Birding Factoids

424 species
in 51 families

2 of the 5 European
endemics are 
represented here. 
No national endemics
9 speciality species
11 endangered species

    (including Mallorca)
Checklist of Spanish BirdsTours and GuidesEcolodgesRare Bird AlertsSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country Information
Check out this English language list about bird watching in Spain. If your bird is in Spain, this is your list.

Also have a look at these photos of the Birds of the Iberian Peninsula by Luis Salas
also Ben van den Broek's Digiscoped Birds of Spain and Digiscoped birds of Mallorca
Dani L Huertas' Digiscoped Gallery of Birds in Spain
John Judge's Spain Birds photos and Cliff Buckton's Birds of Spain.

Spanish Specialities
Black-winged Stilt - Photo copyright David Lingard
Photo copyright David Lingard

Hedge Accentor - Photo copyright Gaby Schulemann

Photo copyright Gaby Schulemann

Cirl Bunting - Photo copyright David Lingard

Photo copyright David Lingard

Kentish Plover - Photo coyright Lieuwe Dijksen

Photo coyright Lieuwe Dijksen

Whiskered Tern - Photo copyright Ivan Steenkiste

Photo copyright Ivan Steenkiste

Grey Wagtail - Photo copyright Henning Feddes

Photo copyright Henning Feddes

Kentish Plover (Majorca) - Photo copyright David Lingard

Photo copyright David Lingard

Yellow-legged Gull - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Red-billed Chough - Photo copyright Cursorius

Photo copyright Cursorius

White-headed Duck - ENDANGERED - Photographer Unknown

Photographer Unknown

Cinereous Vulture - Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Lesser Kestrel - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Guido Band

Photo copyright Guido Band

Little Crake - Photo copyright Paul Gale

Photo copyright Paul Gale

Black-bellied Sandgrouse - Photo copyright Cursorius

Photo copyright Cursorius

Azure-winged Magpie - Photo copyright Kim Hyun-Tae

Photo copyright Kim Hyun-Tae

Marsh Tit - Photo copyright Jeremy Barker

Photo copyright Jeremy Barker

Red-necked Nightjar - Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Spotless Starling - Photo copyrigh Pascal Dubois

