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Bio and Geodiversity

This beautiful land offers areas of great natural beauty. It is home to endangered wildlife and to landscapes that are the richest in flora and fauna in the whole of Portugal.
White stork (Ciconia ciconia) | © Turismo do DouroEurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) | © Douromedia 2010 ContestA butterfly sitting on a leaf | © Melanie AntunesDonkey photographed in Miranda do Douro | © Turismo do DouroGolden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) | © Turismo do DouroWatercourse that flows down the mountain towards the river Tavora | © Melanie AntunesDetail of an insect common in the Douro | © Douromedia 2010 ContestWatercourse that flows down the mountain towards the river Tavora | © Melanie AntunesFlock of sheep | © Museu do DouroCliff over the river valley Tavora with stairs to climb to a viewpoint | © Melanie AntunesSwallows' nests made in a house | © Douromedia 2010 ContestA snail | © Museu do DouroWild mushrooms | © Emanuel Rocha

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From mammals to reptiles, the range of creatures that live in such a small region is vast. The Iberian wolf is one species worth mentioning, which can be found in various nature reserves north of the Douro river, such as the Alvão Nature Reserve, the Montesinho Nature Reserve and the Douro International Nature Reserve. The roe-deer and the wild cat, cabrera’s vole and the wild boar are just some of the species found in the region. In the abandoned tunnels and mines it is even still possible to find the cave-bat.

Birds of prey are also abundant in the region and in the protected nature reserves such as the Serra da Meadas nature reserve, where you can find the common buzzard. The black stork, the Egyptian vulture, the golden eagle, the griffin vulture, the northern goshawk and the red kite are just some of the bird species found in the Douro International Nature Reserve. Endangered reptiles such as the snub-nosed adder are also found there.

The waters are home to fish species such as the berme juela, the luciobarbus, the northern straight mouth nase and the escalo, that share their habitat with the Pyrenean desman, a small rodent found in the Alvão Nature Reserve.

These animals rely not only on human protection for survival but also on the rich ecosystem where they live. The abundance of vegetation, the high quality of the water and the variety of fruit available with different harvest times all offer an excellent quality of life for these animals that can only be threatened by human activity.

The Douro is a land of contrasts, something you can see just from looking at the slopes, the valley and the plains that create a diversified morphology. The rocky slopes are more barren and are prone to lower temperatures; they are subjected to strong winds and snowfall. Closer to the valley, the temperatures rise and the vegetation becomes denser and richer in flora.

The Douro region is rich is schist and this stone is used to build the walls that support the terraces in the vineyards and prevent soil erosion.

 

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