Corsica's wildlife

Corsica's wildlife has several threatened or endangered species. This high proportion of endemic species is mainly due to the longstanding isolation of the Corso-Sardinian microcontinent and the significant diversity of habitats on our mountainous island.

The Corsican mouflon (a Muvra)

(So much so that a number of singers have turned it into a song, and some have even been inspired to come up with a band name, such as " I MUVRINI " ).

The mouflon in CorsicaA true "king of the island", this ungulate of the genus Ovis, with an average weight of 30 to 60 kg, is probably descended from a sheep from the Middle East and lives on the island's shores. in Corsica since the Neolithic period.

Poached for a long time, there are now only a few hundred individuals left, who owe their survival to the two sanctuaries of Bavella and Cintu. Hunting has been banned since 1955, Corsica mouflons takes refuge in steep, open mountains and in forests when the mountains are too snowy.

Essentially herbivorous, you may be lucky enough to spot one with a good pair of binoculars facing into the wind in the places mentioned above. Take heart and, above all, be patient.

Wild boar (u Cignale)

Wild boar in CorsicaAh, the Corsica wild boar ! It could feature on the flag Corsica that it wouldn't shock anyone! Another emblematic figure of the island of beautyhe was immortalised in "Asterix en Corsica " not so long ago. The hunt for wild boar in Corsica is a veritable institution. So if you see someone on the side of the road in fatigues with a rifle in his hand, no, he's not illegal! It often happens during drives that the "posts" (places where the wild boar is likely to pass) are located at the side of the road!

The legendary Corsica wild boar is in fact a powerful and robust wild cousin of the pig. It has a dark coat, short legs, a stocky build and a low rump. The male also has two short tusks, which can prove formidable in certain battles against hounds or during the mating season from November to December. It feeds on acorns, chestnuts, roots, fruit and truffles, which it digs up with its snout while ploughing the land, giving its meat a strong, authentic flavour. The wild boar Males are solitary, fast and powerful, while females live in groups with their offspring (recognisable by their "striped pyjamas").

The pig (u Porcu)

Corsican pigsToo often confused with wild boarbecause of its similar morphology, the " corsican pig", as some people call it (to get round the ban on selling wild boar in restaurants outside the hunting season), is recognisable by its attitude and colour: its coat is much less dark than that of the wild boar and its behaviour much less wild.

You'll often see him wandering around your holidays in Corsica at the entrance to forests and villages, snout stuck to the ground in search of roots or edible detritus!

The Corsican donkey (u Sumeru)

Donkeys in CorsicaWidely used in the 1960s, it then virtually disappeared from the island (non-breeding then excessive use for charcuterie), the Corsican donkey is gradually regaining a respectable population and a respected status.

Formerly used for its robustness in the transport of goods and agricultural work, the donkey is now used for the transport of goods and agricultural work. Corsica The donkey is now much sought-after for walking (often for profit) or simply as a pet. It is not uncommon to read in the local press: "a donkey has been stolen".

The fox (a Volpe)

The Corsican foxA volpe perde u pele ma u viziu mai "(the fox loses its hair but never its vice)! This carnivorous mammal of the Canidae family is a real nightmare for hen and poultry farmers, because of its agility and viciousness.

I'll spare you all the expressions to illustrate this. It is easily recognised by its red colour, long bushy tail, "pinzuti" (pointed) ears, slender legs and elongated snout.

Le Cursinu

The Corsican cursinu dogLe Cursinu is a pedigree dog CorsicaThese hardy, robust dogs are renowned for their versatility as shepherds, guards and hunters. They have a dark, mottled red coat, short hair, a large black nose, a pyramid-shaped muzzle and thin lips. At the withers, males are 46 to 58 cm long, while females are 3 cm shorter.

Today, there are around 2,000 of them throughout the country, and for over 20 years (1984), enthusiasts have been fighting to save them and have had their breed recognised (obtained in 2003). So, if you come across one, don't think, like Jack Palmer in The Enquiry CorsicaHe might get offended!

