madeira, 2022: Michael Kessler’s report of mammals seen during a 2 week family holiday with 5 cetacean species including Bryde’s Whales and 2 bat species including Madeira Pipistrelles.

Madeira, 2021: Ben Balmford, 1 week & 10 species including Madeiran Pipistrelle,  Mediterranean Monk Seal and Sperm Whale.

Madeira, 2021: John Wright, 1 week & 5 species including Sperm Whales and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins.

Madeira, 2019: John Wright, 10 days & 8 species including Madeira Pipistrelle, Sperm Whale, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and Mediterranean Monk Seal.

Peter Cartwright visited Madeira in 2008. There is good cetacean watching off Madeira. Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Bryde’s Whale are regular in the (northern) summer, and they also picked up Sei and False Killer Whales. More information is at and He sailed with a company called Rota dos Cetaceos. They have three sailings a day from Funchal the capital, and go out in a R.I.B to swim with dolphins. The company has spotters on land to direct them to the animals, so they have a very high success rate (they offer you a free second trip if you don’t see a whale or dolphin). They also do dedicated cetacea watching trips using a motorised catamaran, which only runs three times a week. Another company sails from Calheta on the south-western coast. They sail most days, often twice. They have a motorised boat of traditional design and see a similar selection of stuff too.

Matt Altieri, emailed to say Mediterranean Monk Seals are also apparently findable, though not common, if one heads to the Desertas Island. During a trip to Madeira, I went with a boat to Desertas Islands for a birding day. I asked the skipper of the boat “Is possible to see the Monk Seals?” He answered “Very very difficult. Only once every ten trips”. We arrived in the main bay of Desertas, stopped the boat and we saw immediately a Monk Seal just 10 meters from the boat! And he was not alone, there were 2 Monk Seals! A female with full grown cubs, they played near us. Suddenly an old male came and the Seals, after almost an hour, swam away. The skipper went crazy and took many pics. It was September 2006 and, even after 3 years, he said that trip remained inimitable, the best of his life. And I think I witnessed a thing that, sadly, would not be more possible in the next century. He took a boat trip with Ventura do Mar.

1 Comment

  • DiedertK

    We encountered Leisler’s Bat on Madeira. Is there any current literature on the taxonomic status of this species on Madeira? Is the ssp verrucosus already split? Kind regards

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