The biggest draw on an Azores wildlife tour is undoubtedly the marine biology. An archipelago comprising nine volcanic islands – Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Santa Maria and São Miguel – the Azores lies 1,400km west of Lisbon in the North Atlantic and enjoys a mild climate all year round. It is one of the autonomous regions of Portugal and its most populous city is Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel. The Azores is a...
The biggest draw on an Azores wildlife tour is undoubtedly the marine biology. An archipelago comprising nine volcanic islands – Corvo, Flores, Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Santa Maria and São Miguel – the Azores lies 1,400km west of Lisbon in the North Atlantic and enjoys a mild climate all year round. It is one of the autonomous regions of Portugal and its most populous city is Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel.
The Azores is a popular destination for a whale-watching wildlife tour, with Sperm Whales and three species of dolphin resident in the region. There is also the possibility to encounter more than 25 other Cetacean species, including Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Sei Whales, Humpback Whales, Sowerby’s Beaked Whales, Blainville Beaked Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins and Striped Dolphins.
The area around the collection of islets that form the Formigas Reef is also home to Manta Rays, sharks, sea turtles and many types of coral.
A boat excursion is one of the best ways to enjoy the diverse birdlife of the Azores, with many species using the secluded cliffs and crags to nest and breed. The islands are home to the largest known colonies of Cory’s Shearwater, and other breeding species include Barolo Shearwaters, Common and Roseate Terns, Yellow-legged Gulls, Bulwer’s Petrels, Wilson’s and Madeiran Storm-petrels and Bridled or Sooty Terns. Other common sights are Great Shearwater and Leach’s Storm-petrels, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters, vagrant Northern Gannets, Arctic, Pomarine and Great Skuas, as well as shorebirds such as Buzzards, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Canaries, Little Egrets, Wagtails and Whimbrels.
The Azores has two endemic living bird species. The Azores Bullfinch or Prolio is restricted to the mountains of São Miguel, while Monteiro’s Storm Petrel is only known to breed on the Baixo and Praia islets off the coast of Graciosa. The only endemic mammal species is the Azores Noctule bat, which can be found in dry forest regions.
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