Photo copyright Pascal Dubois

Eurasian Spoonbill - Photo copyright Karl Ng

Photo copyright Karl Ng
    ....Bird Watch Southern Spain - Southern Spain and Istanbul share the
      honours - as the two main migration routes between Europe and Africa. This commercial website nevertheless gives an excellent idea of the key birding locations in southern Spain.
    ....Birdwatching in Southern Spain - Where to go... this site has a 
      clickable map to the key birding locations in Southern Spain.
    ....Llobregat Delta Nature Reserves web site - there is lots of 
      information on this reserve near Barcelona, not only daily bird sightings at the reserves (plus information, census, original large format & high quality photographs, etc...) but also information on rare birds in Spain including a downloadable list of the birds of Spain. Primarily in Catalan, with some English.
    ....ADENEX's Biological Reserves Network in Extremadura - Some of
      the most important natural ecosystems in Europe can still be found in the 42.000 km2 of Extremadura. Large areas of Mediterranean forest, holm oak and cork oak pastures, mountains, plains and wetlands, give shelter to 420 different species of vertebrates; among them, some so valuables ones as Imperial Eagles (one third of the world population), Black Storks (150 breeding pairs), Black Vultures (500 pairs), Great Bustard (6.000), lynxes or wolves. 
    ....Spain Birding - this commercial website contains a lot of useful
      information about birds and birding at:
      • Ebro Delta
      • Tortosa-Beseit Mountain Range
      • Llobregat Delta
      • Garraf Hills
      • Emporda Marshes
      • Pyrenees
    ....Spain - Birds and Birding - All countries have their natural 
      treasures and beautiful, special places in which to seek out and enjoy them. Spain is no exception but to an extent unusual among western European countries. Most of the country, towns and cities included, offers the naturalist plenty of interest and it is the barren, spoilt corners that are the exception. Birds are a favourite element in any national wildlife inventory. Depend on it, if the bird community is varied and abundant, not too much is wrong with a place and there will be plenty of other less obvious animals to find as well, all supported by a healthy plant community. 
    ....Birdwatching in Andalusia and Gibraltar - this series of articles by 
      Richard Banham addresses the main birdwatching highlights and sites for birding in this southern region of Spain. Andalusia offers outstanding opportunities for birdwatchers and these articles outline birdwatching and ringing activities, as well as looking forward a month or so ahead to expected bird activity and migration.
    ....Birds of the Plains. An introduction to the Llanos de Cáceres
      There are still places in Spain which seem safe from industrial pressures and changes in agricultural uses. Places where it is still   possible to savour the traditions of people who make a living from what they grow, from their flocks of sheep and from the work of their hands. And in the very heart of Extremadura lies one of those magical  examples of the past, a refuge of men and nature in a pure state, a place where  time seems to stand still. 
    ....Birding in Spain - by Margo Hearne. Rain has not fallen on Spain's
      Andalucian plains since 1988. Many of the rivers which run into the Mediterranean Sea have dried up completely and the Sierra mountains have not been dusted with snow for many years. In Spain, you have to travel a long way to see a shorebird. One of the greatest tragedy's occurring in Europe today is the draining of the Donana, the Donana is the estuary of the Guadalquiver River which joins the Atlantic on Spain's south coast. Once one of the richest estuaries in Europe, teeming with migrant and overwintering birds, over the years it has been drained and almost all turned into farm land.
    ....Birding in Noia, Galicia, Spain. In Spanish only.
    ....General Information on birdwatching on the Portsmouth/Bilbao Ferry
    ....Parc Natural del Delta de l'Ebre - El Delta ofereix una diversitat 
      d'hàbitats d'una gran riquesa biològica. Although this site is primarily in Spanish (English paragraph at the end), it does offer a small map of the Ebro Delta area. More information on the Ebro delta. And more information on teh Ebro delta as a RAMSAR site.
    ....Empordà Marshes Natural Park - located in the far north-east corner
      of Spain, the Marshes have been designated as both a RAMSAR site and and an Important Bird Area. Birds are in evidence throughout the Park. So far 329 different species have been observed, 93 of which nest there.This web-site provides both a bird checklist and maps of key locations within the park. 
    ....Iberian Bird Guide - this website provides a lsiting of the birds of the
      Iberian peninsula, with some photos. 
    ....The Pink Lagoon - Surrounded by a vast, monotonous terrain, the 