The hedgehog (u Ricciu)

The Corsican hedgehogThis small mammal, which looks like it comes straight from prehistory, lives at night. With its small 5-toed legs, pointed snout and black snout, its distinctive feature is its hair, which is soft underneath and becomes spiny on other parts of its body.

u Ricciu (the hedgehog) is a kind of defence system against predators. Corsica) was once highly prized by the ancients for its taste! It was not hunted but often picked up wounded on country roads. To cook it, its body was coated with clay and placed directly in the oven. Once cooked, the carapace formed would come off in one piece, along with the spines!

The bearded vulture (l'altore)

The Corsican vultureHe who dwells on high", is also one of Europe's largest birds, with a wingspan of 2.80 metres and a weight of 6 kg! 10 breeding pairs have been recorded in CorsicaThis is no mean feat given the threat of extinction facing this species. The food of the bearded vulture is essentially made up of bones from the carcasses of dead animals.

The moment of the feast is quite impressive to observe, as it is the marrow of the bones that interests these great vultures. The largest bones are literally "smashed" on what are known as scree slabs, slabs of flat rock at spectacular heights. We now understand why the Altore is dependent on the migration of flocks, pastoral practices and, in the mountains, on the settlement of the mouflons of the island.

The osprey (l'alpana)

The ospreyThanks to the efforts of Corsica Regional Nature Park (P.N.R.C.) and the existence of the Scandola reserveThis remarkable species has grown from 4 pairs in 1970 to almost 35 today.

Claws capable of capturing the slipperiest prey and keen eyesight make this white-bodied, dark-winged bird of prey a formidable fisherman! This diurnal bird of prey feeds exclusively on fish.

The peregrine falcon (u falcu)

The Corsican falconA typical silhouette, a flight with rapid, jerky wingbeats, a grey colour, on the lookout for the slightest movements of a pigeon or a Chocard (resembling a raven) - these are the main criteria for recognising a peregrine falcon in the wild. Corsica.

A ruthless hunter, faithful in love and as fast as the wind, there are around a hundred pairs of this supersonic predator in the world. CorsicaMost of them live on the western coastline, but inland there are one or two pairs in each valley. A pair was recently counted at Caporalino (Omessa commune), a Natura 2000 site, and will be the site of a peregrine falcon observatory in the Caporalino tower itself (a project currently underway).

The golden eagle (l'altagna)

The golden eagle l'altagnaIts population is estimated at around thirty pairs distributed along the central chain, in the Corsica cape and in Castagniccia. It is a diurnal bird of prey with a wingspan of 2 m to 2.5 m. It feeds on small and medium-sized mammals (from reptiles to foxes) and can be recognised by its majestic flight!

The red kite (u filanciu)

The Corsican Red KiteA rufous brown with thin, angled wings, it has a forked tail and a wingspan of around 1.5 metres.

It feeds on small prey and carrion, which it finds in wide-open spaces, gliding on the wind.

The Corsican nuthatch (a Picchjarina)

The Corsican nuthatchToday there are around 3,000 of them. It is a small passerine (12.5 cm) with a compact body, a short tail, small legs and a long, thin, narrow beak. It is grey on its back and whitish on its underside (with a black cap on the tail). Corsican Nuthatch lives between 800 and 1,800 metres almost exclusively in the cold Laricci pine forests of the island's interior (Tartagine and Ospedale), whose seeds form the bulk of its meal.

Given the restricted habitat in which it evolves, its population is not very large (around a few thousand) and is currently the subject of a species conservation programme with the P.N.R.C. and the O.N.F. It has been present on the island for several thousand years, the Corsican nuthatch Its habitat is increasingly threatened by fire, so much so that its numbers fell from 50 to 60 % between 2002 and 2004!

The blackbird (u merlu) and the thrush (a trizzina)

Very common in CorsicaThe blackbird and the thrush are highly prized for their unique flavour. The latter feed largely on arbutus and myrtle, and their flesh has a very pronounced maquis flavour.

