Category Archives: FAUNA AND FLORA

Let’s discover together the marine fauna of Fuerteventura!

What is one of the biggest dreams of children?
Without a doubt, seeing dolphins!
Seeing them swimming freely in the unspoilt ocean is an experience that adults will never forget.

But how can you experience this unique and exciting adventure?
It’s easy! You can just buy a ticket for an excursion with Fuertecharter!

The tour starts by embarking from the port of Corralejo, and is designed for everyone to have fun, both adults and children.

The best sailing area for whale watching is the channel between Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and the island of Lobos.

 Most of the time we find them to the northwest of the island of Lobos, a couple of miles off the coast, with the Papagayo Beach of Lanzarote and the Great Beaches of Corralejo as a frame. Other times they can be found in Lanzarote, in the area in front of Playa Quemada, Puerto del Carmen or Puerto Calero; sometimes they can be found along the east coast of Fuerteventura, in front of the wonderful natural park of the Corralejo Dunes, at the foot of Montaña Rojas, known for its special red peak.

These unspoilt areas are home to many marine animals, such as dolphins, whales, pilot whales and sea turtles.

In fact, in the Canary Islands waters, you can spot 28 of the 87 types of cetaceans that exist in the world!
This certifies the high quality of the waters surrounding Fuerteventura.

It will be very easy to find a group of dolphins playing around the catamaran you are sailing on.

Seeing them is an incredible experience, but spotting a whale is truly a breathtaking moment.
 These majestic aquatic mammals swim in the waters around Fuerteventura between spring and summer.

There are many others that live in the depths in search of squid to hunt, and these cetaceans can reach up to 20 metres in length, but as we have said, they prefer to stay close to the seabed where they can remain undisturbed.

So which cetaceans can you spot on an excursion with Fuertecharter?

Bottlenose Dolphin: it is very common to see this dolphin in the Canary Islands, it measures between 2 and 4 metres, looks quite portly and likes to travel in groups, they have a lot of fun chasing our boat or swimming around!

Pilot Whale: Although it is called a whale, it actually belongs to the dolphin family and is also known as the Calderón Tropical, another common mammal in the Canary Islands. It can measure up to 5 metres in length.

Common dolphin: a very slender cetacean. It is characteristically coloured, with a dark grey dorsal area and a white ventral area; laterally it has light grey areas from head to tail. It measures up to 2.4 m in length.

Striped dolphin: The striped dolphin is similar in size and shape to several other dolphins that inhabit the same waters, however, their colouring makes them easy to distinguish in the sea. The underside or belly is white or pink. There are one or two dark blue bands running from the eye to the caudal fin.

Hammerhead shark: The most striking feature of all hammerhead shark species is the particular T-shaped head, with the eyes and nostrils located at the ends of the head, thanks to the side-to-side head movement as it swims, it can see everything around it and even behind it.

Sunfish: The body is flattened laterally and when the dorsal and ventral fins are extended, the fish is as long as it is tall.

Exocoetidae or Flying fish: Its most striking feature is the size of its unusually large pectoral fins, which allow it to fly and glide for distances of more than 50 metres.

Sperm whale: The largest toothed animal in existence, males can grow up to 20.5 metres long and weigh more than 50 tonnes.

Loggerhead turtle: known as Caretta Caretta, one of the smallest turtles in the ocean and can measure up to 120cm, it does not like to live too deep.

And if you don’t look enough, you can also see other aquatic animals such as the spotted dolphin, the rough-toothed dolphin, the black and grey pilot whale, the humpback whale and the Bryde’s whale. 

In addition, many birds can be sighted during our excursion. A very special one is the so-called Cory’s Shearwater, a type of bird that spends days without touching land in search of food. It plays an important role in the search for dolphins as it flies just above the school of bait and therefore helps us to find them.

And the experience doesn’t end here, because on this excursion we will also take you to relax in front of the island of Lobos, where you can sunbathe on our boat or do water activities such as snorkelling, sup or kayaking, and we will serve you a delicious paella, accompanied with drinks and fresh wine.

During the whole excursion we will take a multitude of free photos that you will be able to download on our website, to remember this magnificent experience forever!

What are you waiting for to book?
Get on board and live this dream adventure with us!