      Lagoon of Fuente de Piedra appears like a glorious oasis in the extensive Llanure de Antequera, considered to be one of the largest natural lagoons in Spain. Breeding place of the pink flamingos.
    ....Nature around Tarifa, Spain - The Cadiz coastal area is not only 
      situated at the meeting of two continents, but also its shores are wetted by two seas with very different characteristics. Here the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean communicate through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Strait of Gibraltar (southern tip of Cádiz province, Spain) is the most important “bottle-neck” for central and western Europe migratory birds crossing the Mediterranean sea, travelling towards and from their wintering quarters in the African continent. Their only 14 km of maximum wide made this area specially important for soaring birds (storks, vultures, eagles...), which during fall migration concentrates by hundreds of thousands in the area of Tarifa waiting for suitable winds to allow them crossing to Africa. See also this site.
    ....Birding Itineraries In the Catalan area of Spain - immediately south of
      Barcelona, Spain.
    ....Doñana, World Heritage Site - Doñana is a land of contrasts. It is
      part of Europe but is influenced by Africa; it is by the Atlantic Ocean but is affected by the Mediterranean. It lies between two continents and supports many species which it is hard to imagine coexisting in the same territory.
    ....Doñana National Park - Located in Andalusia, Doñana National Park
      occupies the right bank of the Guadalquivir River at its estuary on the Atlantic Ocean. It is notable for the great diversity of its biotopes, especially lagoons, marshlands, fixed and mobile dunes, scrub woodland and "maquis". It is home to 350 species of birds, incuding five threatened bird species. It is one of the biggest heronries in the Mediterranean region and is the wintering site for more than 500,000 water fowls each year.
    ....Doñana Birding Sites - This page gives a taste of the birding 
      sites that can be found in the Doñana area and are some of the best birdwatching sites in Andalucia. Although the main Visitors Centres at Doñana are easily accessible to the public there are many excellent sites that the average visiting birder would have great difficulty finding. These are the sites that I describe as "the hidden Donana" as most of these are not described in guide books and information on their whereabouts is not given. 
    ....Outdoor Spain - Three Natural Treasures - Both the marvelous
      diversity of wild Spain -- and the tension between wild Spain and settled Spain -- can be seen in three amazing national parks. In the Pyrenees, Ordesa National Park. In the Picos de Europa, the lush  green mountains along the north Atlantic coast, the National Park of La Montana de Covadonga. And in the very south, Donana, a stunning, but oh-so-fragile, bird sanctuary.
    ....Birding with Bill Oddie in Mallorca - The world's favourite holiday
      destination is also one of the best places in Europe to experience the spectacle of spring migration. Millions of birds pass through the island, stopping off on their long and arduous journey north from their African wintering grounds to breeding areas in Britain and northern Europe. 
    ....Best places for birding in Mallorca - site includes a map.
    ....Ornithology and Bird Watching on Menorca - Menorca is one 
      of the best spots for bird watching in the whole Mediterranean. There are more than 25 species of birds of prey and more than 700 mating couples on the island. That's far more than any other Mediterranean system. The reasons are the wide variety of ecosystems concentrated in a small area, the well preserved countryside, the             abundance of prey... 
    ....Extremadura, the Last Paradise for the European Fauna
      Extremadura represents an outstanding fauna interest region, either on a national or on a European or World level. The low density of population and its varied orography, defining a continuous series of mountains and plains, fertile lowlands and riversides, with large areas of natural vegetation alternating with harmonically with crops, pastures and rocks, permits the survival of a varied and abundant fauna, many of those species having become extinct in many places.
    ....El Puerto de Santa María - situated in the middle of the Parque
      Natural Bahía de Cádiz. Its fauna is very important and includes waterfowl,some of which are in danger of extinction. They choose this place to breed and to spend the winter.
    ....Biological Reserves Network in Extremadura - provides brief
      information on 25 Biological Reserves in the Extremadura region.
    ....Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Natural Park - Birds are in evidence
      throughout this Park in the Spanish Pyrenees. So far 294 different species have been observed, 90 of which nest there.
    ....Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park - The Sierra de Grazalema was 