The thrush, Turdus viscivous, averages 27 cm in length, with a light brown body and mottled breast, while the blackbird, Turdus merula, has black plumage and an orange beak, and grows to no more than 25 cm. They are often found in arbutus, olive, myrtle and juniper trees, which, along with earthworms, constitute their main meal.

The bluebird (a Merula Turchina)

The Corsican BluebirdIt can be found from the coast up to an altitude of 1,800 metres on rock faces with little vegetation, and very often in the Cape Corsica and on the West Coast.

Like most birds that breed at altitude and return to the coast in winter, the bluebird can be found at this time of year in certain towns and cities. villages of Corsica.

Hermann's Tortoise (a cuppulata)

The Corsican tortoiseOnce widespread throughout the world, it is now one of the rarest reptiles in France, and is protected by law as an endangered species. You can recognise it by its size - around 20 cm - and by its orange colour, striped with black. It lives mainly in the scrubland. A veritable living fossil, its origins date back over a million years!

It can live up to 100 years. Unfortunately, despite the feat of having survived the ages, it is now threatened by human stupidity: repeated fires, ecoburning, excessive urbanisation destroying its possible habitat and collection by uninformed or ill-informed people are the undeniable parameters of its definitive disappearance! That's why we need to raise our collective awareness to save it!

The Cistude Tortoise (a cistudine)

The Cistude tortoiseOtherwise known as the "muddy turtle", it likes swamps and large rivers. Feeding on insects, carrion, fish and worms, it is also capable of diving underwater and staying there for more than half an hour to escape an intruder or predator.

This small turtle of the Emydidae family is particularly common in the Corte, Ponte-leccia and on the coast.

The Tyrrhenian lizard or Tiliguerta (a Buciartula)

Corsican lizardIt is green with black spots, measures about 20 cm and is endemic to the Corsica and Sardinia. It lives mainly on the coast but also at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres. Its habitat is a dry, sunny environment with low vegetation.

The Corsican Hairstreak (a Farfalla)

Measuring 3 to 4 cm, it can be seen flying from April to July at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres. It's a Cyrno-Sardinian butterfly that seems to float rather than fly. It's unbearably light!

Mouse warmers Corsica

The Little Rhinolophus (u Topu Pinnutu)

Occupying abandoned caves and sheepfolds, it is one of the smallest bats in the world. Corsica (20 to 30 cm wingspan, weighing just 4 to 7 grams) among the 20 or so species living there.

The Corsican snail (a Tarentella)

The Corsican euproctWith the particularity of breathing through its skin and mouth (it has no lungs, and is an endemic amphibian measuring around 5 to 7 cm), it moves underwater by haggling at the bottom despite its flat tail, which allows it to swim (it's a Rebel!). It can be found almost everywhere in Corsica from the sea to the mountains.

The frog (a Ranoghja)

It is green and small, measuring no more than 10 cm, with two yellow lines on each side and a median line with black spots. Rana Esculenta, as it is known scientifically, is found mainly at low altitudes, but it is not uncommon to find it at altitudes of up to 600 metres. The Ranoghje are an essential part of the wetlands and marshes, and dozens of them will sing their inimitable music to you as the sun goes down, lulling your summer nights to sleep.

La Malmignatta

The malmignattaThe only deadly animal in CorsicaMalmignatta is one of 53 arachnids endemic to the Corsica of the 373 different species. It can be found up to 600 metres in the mountains in grass and hidden under stones. To recognise it: it is a short-legged spider with a large abdomen (up to 2.5 cm in diameter) covered in shiny black down spotted with red. It has two powerful hooks on either side of its jaw, which release powerful venom after the bite.

What can be found under the sea?