The gannet in Fuerteventura

These days we are enjoying our trips to Lobos Island from  Corralejo’s Pier (Fuerteventura) in the pleasant company of one of the largest birds in the Atlantic, the gannet, which is in the process of migration in search of warm weather to spend the winter. Let’s look at them more closely.

Scientific name: Morus Bassanus.
Order: “Pelicaniformes”
Family: Sulidae

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Gannet in Fuerteventura

The gannet, with a large wingspan, reaching up to 2 meters,  is a true master of diving,  able to dive into the sea, like a projectile, to catch prey (average size fish) 30 to 40 meters away and at high speed (100km / h) . It is found on both coasts of the North Atlantic and spends most of the time at sea only coming ashore to nest on cliffs and islands of the North Atlantic.


Adult birds weigh between 3 and 4 kilos. They have long narrow wings, with average wingspan of 1.80 meters and about 1 meter tall. Its plumage is white, with dark edges. They have a pointed and slightly curved beak.

Young pelicans are distinguished by the grey colour with white specks of their plumage. Because of the way they fish, diving into the water at high speed, they lack nostrils but they do have side nasal holes that can close when in the water; They have characteristic notches  in the corners of their mouth, through which they breathe.

To cushion the impact of their dives, they have a pneumatic bag system under their skin (air bags under the skin of their face and chest, which protect them when they plunge into the water) acting as a buffer, their plumage becoming very compact.
To withstand the high temperatures they have a layer of subcutaneous fat and dense and overlapping feathers.
The colonies are very noisy, since these birds emit a characteristic cry when they approach although they are silent on the open sea. They emit guttural sounds of short syllables: ghaghag-hoghog.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Excursiones Fuertecharter | Gannet in Fuerteventura en Fuerteventura


In summer gannets nest on the shores of the North Atlantic (located mainly in the British Isles and Scandinavia). They gather in colonies of up to 20,000 couples where they make their nests very close together, with algae and marine plants.
It is when they are about 4 years old that they start breeding, laying a single blue-white egg which will be incubated for about 45 days. Both parents incubate the egg alternating periods of 24 hours, taking turns with a very peculiar ceremony, a greeting ceremony among parents.
The hatched chicks are fed by their parents for about 12 weeks, born naked and dark, and after some days their white feathers start to appear and they stop needing parental warmth. These chicks leave the nest and jump into the sea without being fully prepared to fly but with a good layer of grease (1 kilo more than their parents) that provides the heat they need while they remain floating for about 10 days until they finally begin performing their first flights and fishing.
They have aggressive behaviour in the nest, although the fights only take place among birds of the same sex. A female will only fiercely defend the nest from another female;  if  a female approaches the nest of another male, the latter grabs her by the neck and ejects her from there. The struggles between males occupying a nest for the first time can become quite intense. The fights are preceded by threatening gestures and males show their neighbours the property of a nest by gesturing with their head and beak facing down and erecting their wings.
Males are the ones that look for a place to breed and try to attract a single female, about 4 or 5 years old,  flying over the colony several times before landing and showing the male,  by stretching their neck, that they allow for the wooing; the males answer by shaking their head with closed wings.
Although couples separate after the breeding, they rejoin the following year, they are monogamous, breeding together their whole lives or for many years.

When winter comes, at the end of the breeding season,  they travel south, they undertake the post-nuptial migration that will take them to the Gulf of Guinea. In Spain it is a common species during migration although they don’t nest here.

Currently the gannet is listed as “least-concern species”, as it has a very wide distribution area and the number of individuals is large enough and the demographic trend seems to be increasing.

Remain attentive to this time in Fuerteventura, as you may be lucky enough to come across one of these specimens and enjoy their peculiar way of fishing, a real show. We keep enjoying their company these days in our daily trips to Lobos Island.

FuerteCharter Team

Time of “Dorado” in Fuerteventura

It’s already many the trips we make to the nearby island of Lobos, on our catamaran from FuerteCharter , and we do it in company of the spectacular Coryphaena hippurus, known as “Dorado” in Fuerteventura.

Elsewhere it is known as “gran corifena”, dolphinfish or “llampúa”, golden dolphin, “lirio”, “perico”, amberjack or mahi-mahi.

