Foresta 2000: Fauna

The Fauna

The different habitats at Foresta 2000 attract a varied fauna. Some are resident animals, while others – like birds and butterflies on migration – only stay temporarily. As re-afforestation progresses and the trees and shrubs mature, the vegetation creates more cover and shelter for fauna. Many of the trees and shrubs also produce a rich food source in leaf, flower and fruit. This encourages a rich and healthy biodiversity.

Birds

Sardinian Warbler / Joe Sultana 
Sardinian Warbler / Joe Sultana 
Resident birds include the Sardinian Warbler, Spanish Sparrow and Zitting Cisticola, all of which nest on site. In spring and autumn many migratory species occur, including birds of prey like Marsh Harrier and Honey-buzzard, and colourful birds like European Bee-eater and Hoopoe. Insectivorous birds like Subalpine Warbler, Nightingale and Pied Flycatcher flit about after bugs and flies, often supplementing their diet with berries from the shrubs. In winter, Foresta 2000 becomes home or feeding ground for Common Starlings, Black Redstarts, Blackcaps, Common Chiffchaffs and Robins, with the occasional wintering Common Kestrel hovering overhead for potential prey. Over 100 species of birds have so far been recorded at Foresta 2000.

Mammals

Wild rabbits are found at Foresta 2000, and Vagrant Hedgehogs are common, though rarely seen by day. The diminutive Pygmy White-toothed Shrew has also been recorded, while the elusive Weasel is present as well.

Reptiles

Western Whip Snake occurs in good numbers, and Cat Snake is also present. Mediterranean Chameleon is widespread, and Ocellated Skink and Moorish Gecko are common. Most of these reptiles retire in burrows or under stones during the colder months.

Insects

Hundreds of insect species occur at Foresta. These include several
Mediterranean Slant-faced Grasshopper / Victor Falzon 
Mediterranean Slant-faced Grasshopper
 Photograph by Victor Falzon

butterflies like the Swallowtail, Clouded Yellow, Bath White and Painted Lady, the latter sometimes numbering several thousands while on migration. Several grasshoppers also occur, like the Blue-winged Grasshopper – a master of camouflage – and the strange-looking Mediterranean Slant-faced grasshopper. Large Carpenter Bees and Hummingbird Hawkmoths patrol the wild flowers, while domestic honey bees from hives in a nearby meadow mix with their wild cousins. In late spring the Wild Artichoke flowers are visited by the impressive large Yellow-banded Scolid Wasp. Although there is no permanent open water, dragonflies like Lesser Emperor and Red-veined Darter are often seen zooming overhead.

Last Updated on Saturday, 2 June 2012, 8:39:37 PM
 
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