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Plants and Animals

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Plants and animals


Corfu is a green island with varied and rich vegetation, especially compared to the arid and dry Greek mainland. This is due to the regular rainfall and the resulting fertile soil.

Olive Trees, CorfuOlive Trees, CorfuPhoto: Bogdan Giusca CC 2.5 no changes made

Olive trees are the most striking sight, if only because of their enormous number, more than 3 million of them. Many of these trees are very old, having been planted in the Venetian period (1386-1797). Olive trees come in all shapes with narrow silver-grey leaves and round openings in the often gnarled and crooked trunk. Olive trees can grow up to twenty metres high and become hundreds of years old.

Another common tree is the cypress. Scattered over the island are groups of small fruit trees that provide oranges, lemons, pears, cherry figs and apricots. Nut trees are also found on the island. A special tree species is the European Judas tree and there are also plane trees, palms, pine trees, pines, acacias and laurel and mimosa trees.

European Judas Tree, CorfuEuropean Judas Tree, CorfuPhoto: Kurt Stüber CC 3.0 no changes made

In April to June, most of the blooming flowers can be admired, including poppies, daffodils, irises, roses, clematis and marigolds. On Pantokrator, lapwings, stonecrop, anemones, borage, crocuses, gladioli and blue grapes bloom in April and May.

The special yellow sea daffodil blooms in the hot summer months and in autumn the "second spring" begins with the flowering of pink cyclamen and crocuses. Along roads and on fields and hillsides there are many kinds of shrubs, including yellow broom, holly, laurel, myrtle and oleander. Along the roads there are also often giant agaves with leaves that are one to two metres long and 25 cm wide.

Monkey Orchid, CorfuMonkey Orchid, CorfuPhoto: Bernd Haynold CC 3.0 no changes made

Orchids are often found near olive trees and generally bloom in April and May. There are about fifty species in Corfu, including some rare ones such as the male orchid, the monkey orchid, and the yellow and blue bee orchid.


Large mammals have not been found on the island for a long time. Small wild mammals are mainly hares, hedgehogs, foxes, martens, bats and weasels. With a bit of luck, a jackal can be spotted, which is rare in Europe. Most fish species have become rare due to overfishing, so Corfu is definitely not a diving or snorkelling paradise. With a bit of luck, there are still land and water turtles (including the loggerhead turtle) to be seen and several species of lizards, including the keel lizard, are common. Snakes are generally harmless, only the nocturnal sand viper is poisonous.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle, CorfuLoggerhead Sea Turtle, CorfuPhoto: Bachrach 44 in the public domain

Various species of owls (e.g. the Pygmy Owl), gulls, swallows, shorebirds, sparrows and songbirds can be found on Corfu. Famous songbirds are the bee-eater and the roller. The rocky coasts in the north-west are home to large numbers of seabirds and around Lake Korissión in the south, the area is teeming with wading and water birds, such as herons, sandpipers, dunlin, avocets, greenshank and black cormorants. Ornithologists have counted more than 120 bird species here.

Dalmatian Pelican, CorfuDalmatian Pelican, CorfuPhoto: Yuktijoshi24 CC 4.0 no changes made

Special birds can be seen only at certain times of the year, including cuckoo, warbler, garden warbler and red-headed shrike. In the Halikiopoulos lagoon, near Corfu town, the rare white egret winters alongside the C. With an estimated population of 200, this species of heron is one of the most endangered in Europe. The adouin gull can also be seen on Corfu in winter and the cliffs are home to peregrine falcons, eleonora falcons and also the rock thrush. On the slopes of the mountains live also red-footed falcons, vultures, buzzards, hawks and golden eagles.

Red-footed Falcon, CorfuRed-footed Falcon, CorfuPhoto: Martin Mecnarowski CC 3.0 no changes made

Very rare are the Mediterranean monk seals, one of the most endangered mammals in Europe. There are only a few hundred left. Dolphins can often be seen in the waters around Corfu. However, their numbers are decreasing, partly due to pollution.


Desypris, Y. / 777 schitterende Griekse eilanden
Uitgeverij Michalis Toubis S.A.

Fürst, F. / Corfu
Het Spectrum

Gerrard, M. / Korfoe
Van Reemst

Hendriksen, B. / Korfoe en de Ionische eilanden : Paxos, Lefkáda, Kefaloniá, Itháka en Zákinthos
Van Reemst

Webb, S. / Corfu & the Ionians
Lonely Planet

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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