      the first area in Andalusia to be declared a Natural Park. With its annual rainfall of 2000 litres/sq. meter, it is the rainiest point of the Iberian Peninsula.
    ....Fuente de Piedra Natural Park - Fuente de Piedra Lake together with
      the wetland sites at Campillos (made up of six lakes) and the Ratosa lake at Alameda, constitute a series of lakes of similar characteristics with regard to their origin and animal and plant communities. Given the closeness of these, all act together as complementary units within the whole lake complex for the maintenance of aquatic waterbird communities.
    ....Montes de Malaga Natural Park - The national park of Los Montes de
      Malaga spans the municipalities of Malaga and Casabermeja. Birdlife is spectacular.
    ....Birdwatching in Málaga Province - When one thinks of Málaga 
      province and the Costa del Sol in general, one thinks of warms seas, unlimited sunshine and beaches full of alcoholic tourists turning a bright red and nary a bird to be seen. Right? No, wrong.  Something over 350 species of birds have been recorded in the province over the years, some of extreme rarity. Many of these species may be seen in many areas but obviously some places just happen to be better than others. 
    ....A guide to birding sites around Alora, Malaga - Alora is 
      centrally located within easy reach of diverse habitats from the wetlands of Fuente de Piedra and Campillos to the mountainous regions of the Teba Gorge, El Chorro and Ronda, and the river valley of the Rio Guadalhorce and its estuary mouth at Malaga. This, together with easy accessibility from Malaga and its airport, makes it an idea place for the birding enthusiast on holiday. This website gives an illustrated guide to the best birding locations, and contains links to detailed trip reports by visiting birders. See also this site.
    ....Colectivo Ornitologico Sterna - Ferrol - join a group of birdwatchers in
      north-west Spain in their migration monitoring!
    ....Spain's National Parks - brief information is provided on a sampling of
      Spain's national parks.
    ....Trip Report - A few days of birding - by Christer Jakobsen. While 
      we were in Spain I got time for some birding in the areas of Monfrague (Extremadura) and Aiguamolls 'le Empuria (Catalonia). Includes map.
    ....Trip Reports - Spain - follow the Europe, then Spain, links on John
      Girdley's website to read 11 trip reports on:
      • Costa del Sol (3 reports)
      • The Pyreenees
      • The Coto de Doñana National Park (2 reports, including one from April, 2000)
      • Almeria (2 reports)
      • The Bay of Biscay (Pelagic from the Plymouth Santander Ferry)
      • Menorca and Mallorca (follow the The Balearic Islands link)
    ....Trip Report: South England and Spain (Almeria and Granada), 
      April 2-17, 1993 by Mark Oberle.
    ....Trip Report: Spain, April 7 - 13, 1996 by Per Stensland. A group 
      of 20 Norwegians, all members of the local ornithological society in the Oslo area, have been on an intensive birding-trip to "inland-Spain". We started in Alicante, went through Castillia-La Mancha to Extremadura. Then down to the northern parts of Andalucia, and back to Alicante via the region of Murcia. As one can imagine, a very intensive week. But this is almost a necessity, when a main goal is to see as many species as possible over a short time-period. 
    ....Trip Report: Southern Spain, June 13-20, 1996 by Mark Dennis
    ....Trip Report: Spain, December 26, 1996 - January 7, 1997 by
      Alberto Marcone. This is the report of the trip I and three other Italian birdwatchers made in South-western Spain (Extremadura and Andalucia) from Dec. 26, 96 to Jan 7, 97. We saw 125 species of birds in a very successful trip, even if the weather was not very good, with plenty of rain, and pretty cold (for Spanish standards) with temperatures around 3-5 C in Extremadura and 8-10 C in Andalucia. The "muy frio" feeling was enhanced by the fact that in most hotels where we stayed heating was at best discontinuous.
    ....Trip Report: Andalusia and Extremadura (Spain), March 12-21, 1997 by
      Luciano and Eliana Ruggieri. This is a brief report of a 10 day birding trip to Andalusia and Extremadura (Spain). Although the trip to Spain was not esclusively focused on birdwatching, we had a trip list of 102 species, with 22 species seen which were completely new for me.
    ....Trip Report: Picos de Europa (Northern Spain) - 4th - 14th September ....A birding trip to Spain - January 7-14, 2000: Andalucia and 
      Extremadura - by Heikki Karhu & Olli Karhu. Our species total for seven days was 147 if we do not count the parrot. Should we?
    ....Trip Report: Costa Almeria (Spain), April 15-22, 1997 by Dirk Raes.  ....Trip Report: Southwestern Spain, April 16-25, 1998 by Richard Dunn.
    ....Trip Report: Extremadura (Spain), April 25 - May 2, 1998 by Yves
    ....Trip Report: Extremadura (Spain), 1-6 May 1998, by John van der
