The flora and fauna give an initial impression to first time visitors of a landscape quite
different from its sister islands of Mallorca and Ibiza due to the island's wealth of flora and fauna.
Inevitably the journey from the airport takes visitors into rural areas and
past woods and thickets of pine and wild olive trees. Historically the island
was covered by Oak Groves but the need to utilise the scarce water resources
has lead to the increase in trees with impermeable leaves and the dominance of
evergreens over oaks. Other trees which are in decline are the carob tree,
the almond, the fig and the olive trees.
However if one looks beneath the trees you will find mastichs, buckthorn,
tree strawberries, heather, broom, juniper, oleander and blackberry bushes.
Look even further towards the ground for flora and fauna and you will see liliaceous plants such
as wild asparagus, arum plants such as friar's cowl and orchids of yellow and blue
called mosques or fly orchids. Beach lilies grow in the dunes and giant reeds
around the Menorcan wetlands.
The most noticable wildlife is in the sky above the whole islands. Particularly
as summer approaches the bird population swells as swallows, swifts, great
black headed gulls and bee eaters migrate from north africa. The wetland areas are
magnets for all types of birds but Albufera des Grau is worthy of special note.
Here you can see not only the resident bird population but a great diversity of
species who use the island as their breeding grounds. It is possible for the keen eyed
observer to see mallard ducks, American coots, king quail, reedwarblers, storks, grebes,
sharp tailed sandpipers, pochards and stone curlew. Throughout the year predatory and
carrion birds visit such as osprey, booted eagle and red kite. Against this backdrop
are falcons, kestrals, buzzards, hawk owls, tawny owls and barn owls.
The next most noticable group are the lizards and especially the wall lizards which
frequent villas, hotel rooms and terraces especially in the early evenings. The geckos
are one of the islands most successful reptiles but you may also see mediterranean tortoise
and small, non poisonous, snakes especially in the barrancas which dominate the landscape of
the migjorn or southern region.
The lizard is an integral part of island legends, songs and today is emlematic of the
island . There are believed to be over 30 varieties of lizards on the island but the most
unusual variety inhabits the Illa del Aire just off the coast by Punta Prima. This lizard or
sargantanes to give it its Catalan name is completely black. They are a protected species
but if you get the chance to visit the islet you will not need to search for them as they
will come to you in anticipation of crumbs from your food.
Between the birds and the reptiles you will find martins, ferrets, weasels, rabbits, bats
field mice and hedgehogs making up the small mammal population.
Larger mammals native to Menorca include the Red Cows and the Black Horses. You may
not see any of these magnificent beasts with their distinctive reddish coats but this
indigenous breed is currently staging a comeback as the recovery of the breed is proving
very successful as their high milk yield is becoming increasingly important the the islands
The black horse is symbolic of Menorca and are thus the Kings of the mammal population.
Their position is assured as they remain the the leading players in Fiestas up and down the island.
This indigenous breed is noted for its good looks and placid temperament. It almost appears that they
are aware of their role as center of attention and are willing to respond to the crowd especially
when dressed in their fine harnesses.