“ Dorado” is a bony fish of the family of the “Coryphaenidae”, spread all over the globe, in tropical or subtropical waters.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Dorado en Fuerteventura

They live in the sea surface, between 5 and 10 meters deep, and they make large migrations throughout their life. They live in shoals in the high sea, but sometimes they are also found near the coast to breed.

There is already evidence of men catching fish of this species from 2600 years BC, as it can be seen in the wall of the Minoan civilization of Crete.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Dorado en Fuerteventura

It is very common to see them through the Canary Islands in summer and autumn seasons, so at this time of year it is an exceptional companion in our excursions.

This species is characterized by its size and colourful appearance.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Dorado en Fuerteventura

The usual size is about 100cm long, although up to 200cm specimens have been recorded, weighing 50kgs.

They don’t feature thorns in the anal or dorsal fins, which have soft rays. The dorsal fin runs from the cervical region to the tail and the anal one is shorter, going from the middle of the body to the tail. The caudal fin is forked, and is attached to the body by a stalk, which allows it to swim very fast.

It’s a species created for speed, with very elongated and laterally compressed body. They’re very soft to the touch, as they have really small scales.

They have small, oval and strong teeth, in a big mouth, where the first set is curved backward.

Males have a prominent bulge on the forehead, so they have also been called horned.

But if something makes them truly spectacular to the sight is the colour they feature, ranking as the most colourful fish in the Atlantic: they have golden reflections on their sides, hence their name; blue and green foil on the top and sides, and their bottom is yellow or white.

They have a very vivid colour when they are just taken out of the water, and they seem to be lit on, hence the name of “lampga” (dolphinfish), which could be translated as torch. However this striking colour disappears after a while of being out of the water when they get a grey tone that has nothing to do with their colours in life.

This species reaches sexual maturity between 4 and 5 months old, and they are not very long-lived, since they usually die within six years.

Not much is known about their breeding habits, although it is presumed that they mate several times a year, especially in spring. Eggs are pelagic, and the young specimens remain in the coastal zone until they reach a certain size.

They feed on a variety of small fishes, squids, crustaceans and zooplankton. Horse mackerel, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are the main pillars of their diet, although they love flying fish, which they chase almost to exhaustion.

This species is quite coveted among anglers, and for a while it has been valued also for commercial purposes, sometimes still common in markets and fishmongers.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Dorado en Fuerteventura

It is a species that in its juvenile stage is considered as blue or fatty fish, but adult individuals are considered white or lean fish.

If you want to get first hand knowledge about this amazing species, we recommend you come to one of our trips at this time of year.

FuerteCharter Team

The Canary Damsel in Fuerteventura: the damsel in the Canary waters

Abudefduf luridus, Fula negra, Castañeta or castañuela, as it is known in some parts of the Canary Islands, is a very colorful fish, belonging to the damsels, a percomorphi species of the Pomacentridae family. Every day we find this fish in our boat trips from the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura to Lobos.

Despite its delicate and appealing appearance, marked by dark colours and gleaming electric blue lips, which makes it look like the harmeless fish in an aquarium, it is one of the most aggressive, territorial and unsociable species that exist in the oceans.

This benthic species crosses the rocky sea beds, Cytoseira (algae) prairies and rocky areas in the Oriental Atlantic Ocean: Senegal, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira, always above 50m deep and more common less than 25m deep.
Its showy colouring and great ability to adjust to changing environments and abrupt changes of parameters, makes it a common fish in aquariums, where they can live up to 10 years in captivity, though, it is difficult to keep them in community aquariums, sharing space with other species, unless they have been introduced together while in their young stage. If a new Fula gets into an aquarium where there is already a group, the male leader, supported by the rest, will constantly attack it to death.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | The Canary Damsel in Fuerteventura

They quickly take control of the space they inhabit, confronting fishes even much bigger than themselves.

They are diurnal. They tend to move in fairly dense banks, dominated by the largest male. Males can also be found on their own or living with their breeding females.
A male can mate with several breeding females, spawning in summer (what is known as Spawn), in crevices or in nests composed of a group of several rocks, which the male will watch closely during the 3-day incubation period, even ready to kill another male approaching the egg laying area, less than 1 meter radio.
In the fighting, males increase their breathing rate, producing very distinctive sounds in combat; as they belong to teleost fish, which are those with specialized organs to emit sounds.