      Woude. Extremadura in mid-West Spain was extreme for us mainly in the sense that the roads were nearly all extravagantly good, and that the birding was extremely interesting. See also John's 1999 report on NE Spain and France.
    ....Trip Report: Extremadura (Spain), May 15-29, 1998 by Neil Money.  ....Trip Report: Central Spain, 13-17 May, 1999, by Ian Reid. I first
      suggested the idea of a long weekend in Spain to old university mate and fellow birder Steve Young in early March. Although at that stage I had no particular knowledge of good sites or even a comprehensive check-list of species, it seemed like a good opportunity given that I would be in Madrid later that month for work. See also Ian's 2000 Trip Report.
    ....Trip Report: Spanish Pyrenees, May 22 - June 1, 1998 by Peter Jones. ....Trip Report - Central Spain, 13-17 May, 1999, Ian Reid and Steve 
    ....Trip Report: Birding on Menorca, Spring 2001, by Dylan Wrathall. 
      It was not the plants that had created the inner expectancy, but birds. Those known only from the pages of field guides and magazines, yet now within my reach. I was here to enjoy every encounter to the full.
    ....Trip Report: Menorca, 22 May to 5 June, 2000 - by David Newman. 
      This was a family holiday so most of the birding was done early in the morning as, understandably, my wife didn`t want to be left in charge of our three young children on her own for most of the time.
    ....Trip Report: Birding in Spain, 6-14 May 2002, by Jim Willson. 
      Spain provides an extensive range of habitats and some of the most exciting birding in Western Europe Two main bases were chosen.Potes in the North West,a lovely town in the Picos de Europa and Trujillo,in central Spain,an equally delightful area.
    ....Trip Report: Spain (Extremadura & Western Andalucia) - 19 April to 
      3 May 2003, by Gavin Edmondstone. This was our fist birding trip to Spain. Since our previous European birding experience was limited to England we did not have to try too hard to see lots of new birds.
    ....Trip Report: Majorca and Menorca (Spain), by Mark Hancock.
    ....Trip Report: Mallorca, March 2-16, 1996 by Gunnar Engblom
    ....Trip Report: Mallorca , April 11-17, 1998 by Adrian Kettle
    ....Trip Report: Mallorca (Spain), May 8-15, 1998 by Dirk Raes
    ....Trip Report: Mallorca, April 4-10, 1999 by Ted Reed
    ....Trip Report: Mallorca, April 14-20, 1997 by James J. Packer 
    ....Trip Report - Mallorca - by Paul Wetton. Sarah and I visited Mallorca
      for two weeks in autumn 1999, arriving on the 11th and leaving on 25th of September.Port de Pollenca is probably the ideal place to stay if you are bird watching in Mallorca as it is situated close to most of the best birding sites. Generally the north of the island is fairly unspoilt and provides much better birding, walking and scenery than the rest of the island. The beauty of Mallorca, especially in the north, is that many of the best birding spots offer good scenery for the less ardent  birders who may be accompanying a bird watching visitor.
    ....Trip Report: Spain and France, May 13-27, 2000, by Phil Cruttenden.
      Chris Jackson and I drove from England to Extremadura and back taking in the Pyrenees, Zaragoza, Monfrague, Trujillo and Caceres, Picos de Europa, La Brenne, Fontainebleau and Calais. 
    ....Trip report: North eastern Spain, September 9 - 16, 2000, by 
      Nico Geiregat. In september 2000, my girlfriend and I travelled to north eastern Spain. Our time was limited to one week. Our main goal was birdwatching. However the combination of these three elements (girlfriend - limited time - birdwatching) proved to be a real challenge at some times… especially for her…  Since she preferred looking for the bigger birds, I neglected the smaller ones too.  Don’t expect Spanish people to understand or speak French or English, even if you’re close to the French border or at the mediterranian coast.
    ....Trip Report - Andalucia, Southern Spain - 10 - 16 June 2001. By Bob
      Newman and Diane Major. This was not an "eyeballs out" birding trip as we were visiting friends who live near Estapona, also it was a little late in the year for the best birding in Southern Spain. 
    ....Trip Report: Culture & Vultures, Spain - 25 May - 10 June 2002, 
      by Ian Broadbent. I can thoroughly recommend Spain as a birding destination; in addition to the Iberian specialities the quality of the birding was excellent throughout, with many of the classic
      Mediterranean species (Bee-eater, Hoopoe, shrikes etc.) being fairly common. Spain has an excellent road network, making it easy to travel fairly long distances, and there seemed to be plenty of places to stay and eat. 
    ....Trip Report: Spanish Pyrenees: July 2002. By Steve Bird and Nick
      Bray. 128 Species of birds seen, 69 Species of Butterfly and much more! On reflection, we had an excellent trip in which we saw all the specialities of the Pyrenees and were able to enjoy a very light-hearted and fun tour. A Birdseekers Tour Report.
    ....Trip Report - Almeria,Spain: 24th-29th January, 2002. By John Malloy 

