Corsica's fauna

Mammals in Corsica

Most of the small European land mammals can be found in Corsica: fox, weasel, wild rabbit, hare, hedgehog, shrew, field mouse... The Corsican deer, unfortunately extinct in the last century, has been successfully reintroduced in Corsica. It can be seen in the Corsican Regional Natural Park, as can the mouflon, the emblem of Corsica, a wild and aerial animal present in the Asco valley, as well as in the Cinto and Bavella range.

If you keep your eyes open at night, you will see bats passing by. Bats are small, discreet, useful and harmless animals. Divided into 22 species, they alone represent more than half of the wild land mammals present on the island. The smallest bat in Europe, the Common Pipistrelle, is found here, but also the largest and rarest: the Great Noctule.

Pets that are a little wild

The domestic animals that you come across at the roadside are of native breed. They have been acclimated to Corsica for a long time and have developed characteristics specific to the climate and terrain.

This is the case of the Cursinu, a robust and versatile Corsican breed, hunting or shepherd dog, with a brindle fawn coat.

The Corsican goat, acrobat and rustic, has a long coat of multiple colours which protects it from the thorns of the maquis

The Corsican ewe produces a solid, waterproof and warm wool. It is raised for its milk which is used to make brocciu and Corsican cheeses.

The Corsican cow with the airs of auroch, with the fawn dress and carries high its horns in lyre. It lives in almost total freedom, feeding exclusively on plants from the maquis.

The Corsican pig "porcu nustrale" is characterised by its small size, the diversity of its colours and its great hardiness. It lives in freedom in the mountain pastures in summer, then in the scrubland in autumn and winter, feeding on acorns and chestnuts.

The Corsican donkey has rendered great services to the island's inhabitants. Not very demanding and resistant, it is extremely agile on the steep paths of the island (it can be recognised by the cross-shaped mark it carries on its back).

The Corsican horse "Cavallu corsu" or "Paganacce" is a small, skilful, stocky horse with a bay, pangaré or black coat. One can cross herds in freedom in the mountain meadows and on the pozzines.

Reptiles and amphibians in Corsica

Corsica has different types of lizards, salamanders and geckos.

The Bédriaga lizard and the Bédriaga lizard, two endemic Corso-Sardinian species, rub shoulders with the Sicilian lizard all over the island.

There is also the Hermann's tortoise, a scrub-loving land tortoise, which is almost extinct in the rest of France, as well as the cistude tortoise, a small freshwater tortoise, which is also endangered.

Close to the torrents lives the brook salamander of Corsica, a small endemic salamander loving quiet waters.

There are no vipers in Corsica, the only snakes you can meet are harmless little snakes.

Sedentary birds, hawks and migratory birds

The red kite reigns in the air, scouring the skies in search of prey. A bird of prey with a wingspan of 1.5 m, it can be found all over the sky of Corsica. It can be recognised by its arrowhead red tail and its tricoloured plumage (white, red and black). The frightened owl passes silently while the eagle-owl beeps all night long.

Buzzards, peregrine falcons, kestrels and hawks are all present in Corsica.

The large birds of prey emblematic of Corsica (golden eagle, bearded vulture, goshawk and osprey) have become difficult to observe. Threatened with extinction, they benefit from a conservation programme coordinated by the Corsican Regional Nature Park.

Corsica is home to the only endemic bird in mainland France: the Corsican nuthatch, a small, agile, 12 cm long, bluish grey, black and white bird, inseparable from the laricio pine in which it lives and whose pine nuts it eats.

Most European birds can be found in Corsica: swift, blackbird, thrush, robin, chickadee, swallow, goldfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, jay, nightingale, wagtail, turtledove, swift warbler, sparrow, kingfisher, crow, raven...

The coasts and wetlands are stopovers for migratory birds: duck, shearwater, European bee-eater, egret, hoopoe, sandpiper, heron, swallow, stork, pink flamingo...

The Corsican coast is the only place in France where Audouin's gull breeds, there are many colonies. As for the Corsican colony of crested cormorants, it is one of the most important in the Mediterranean.

Insects

Crickets, crickets and cicadas crackle during the summer. The flowers are covered in spring with beetles and multicoloured butterflies: the pearly blue and the Corsican hairstreak are two endemic species of butterflies.

Another characteristic animal is the Corsican bee (Apis mellifica mellifica Corsican ecotype). Perfectly adapted to environmental conditions and climatic variations, it knows how to make the most of the succession of seasons. Spring honey (clementines, fruit trees, rockrose, oaks, myrtle...), spring scrubland honey (heather, lavender, cytis, broom, hawthorn...), chestnut tree honey in May, summer scrubland honey (broom, brambles, thyme...), autumn scrubland honey (strawberry tree, ivy, inula, sarsaparilla...).

In Corsica there is a small black spider which is poisonous: the malmignatte. It measures 4 to 15 mm, and can be recognised by its yellow, orange or red dots on its black back. It nests under stones and in old walls; its bite is painful and potentially dangerous for fragile people. Like all insects, it only bites to defend itself, so be careful if you come across it...