La fauna dell'Elba

Together with the sisters of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba Island hosts some rare animal species, that are not always easy to discover and observe in nature, because they are shy and fearful. The geographic isolation has favored the development of a fauna that has different characteristics from that of the mainland. The phenomenon is particularly clear if we consider the large number of native animals with unique shapes that inhabit Elba Island. These animals are mainly terrestrial invertebrates. For instance, among many we mention the tiny snails of the genus Oxychilus present in two different species.

The springs of Elba hosts a unique blind shrimp of the Ilvanella genus and butterflies like Coenonympha corinna and Hipparchia neomiris.
Besides these, there are also many species of native spider, among them we recall the Migale Cteniza sauvagesi which finds shelter during daylight hours in underground nest closed by operculum. The islands represent a refuge for some species of animals that have disappeared elsewhere, such as the Tyrrhenian frog, a medium sized frog, the only amphibious that exists from different geological eras, to be found on the islands of Montecristo and Giglio.

Among the lizards is widespread the green emerald lizard which can reach a length of 25 cm; while among the snakes, very common is the western whip snake which fastly slips among the Mediterranean low bushes and hides among the branches of oaks and arbutus to protect from dangers or to hunt small preys. Along the coastline there was once the common sea turtle Caretta featuring a large brownish tortoise shell which can reach a length of over one meter .

The Mammals

The terrestrial fauna is characterized by species that are originally unknown. Among them we cite the Goat and the Viper of Montecristo, introduced by man in the Protohistoric era. The mammals are those typical of the Mediterranean environment. Remarkable is the presence of the rare mustelids ( Mustelidae martes ). In the seventies the Central European wild boar ( Sus scrofa) was introduced, after the Maremma wild boar got nearly extinguished. Today there is a cross- breed wild boar which is very prolific, can reach a weight of 150 kg and causes a lot of agricultural damages. Besides the boar there are also the mouflon and the hare.

Birds of Elba Island

Bird life is very rich and it includes resident and migratory birds. All the typical Mediterranean birds nest or overwinter upon cliffs, in the maquis or in the forests. It is not a coincidence that Elba and the other islands belonging to the Tuscan Archipelago represent a popular destination for ornithologists.

Among the most lively environments we cite: the islets of Cerboli, Palmaiola and the island of Topi and Enfola Cape. There are many species and many specimen of swallows and swifts, sparrows , finches and thrushes. At twilight common and serotine bats start flying. Among the birds nesting on the island there are the Barn Owl, the Peregrine Falcon and the Kestrel , the Common Owl, the Buzzard and the massive Raven .

Among the seabirds, the most common are the omnivores gulls that occupy large areas of the cliffs to nest, while seagulls are more rare. We also remember the Shag, a cormorant having marine customs. Typical of the island is also the rare Red Grouse ( Alectoris rufa ) and the Common Pheasant ( Phasianus colchicus ) to be found both in Elba Island and Pianosa. The lands of the Archipelago represent an important stopover point for migratory birds that after having mated in Northern Europe, go to the southern lands to winter and then come back again north at the end of the cold season.

The Butterflies Sanctuary

The Butterflies Sanctuary

Established by the National Park within an environment unique for its biodiversity nearby Mount Capanne.

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