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Tours and Guides

...>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Spanish Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
    **..Bird-watching contacts in Spain - from
    **..Spring Birding in Central & Northern Spain with Victor Emanuel Nature
      Tours (VENT). Spain has long been an extremely popular destination for European birders, offering as it does a wide range of typical Mediterranean habitats, along with easy, safe and excellent birding. Many sites are in beautifully scenic settings featuring Romanesque architecture and ancient, fortified hilltop villages. Despite its appeal within Europe as a "sun and sand" holiday destination, much of interior Spain is very rural and way off the tourist trail. This is the finest region to sample a large array of southern European species and is especially good for raptors, with 22 species likely. The itinerary provides a great diversity of birds by concentrating on three distinct habitats: the semi-arid steppes of central and northern interior Spain; the scenic Sierras and high, alpine Pyrenees to the north in Catalonia and Aragon; and the Ebro River delta wetlands on the Mediterranean coast.  VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.
    **..Boletas - Birdwatching Holidays in North-East Spain -
      We have prepared 7-day and 10/11-day tours which take place in the best birding and scenic sites in the northeast of Spain. Planned for the best time of the year, each one possesses its own characteristics as our aim is to draw attention to both of the major zones in this contrasting mosaic of landscapes: THE EBRO VALLEY STEPPES and the PYRENEES.
    ....Birdwatching Holidays in Spain - from the Pyrenees, through
      Gallocanta, Monfrague to Donana

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    **..Quinta do Barranco da Estrada - Just across the border into Portugal, 
      you will find a small, 7 bedroomed south facing lakeside hotel with stunning views over one of Europe's largest and cleanest lakes, it is set in unspoilt countryside one and a half hours from Faro International Airport. There is some wonderful countryside to be explored with spectacular views of the lake, offering a fascinating variety of birds and animal for the wildlife enthusiast. From hoopoes to herons to tree frogs and mongooses, each season brings its own delights. Truly a birding paradise. Click here for a species list.
    **..Arroyo Hondo, the Ultimate Vacation Holiday, Ctra. de Casares Km 10,
      29690 Casares (Malaga) Spain.  For eagle lovers, this is the place for you, with Imperial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Steppes Eagle, Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles all resident in the Casares area. We are a happy-go-lucky lot, who have lived in Spain on and off for over 30 years Hey !  that's a lot of flea markets to stroll through, vino tinto to drink and wonderful Spanish food to eat.  Come and stay with us and experience the charm and ambiance of the region, experience the "Holiday of a Lifetime" 

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Rare Bird Alert

    ....Rare Birds in Spain - by Ricard Gutiérrez, Joint Secretary of the Spanish
      Rarities Committee.


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European Endemics and Specialities

in Spain

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5. Speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Europe. Species printed in bold italic have only been sighted in Spain. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International, and supporting data bases developed by Ian Patton, of Merlin Species Watcher.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Spain. 

European Endemics in Spain - No National Endemics

___ Citril Finch  ___ Red-legged Partridge
Endangered Birds in Spain

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Audouin's Gull
___ Corn Crake
___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Greta Bustard
___ Imperial Eagle 
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Marbled Teal
___ White-headed Duck
___ Aquatic Warbler

Other Speciality Birds in Spain

___ Azure-winged Magpie
___ Brown Noddy
___ Dark Chanting-Goshawk
___ Great Blue Heron 
___ Grey-headed Gull
___ Lesser Flamingo
___ Marsh Owl
___ Masked Booby
___ Small Buttonquail
___ Tawny Eagle
___ White-faced Whistling Duck

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Links checked November 18, 2000