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Flora and Fauna


The flora of the Azores is one of the most interesting in Europe. About sixty plants are unique to the Azores such as: Cedar, Scotch Heather, Heath, Wild Berry, "Pau Branco", Laurel tree, "Tamujo". About 700 were introduced to enrich islands and for commercial purposes. The Azores, rich in the number of species which nature has provided, are also home to many variations of common species which have changed and evolved into entirely different subspecies.

Please also check our nature section

banana leaf   hydrangeas

About sixty different endemic plants, shrubs and trees are found in the Azores.  Nature has provided for these plants only in the Azores.  These include such varieties as the Laurel tree, Heath, Scotch Heather and Cedar.  In addition, over 700 varieties of plants have been introduced into the islands both for commercial purposes and for the beauty and enrichment which nature provides.  The mild climate means that many of these plants which are difficult to maintain in other climates grow and thrive in the environment which nature provides in the Azores.

Many of the plants are used in original ways unique to the Azores.  Imagine the hydrangea hedges and windbreaks as an example. Natural borders of Azalea and Camellia add to the beauty of nature.

Juniper (actually cedar) which is scrub brush in other parts of the world becomes commercial grade timber in the Azores. Even in the more barren areas, plants of the
Macaronesia species add visual enhancement to the landscape.  These include the Brazilian Mahogany, the Dogwood and the Laurel trees, among others. 

The Japanese Cryptomeria, introduced in the Azores about a century ago to give nature a hand, and the Acacia have both gained importance as a timber product for export.


Although there are no endemic birds or beasts in the Azores, many species have been introduced to the islands and have developed subspecies with different coloration or size characteristics.

Since the Azores is a natural stopover place between North America and Europe for migrating birds, the Islands have been enriched by some of these feathered creatures. Many nests in or near the marshes, lake shores and waterways of the islands.  The Priolo, also known as the Azores Bullfinch is a bird long thought to be extinct, but it has been found in a habitat of the Azores Island of São Miguel.

Nature provides other examples of the bird family which appear in the Azores such as the Milhafre Eagle, the Crow, the Canary-like Finch and the Cliff Pigeon.

The ferret, the wild rabbit and the hedgehog are all found in nature in the Azores.  The abundance of the wild rabbit makes it an important animal in the sport of hunting.

fringilla bird

The review of fishes found in the rivers and streams of the Azores includes Common Trout, Rainbow trout, Yellow Perch and Old World Pike.  These and other species of fish are important for food fish and sports fishing as well.

Another example of a species adapting well to the geography and isolation of the Azores is the Cäo de Fila. This is a recognized breed of watchdog developed in the Azores.  The dogs are extremely intelligent, loyal and hardworking animals by nature. Their main purpose is the guarding of the semi-wild cattle found in the Islands. They are a breed approved by the Portuguese Canine Club in 1984.

Please also check our diving section

Sea Life


sperm whale

The waterways around the Azores are one of the richest fish grounds of the Atlantic Ocean. Here you can find swordfish, sharks, bras, tuna, bonito’s, eels, murray eels and mackerel. Often you can find flying fish sailing over the sea surface, trying to escape predators.

Sperm Whales are the largest and most numerous in these waters. The other toothed Whales frequently sighted are Northern Bottlenose Whales, Pilot Whales, Orcas and Sowerby’s Beaked Whales.

The Dolphins sighted regularly in these waters are Common, Atlantic Bottlenose, Risso, Atlantic Spotted and Striped Dolphins.

When snorkelling, you can see gabel mackerels, rainbow-, hedgehog-, scorpion- and zebra fishes. Sea urchins, octopuses and sea stars are highly abundant in the area. If you are lucky you will even find other ocean inhabitants like, sea turtles, manta rays, moonfishes, hammerhead sharks, maco sharks and Atlantic triggerfishes.

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