Fauna 2019-01-11T19:06:37+00:00

The most common species

The fauna of the Reserve counts lots of species.

The roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is an ungulate species present in the upper mountain side. It is a potential prey for wolves. It can frequently be seen at high altitude pastures where the shepherds lead the cattle herds, which – following the transhumance roads – populate the upland of the Sila Mountain and its slopes from May-June to September-October.

The wild boar (Sus scrofa), which in recent years has extremely increased its number, is distributed in very different habitats (from the holly oak forest of the lowlands to the beech forest). Its passages are made evident by the turning of the ground excavated in search of tubers and roots. In winter it tends to descend into the scrub where the milder climate allows it to find food more easily, consisting of acorns, tubers and some fruits, such as strawberry trees.

The hare (Lepus italica) occurs in many environments from the sea level up to the high mountains and is a timid animal and nocturnal in its habits. It may not be difficult to observe it despite the fact that it is often pursued by the fox (Vulpes vulpes) – which is the king of carnivores especially in the lowlands. It forages for berries, wild fruits and domestic fruits that are found in the countryside.

Among the small rodents it is possible to admire the adorable hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), the dormouse (Glis glis) and the southern squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris meridionalis); while among the carnivore mustelids, the beech marten (Martes foina), the marten (Martes martes), the weasel (Mustela nivalis), the skunk (Mustela putorius) and the badger (Meles meles) are widespread.

Several species of birds also occur, first of all the birds of prey such as the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and the sparrow-hawk (Accipiter nisus), mainly in the forest; the buzzard (Buteo buteo), the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the red kite (Milvus milvus), the brown kite (Milvus migrans) and hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), preferring instead the rocky walls and open spaces on the slopes of the Sila Mountain. Among the nocturnal birds of prey there are the barn owl (Tyto alba), the common owl (Asio otus), the tawny owl (Strix aluco), the little owl (Athene noctua), the scops owl (Otus scops). There are also numerous corvids, including the raven (Corvus corax), the hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix), the magpie (Pica pica) and the jay (Garrulus glandarius) known as the bird of the ninety-nine chants. Among the columbiformes there are the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), the wild pigeon (Columba livia) and the turtledove (Streptopelia turtus). What is relevant is also the presence of the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), the great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major) and, in the wet woods, the woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and the common snipe (Gallinago gallinago). Finally, a large number of passerines shall be mentioned, among which we find the blackbird (Turdus merula), the redwing (Turdus iliacus), the fieldfare (Turdus pilaris), the great tit (Parus major), the goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), together with many sparrows, larks, sylviidae, finches, and so on.

The amphibians are represented by the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), the Italic frog (Rana italica), the green frog (Rana esculenta), the agile frog (Rana agilis), the tree frog (Hyla arborea), the common toad (Bufo bufo) , the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata).

Among the reptiles it is common to find the grass snake (Natrix natrix), the western lizard (Lacerta viridis), the common wall lizard (Lacerta muralis) and the common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), the gecko or tarantula of the walls (tarantula mauritanica) , the slow worm (Anguis fragilis), the common viper (Vipera aspis), the western whip snake (Coluber viridiflavus), the four-lined snake (Elaphe quatorlineata), the Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima) and the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) and the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni).

The fish species are also widely represented, in particular way by the brown trout (Salmo fario), the eel and the freshwater crab.

Insects are certainly among the most precious resources, of which only a few examples are given: Melolontha melolonhta, Cetonia aurata, Cerambyx cerdo, Zonabris variabilis, Tettigonia viridissima, Mantis religiosa, and so on. Butterflies – which are widespread in all environments – deserve special mention among the insects: Pieris brassicae, Aporia crataegi, Vanessa cardui, Papilio machaon, and so on.

Rare species

The faunal heritage of the area is also enriched by the presence of other species falling under the infrequently encountered ones:

  • the king of the forest, namely the wolf (Canis lupus), despite the numeric decrease relating to the recent past, remains the most mysterious and fairy-tale of the animals;

  • the wildcat (Felis silvestris) with its strictly nocturnal habits is probably even less rare than it seems, but considering its extremely diffident character and its attention to keep away from men, it becomes very difficult to sight an example of it. Only with great luck it is possible to catch sight of it in the thick deep woods;

  • the crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), of nocturnal habits is frequent up to the most Mediterranean area;

  • the forest dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) is a rodent typically widespread in the eastern alpine arc and absent in the Apennines, except in Calabria where, although quite rare, it has also been sighted on the slopes of the Sila Piccola Mountain;

  • the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo), with a wingspan of about 180 cm is the biggest nocturnal bird of prey, rare but present with a good number of examples, active at night during which they hunt large rodents;

  • the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) – which probably takes its name because it was  frequently represented in the figurative art of ancient Egypt – is a migratory species known locally as “Pasqualina” – little Easter –  because it comes to the area during the Easter period. At present times, it is one of the most rare vultures in Italy and since some decades it has been unexpectedly present in this area where, until a few years ago, at least a couple of it have nested;

  • the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) is the largest among the European woodpecker and easily distinguishable by its black plumage, the red nape in the female and the red crest in the male;

  • the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex) lives in pools of water almost stagnant and in typical masonry joint;

  • the spectacled salamander (Salamandrina tergiditata) with its amazing colors and its characteristic slow and clumsy movements is diffused in the middle and low band, where it can be easily observed in small water courses.

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