Flora and Fauna of Madeira
The “sweetheart” island of Europe, Madeira is truly a place of wonder, with tempting white-washed beaches surrounded by a rocky landscape of high, steep hills and deep luxuriant forests. But Madeira Island is not just a tourist destination, but also home to thousands of species of plants and animals, the flora and fauna of Madeira.
Madeira is part of the Macaronesian region, a particularly biodiverse habitat that exhibits an outstanding wildlife and spectacular endemic species of flora and fauna.
Madeira is an island of flowers – there is even the Festival of Flowers celebrated annually on the Island. The Laurisilva Forest with its wonderful levada paths harbors much of the flora species, abounding in large trees, most of which belong to the family of Lauraceae, the Madeira laurel (or Laurus novocanariensis), the barbusano (Apollonias barbujana), as well as lily of the valley trees ( by their scientific name, Clethra arborea).
Under the cover of the large, protective trees, there is a vast shrubbery: tree heather, cornelian cherries, Madeira blueberry (or Vaccinium padifolium). With the air quite moist and light selectively penetrating the deep forest of the Laurisilva, there are lots of mosses and lichens.
When it comes to animals, Madeira Island also displays a considerable fauna, mostly made up of invertebrates and endemic insects. The Madeiran Large White is an extremely rare endemic butterfly, around 5-6 cm big, white with specks of black. Birds abound on the island, some delighting people with their song, others with their grace. There are three endemic species: Zino’s petrel, the Madeira firecrest and the Trocaz pigeon.
Sealife is predominant when we refer to mammals. Therefore, we speak of whales, dolphins, seals, but also bats as the main inhabitants of the island. The grey long-eared bat has made the island its home, while the deep waters of the Atlantic are populated by the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus, endangered species), the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and the Bottlenose Dolphin.
A Madeira Island tour will give you a glimpse of the earthly paradise that is home to these outstanding species!