Our native birds are part of the extraordinary biodiversity to be found in the Canary Islands. Their ancestors arrived here many thousands of years ago and found a way to survive in the unforgiving volcanic environment. They evolved into the profusion of species that are unique to Macaronesia, the string of Atlantic archipelagos stretching from the Azores in the north to the Cape Verde Islands in the south.
Tenerife is especially rich in bird life. In the prehistoric laurel forests we can guide you to the hideouts of our two indigenous pigeons, the Paloma Turqué and the Paloma Rabiche. Higher up in the belt of Canarian pine that covers vast stretches of the mountains we’ll seek out the Tenerife blue chaffinch, which is unique to the island and serves as its symbol. Here we will also see woodpeckers, goldcrests and Canary blue tits.
Elsewhere there are opportunities to observe the Barbary falcon and other highly distinctive species. These include Berthelot’s pipit and the common canary, as well as the abundant chiffchaff which makes its living by spreading the pollen of indigenous plants.
To watch these rare and fascinating creatures is also to understand something of the challenges they face in their quest for survival. We’ll talk about that, and it goes without saying that we’ll treat their habitats with the care befitting a professionally led ornithological expedition. Your guide is one of the Canary Islands’ most distinguished life scientists. His career in research, education and conservation spans three decades.
He is a member of the Canary Islands’ Ornithology and Natural History Group, GOHNIC. He has worked on many research and conservation projects supporting the islands’ natural environment and is the author and co-author of numerous scientific articles on ornithology, ecology, entomology and botany. For more than a decade he has also worked as a scientific consultant on nature documentaries.
Foto 1. A chiffchaff visits a coxcomb flower, a classic example of symbiosis between two indigenous species. © José J. HernándezFoto 2. The Paloma Turqué is unique to the west central Canaries. In the laurel forests of Tenerife its numbers are steadily growing. © José J. HernándezFoto 3. Although it normally nests in cliffs by the sea, the Barbary falcon can also make its home many miles inland, for example in Teide National Park. © Beneharo Rodríguez (www.gohnic.org)Foto 4. Considered a native of Macaronesia, the common canary is distributed widely across the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. © José J. Hernández