La Graciosa biosphere wildlife and birdwatching

It is not just under water that you can find unique and often spectacular specimen of wildlife but also on the ground and above: an impressive diversity of rare birds can be found in the Marine Reserve of the Chinijo Archipelago.



More about La Graciosa's biosphere 

'The island La Graciosa is framed within the Marine Reserve of the Chinijo Archipelago. … With its 70.700 hectars it is the largest marine reserve in Europe and an area of exceptional landscape value. … The resources of its waters explain the abundance of sea birds, which find here a base for their nourishment. This was the reason why the park has been declared Special Area for the Protection of Birds (ZEPA) … It boasts the highest population of the ash coloured linnet. Amongst rarer species in danger of extinction we can find the light breast coloured paiño or birds of prey scuh as the kestrel hawk, owls, the Eleonor falcon or "aleta" (Falco eleonorae) and the sparrow hawk or fishing hawk (Pandion halla etus)'. ...more

'...the Cory's Shearwater has recovered to about ten thousand pairs on Alegranza and thousand pairs on Montaña Clara. Less than a few hundred couples nest on La Graciosa and the two rocky islets. Other seabirds breeding on the Chinijos are Bulwer's Petrel (sp: Petrel de Bulwer, Bulweria bulwerii), Madeiran Storm-petrel (sp: Paíño de Madeira, Oceanodroma castro), Little Shearwater (sp: Pardela Chica, Puffinus assimilis baroli), White-faced Storm-petrel (sp: Paíño Pechialbo, Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca) and the European Storm-Petrel (sp: Paíño Común/Europeo, Hydrobates pelagicus pelagicus), which suffers a lot from feral cats in La Graciosa. Most of these seabirds also breed in the Selvagens archipelago, 160 kilometers up north. The breeding colony of the White-faced Storm-petrel on the Selvagens exceeds 60.000 pairs. Two species of gulls are abundant in the Chinijos: the Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus f. graellsii) and the Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis atlantis).

La Graciosa is the home for the Houbara Bustard (sp: Avutarda hubara, Chlamydotis undulata fuerteventura), an impressive terrestrial bird that can become as high as half a meter. This subspecies is endemic to the eastern Canary Islands. The Canarian population is estimated around 500 birds and less than twenty are living on La Graciosa. 'Some people visit La Graciosa specially to see the Hubara,' says Maldener. 'It breeds in the shallow sandy eastern area of ​​the island.'...more