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Cetacean watching, Madeira Wildlife-watching tips Ecotourism is seen as an increasingly sustainable form of tourism in the islands and is one way of putting a value on the retention of natural habitats and species. Much wildlife can be seen by taking walks in the places suggested in Main wildlife sites – pages 20–27. This section gives some tips in order to help you maximise your encounters with the islands’ wildlife. For watching cetaceans in particular and for seeking out particular endemic species, joining a local wildlife-watching trip is highly recommended. An early start is normally a good idea, allowing you to see wildlife before the crowds arrive at popular spots, and early morning is often when birds are more active. On the higher-elevation islands, it is worth heading to the laurel forest early in the morning, as cloud cover often builds up during the day, hampering viewing and making walking less pleasant; however, always keep an eye on the clouds, as they can also clear in the afternoon. Stop at overlooks in the forest, where you can scan over the top of the tree canopy to see passing pigeons, raptors and swifts. Spend time at picnic sites, as many forest birds are accustomed to finding food and water in the presence of humans here and can be very tame. If the clouds descend, either head further uphill or head downhill to find the sun again. On many islands, heading into the direction of the wind will often lead you to a sunny area. Timing of your visit is also important. Many species are present year-round in the islands’ equitable climate, including all of the endemic land birds, reptiles and bats, as well as many of the dragonflies and butterflies. However, other species are more seasonal. Butterflies that live at colder higher elevations, including several of the endemic species, fly mostly in the warmer summer months, and reptiles are also less active in the mountains during the cooler winter months. On the other hand, some butterflies and dragonflies, particularly in the more arid Eastern Canaries, fly mostly during the cooler winter months. The winter is generally the best time for waterbirds and waders, while spring and autumn are best for migrant birds. There are 28 Status E Endemic species e Endemic subspecies N Near endemic I Introduced IUCN Red List Status CR Critically Endangered EN Endangered VU Vulnerable NT Near Threatened DD Data Deficient Other icons ♂ male ♀ female s summer w winter b breeding n non-breeding i immature j juvenile LAND ■ absent; ■ resident; ■ breeding; ■ introduced (widespread); ■ introduced (local); ■ migrant; ■ rare migrant; ■ presumed extinct SEA ■ absent; ■ present; ■ rare How to use this book TAXONOMY AND NAMING Each species account starts with a common name (the scientific name of each species can be found in a table on pages 217–221). The birds detailed in this book follow Birdlife International’s species list, except where other regional authorities recognise certain subspecies to be separate species, namely Macaronesian Shearwater, Barbary Falcon and Tenerife Kinglet. The English bird names also follow Birdlife International’s list except where there are generally accepted alternatives. The English names of other animals follow IUCN’s list except where there are generally accepted alternatives. ICONS Each account features several icons. The numbers correspond to the adjacent photographic plate, allowing easy correlation of the text and photos. There are also icons for species that are endemic or introduced, and for those species that are considered threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List – see for more information. The icons and codes are summarised in the panel to the right. NB Icons with a border refer to European status; icons without a border to global status. DISTRIBUTION Each species account includes a colour-coded map that is not a true geographically accurate range map, but instead shows a simplified island-by-island occurrence. The colour codes are as follows: Eastern Canaries (EC) Central Canaries (EC) Western Canaries (WC) Madeiran Islands always cetaceans and seabirds offshore, but different species can be seen at different times of year. Check through the species accounts to see which species you would like to see and time your trip accordingly. Trips to different islands at different times of year will always bring rewards. Always look for wildlife wherever you go. Monarch butterflies may swoop over busy urban roundabouts, while African Grass Blues typically buzz low over well-watered hotel lawns. Inter-island ferries offer excellent...


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