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The importance of bird-life


Close-up of a specimen of Egyptian vulture. (Photo: David Campión)

Navarre has an extensive range of animal species, although the bird population is especially significant. Up in the Pyrenees, it is possible to see such mammals as chamois, roe deer, deer, grey dormouse and marmot and also, very occasionally, a brown bear may de sighted.

Insofar as birds are concerned, one of the area’s most valuable species is the quebrantahuesos – the bearded vulture. Also important are the grouse and black woodpecker. In the Atlantic area and pre-Pyrenean ranges, the most significant mammals are the wildcat, fox and wild boar, whereas predatory species prevail in terms of bird-life.

The gorges are the domain of these species, amongst which there are vultures, Egyptian vultures, golden eagles and red kites. In central and southern Navarre, wooded groves are the winter home for such birds as the grey heron, the common heron, the little grebe and the mallard, whereas the Bardenas is home to birds that are typical of steppelands, such as the Dupont’s lark and the sand grouse.

Endangered species

Navarre’s catalogue of vertebrates identifies 16 endangered species. Amongst these, the list is headed by bears, otters, bats, great bustards, bearded vultures, rock ptarmigan and grey partridge, great bittern, griffon vultures and Montague’s harrier. Some of these species already have specific recovery schemes, such as the bearded vulture, grouse and brown bear.

At the time of writing, the register details the existence of 27 species of fish, 6 of which are autochthonous (pike, rainbow trout, goldfish, carp, catfish and black bass), 17 amphibians, 26 reptiles and 236 different birds, including the Eurasian collared-dove and ring-necked pheasant as allochthonous varieties. The register is completed by 78 species of mammals, of which the wolf, the mountain goat, or bucardo, and the Iberian lynx are now considered extinct and the fallow deer, American mink and nutria rat or coypu are featured as allochthonous.

Amongst the existing autochthonous livestock, noteworthy for their peculiarity are the Betizu breeds (bovine), and Jaca Navarra pony and Burguete breed (horse), which are now endangered species. Studies are now underway on these breeds to ensure their recovery.

Navarre is, therefore, currently home to a total of 381 species, which means our community accounts for 60% of the total species of Spanish vertebrates and for 39% of the species in the European Union.

Government of Navarre

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