La CorsicaA paradise for fishing and scuba diving "So read the words on an old sign at the entrance to the village of Tizzano. Now you can imagine the extent to which the world of silence in Corsica is a feast for the eyes for anyone venturing into the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean. The most common fish are :

Congers and moray eels

Moray eel in CorsicaThe conger eel is a sea eel, while the moray eel is much more aggressive and ferocious. With an elongated profile and a length of up to 2 metres in the case of the conger eel, it is a fish that hides in its crevice during the day, just letting its mouth appear to go out hunting at night!


Corsica GrouperBeware: this is a protected species, so hunting is prohibited. It can measure up to 1.5 metres, and you can recognise it by its appearance of an old sea bass with a white-stained lower lip. It's a very sociable fish and you'll find it very easy to get close to it, as it usually lives in holes.

Red mullet, girelles, Sarrans, scorpion fish and capon.

Most commonly found around rocks and seaweed, they are a popular ingredient in the legendary fish soup. Corsica.

Mostelle, labre, saint-Pierre, corb, saupe, sar, dentie, daurade, vive.

These fish are mainly found on the sand.


Corsican lobsterCrab, lobster, spiny lobster, hermit crab, slipper lobster and spiny lobster are becoming less and less common in Corsica and more and more are being rescued from the depths: you only have to listen to the stories of grandparents and great-grandparents who inspire us with their tales of hand-caught lobsters.

When you realise that to find a lobster these days you have to descend to a depth of 50 or 100 metres, you quickly realise the damage caused by pollution, intensive fishing and poaching of all kinds!

Corsican sea urchins

Sea urchinsNowadays, sea urchin fishing is a real tradition in France. Corsica, with family or friends, it's great fun to meet up on the beach for a good urchin barbecue on a Sunday, and it's not impossible that our children and grandchildren won't believe us when we tell them about the magnificent sea urchins caught just a few metres from the shore. something to think about!

You'll also find plenty of molluscs, such as cuttlefish, the octopus with its eight tentacles, the protected large mother-of-pearl (which can be up to 1 metre long and stuck in the sand) and the delicious scallops.

Corsica's famous red coral

A large number of shops and craftsmen (or even artists, in this case, with such materials!) make it their main attraction! (See the relevant shops for each region). The coral is red and hard, decorated with white polyps, and is fished at depths of between 80 and 100 metres. Coral is becoming increasingly rare in CorsicaOver the years, the size of its branches has shrunk to no more than 10 cm, and it can be found at depths of no more than 50 metres in certain places that are kept secret. To date, there are only a few coral cutters in Corsica likely to fish for the precious red coral, which is as expensive as it is rare.

You should also know that in Corsica Coral is part of our traditions and beliefs. Even today, it remains synonymous with protection, and is traditionally worn as pendants in a variety of forms and on many occasions (with a coral hand with the thumb tucked in, or a hand with horns pinned to a piece of clothing or inside a baby's pram), particularly at birth, to protect the newborn from the 'evil eye' (a kind of curse cast out of jealousy).

What can be found under river water?

Macrostigma trout (a Trouta)

Four trout populate the waterways of Corsica These include the "arc en ciel" and 3 strains of "fario" trout: the "Atlantique" (imported), the "Méditerranéenne" (wild) and the "macrostigma" (wild). Native to torrents corsican The "salmo truita macrostigma" has been classified as a "species of Community interest" by Europe for 15,000 years. It is small, highly pigmented, has a large black spot on its operculum and changes its appearance depending on the environment in which it lives. It is a sort of sub-race (without any discrimination) of the continental trout.

Sadly, we may well have to witness its disappearance one day if farmed brown trout and rainbow trout continue to be introduced. It's a pity, because it tastes exquisite! Fortunately, and here we should salute their efforts, some passionate people have set up a programme ("Life programme") for the conservation of the Macrostigma trout based on monitoring and artificial reproduction.

Comments 3

  1. Avatar for BUSTILLO BUSTILLO 13 October
  2. Avatar for Una merDa Una merDa 27 May
  3. Avatar for Una merDa Una merDa 27 May

Leave a Reply

en_GBEnglish (UK)