Italy Fauna Part II

By | February 15, 2022

One of the best characterized regions is certainly the Alpine one. Here, in the thick of the high woods live those magnificent gallinaceous that are the grouse: the capercaillie ( Tetrao urogallus ), now rare and localized in Cadore, in Trentino, in Friuli and in some other sites of the Lombard and Venetian Alps, the francolin of mountain ( Tetrastes bonasia ), black grouse ( Lyrurus tetrix ), changeable black grouse ( Lagopus mutus ). Exclusive to the Alps are the gray woodpecker ( Gecinus canus ), a stationary northern species in Trentino, the magnificent black woodpecker ( Dryocopus martius ) and, although it sometimes moves away from it, the nutcracker ( Nucifraga caryocatactes); while, widespread in this area more than elsewhere, we also note the choughs ( Pyrrhocorax alpinus ,  Fregilus graculus ), the deaf ( Accentor alpinus ), the snow finch ( Montifringilla nivalis ), the wallcreeper ( Tichodroma muraria ), the alpine treecreeper ( Certia familiaris ) and other birds, which can also be found on the peninsula and islands.

The subalpine region and the Po valley do not present marked peculiarities: we note, however, the early arrival of migrant species arriving from the north, and the delay of those arriving from the south. During the winter there is a large copy of various species of thrushes. In the Po Valley, the white-fronted goose ( Anser albifrons ) is not rare and often abundant, while the lagoons and marshes, especially in the Veneto estuary, recall a large copy of waders and palmipeds, among which the gray duck ( Fuligula albifrons ), the spotted tufted duck ( Harelda glacialis ), the ogre and orchetto ( Oedemia ) and the loons ( Colymbus ).

Other Nordic birds instead occur in Liguria: such are the characteristic alche ( Alca ) and the curious puffin ( Fratercula arctica ). Moreover, Liguria is the richest region in Italy in terms of birds, especially for the large number of species of pass and summer or autumn station that follow one another during the year.

Birdlife is also rich in Tuscany; in the Maremma the calender ( Melanocorypha calandra ) begins to meet with a certain abundance , becoming more and more numerous in the southern provinces and islands; there are plenty of strawberries ( Calamodus aquaticus ), castagnolo forapaglie ( Lusciniola melanopogon ), salciaiola ( Lusciniopsis luscinioides ), etc.

On the Apennine peaks some alpine elements are still found; in the southern regions the chough ( Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax ) disappears, but the coral chough ( P.  graculus ) continues to be common in Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia. In the plains of southern Italy, in addition to most of the species common to the power plant, the common shelduck ( Tadorna tadorna ) and other palmipeds are frequently seen ; in some places lives the beautiful little bustard ( Otis tetrax ).

One of the most singular facts of the great islands is the lack of the common sparrow, replaced by the  Passer hispaniolensis . Characteristics of Sicily are the rare three-toed quail ( Turnix sylvatica ) and the beautiful and now extinct Francolin ( Francolinus francolinus ). The sultan chicken ( Porphirio caeruleus ), abundant on this island, is also found in Puglia and Sardinia. The flamingo ( Phoenicopterus roseus), rare in Sicily, is instead very common in the ponds of Cagliari and Oristano: this bird, unlike all migrant species that come from the south, comes to us in autumn and leaves again in spring. The ponds of Sardinia offer suitable abode to a large number of waders and palmipeds, such as shelduck ( Tadorna tadorna ), Turkish fistioni ( Fuligula rufina ), rusty humpbacks ( Erismatura leucocephala ), etc., while the coastal cliffs are frequented by the shag ( Phalacrocorax Desmaresti ). The hills are home to the little bustard and the characteristic Sardinian partridge ( Perdix petrosa). But what is most striking in Sardinian avifauna is the abundance and variety of large birds of prey, so scarce on the continent: vultures ( Aegypius monachus ), griffins ( Gyps fulvus ), lamb vultures ( Gypaëtus barbatus ) are very common; common the Bonelli’s eagle ( Nisaëtus fasciatus ); not rare the sea eagle ( Haliaëtus albicilla ) and the golden eagle ( Aquila chrysaëtus ), to which are added the osprey ( Pandion haliaëtus ), the red kite ( Milvus milvus ), the goshawk ( Astur palumbarius ), etc. .

Moving on to the Reptiles, the European pond turtle ( Emys orbicularis ) is widespread throughout the continent and in the islands; while the terrestrial ( Testudo graeca ) is a southern and insular species, although it is also found indigenous to Liguria and Istria. The wall lizard ( Lacerta muralis ) is very common everywhere; the green lizard ( L. viridis )  is missing in Sardinia. The slow worm ( Anguis fragilis ) is typical of the continent. Tarantulas ( Tarantula mauritanica ,  Hemidactylus turcicus ) belong to the peninsular and insular fauna. The common viper ( Vipera aspis) which is missing only in Sardinia; another viper, the marsh adder ( V.  berus ) is typical of northern Italy; more localized the  Vipera Ursinii  and the horned viper ( V. ammodytes ) . The water snake ( Tropidonotus natrix ) lives everywhere. Sardinia is also very poor in snakes and lacks colubri ( Coluber ) and coronelle ( Coronella ).

The salamander, the common toad and frogs are also missing in Sardinia; while these populate the continent and Sicily with various species, of which the common frog ( Rana esculenta ) is the most widespread. The discoglossus ( Discoglossus pictus ) is frankly insular. Newts ( Molge ) live, with the exception of a Sardinian species, only on the continent. Interesting is the olm ( Proteus anguinus ), which inhabits the underground waters from Istria to the north of Herzegovina.

Fresh waters feed large copies of Pisces. Sturgeons ( Acipenser sturio , etc.) only enter large rivers and above all go up the Po. Eels are abundant everywhere and also populate brackish waters and basins not communicating with water courses. Also widespread are tench ( Tinca vulgaris ) and salmon ( Salmo fario ), pike ( Esox lucius ) and perch ( Perca fluviatilis ) are missing in the southern provinces and islands.

According to HOLIDAYSORT.COM, there are many insects, molluscs and other invertebrates. Italy is not immune from the devastating hordes of grasshoppers: the  Acridium  and  Stauronotus  carry out their devastation especially in the islands, the  Caloptenus italicus  in the central and northern regions, the  Pachytylus migratorius  everywhere.

Also feared are several Beetles and mainly the Beetle ( Melolontha vulgaris ). Phylloxera ( Phylloxera vastatrix ), native to America, has spread, often seriously compromising our vines. There are no Arthropods in Italy whose venom is really dangerous for humans: if the scolopendras ( Scolopendra ) are quite fearsome, the small scorpions ( Euscorpius ) living in Italy are very few, and much less the tarantula ( Lycosa tarentula ) and the malmignatta or Volterra spider ( Latrodectes tredecimguttatus ).

Italy Fauna 2