Natural Parks - Laguna de Zóñar Natural Reserve

Laguna de Zóñar Natural Reserve

With its surface measuring 37ha, the Laguna de Zóñar is the largest of a series of inland saline lakes in southern Cordoba province and the deepest in Andalucia. It is the most important lake in the province, of outstanding ornithological interest as a haven for overwintering aquatic birds and an important breeding area for many bird species, particularly the white-headed duck. Its total protected area covers 370ha.

It is one of six wetland sites in southern Cordoba, all of them natural reserves. The others are: Laguna del Conde, Laguna de Tíscar, Laguna de los Jarales, Laguna del Rincón and Laguna Amarga. Like the Laguna Amarga and Laguna del Rincón, the Laguna de Zóñar is permanent.

The Centro de Visitantes Zóñar is on the A309 Puente Genil-Aguilar de la Frontera road, at Km 77.6, 957 335 252. It has a car park, bird hides and information on the lake. There are two trails around the reserve, the Sendero Botánico La Carrizosa and the Sendero del Observatorio, which start at the visitors' centre.

The lake is near Aguilar de la Frontera on the A45 south of Cordoba. The reserve is easily accessible, located close to the A309.

The predominant vegetation is tamarisk (tamarisk canariensis, t.africana). There is also roundhead bulrush (scirpus holoschoenus), yellow wort (blackstonia perfoliata), vervain (verbena officinalis) and St John's wort (hypericum tomentosum). In the streams feeding into the lake are dense reedbeds of giant reeds (arundo donax).

South of the main lake is a smaller one, La Carrizosa, named after the reeds (carrizos) that grow there, like phragmites australis. Around the lake is Mediterranean scrubland, made up of wild olives (olea europea sylvestris) and lentisc (pistacia lentiscus). South of the lake is a large grove of cherry trees. Surrounding the lake are olive groves.

Try and visit in winter when there are great flocks of wildfowl, including great crested grebes, little grebes, shelducks, shovelers, teals, gadwalls, red-crested pochards, and teals. The reeds are home to reed warblers.

There is a variety of reptiles and amphibians, like terrapins, frogs, salamanders and snakes.

Certain species of fish, like carp, have been introduced, which have had a negative ecological impact on the lake's wildlife.

Villages nearby:
Aguilar de la Frontera
Puente Genil

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