Robust and compact body on their sides, covered with large visible scales, with short and fairly rigid fins. Their eyes and mouth are small and they have a small bulge on their head. They have sharp teeth in both jaws.
The colouring which young specimens feature, up to 3 years old, is very striking. They are almost black, with electric blue stripes that sometimes create whimsical patterns. From the age of 3 their color changes from black to grayish brown, excep in their head and the dorsal and caudal fins, which take a very dark blue colour. In the adult specimens the electric blue stripes condense on the edges of their fins and head.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | The Canary Damsel in Fuerteventura

They are usually 8 to10 cm long and males, slightly larger than females, can reach up to 15cm.
An oddity of this species is that there are specimens that are pale orange in the back of their body to the tail, a phenomenon whose cause is scientifically unknown.

They feed mainly on small invertebrates found among the algae. The young fish are extremely sensitive to food, only eating marine plankton, so those which are bred in captivity tend not to survive unless they are given food of this type.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Fula Negra en Fuerteventura

FuerteCharter Team

Fuerteventura, stopping place for the Sandwich Tern

The Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandivecensis) is a migrant seabird that nests on the European coast of Sweden, British Isles, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Brittany and Baltic countries; Also on the shores of the Black sea and the Caspian Sea and in North and Central America.

Those living in Europe fly over the coastal area each year from northern Europe to West and Southern Africa, in search of warmth in winter. In this journey, coasts and wetlands of the Canary Islands, are a must stop for these birds, although compared to the migration that exists in the African coast, in the Canary Islands we can say that this phenomenon is less relevant.

The Sandwich Tern belongs to the order of Charadriiformes, family Laridae, and it has an average size (41cm long and 94cm wingspan).
Its feathers are black, white and gray. Its round head has a kind of black bun (pileus), which in the mating season can cover almost its entire head. Its beak is long and black with yellow tip and its tail is forked.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Charran Patinegro en Fuerteventura

Flying habits
The Sandwich Tern’s flight is similar to the gulls’, very agile and light, featuring longer and narrower wings though, which makes them more graceful.

They eat fish on the beaches and in coastal waters; also molluscs and marine worms. They don’t usually move beyond the continental shelf to forage, and once they have located their prey they pounce on it, plunging into the water.

The Sandwich Tern is a very sociable bird that usually creates dense colonies of thousands of individuals. Within the colony, each specimen with its partner lay their eggs (1 or 2) by the end of April or early May. They don’t build elaborate nests, they just use a hole in the gravel, sand or between two stones, and they usually cover it with vegetation.
Their eggs have a creamy colour with lots of black speckles, and they incubate them, both father and mother, for 22 to 26 days. 15 days after hatching chicks gather in groups that are watched by an adult, and 30 days later they fly the nest for the first time.

Excursiones Fuertecharter | Charran Patinegro en Fuerteventura

In Fuerteventura we find the Sandwich Tern in ponds, lagoons or lowlands, especially in the area of ​​the beaches of Sotavento (Jandía), El Cotillo, Corralejo, Majanicho, and inland areas, like in Rosa Catalina Garcia, in Los Molinos Dam and in some ravines with permanent water.

Migration and presence on the islands
This bird is regular in this land, so we can find specimens on the islands in almost every month of the year, there are even some that spend the winter on our shores, but when we find the most of them is in autumn (August and September) when they come down to Africa searching winter warmth, and in spring (March and April), when they go back to northern Europe.

What determines how long these birds spend on our shores is the peace and quiet they find here and the availability of food to refuel and continue their journey. The manipulation of the environment by man, such as road building or construction, can modify the habitats of these species, by seeking best places to rest.

Fuertecharter Team

Gorse blooming in Fuerteventura

If you’ve been lucky enough to take a trip to Lobos Islet from Corralejo you’ll have noticed, when setting foot on land, some peculiar and very characteristic thin greenish bushes: the gorse (Launacea arborescens). It’s just now (March) when these plants begin to bloom, a period which expands until June.

These shrubs are characteristic not only of Lobos and Fuerteventura but of The Canary Islands in general. In Fuerteventura and Lobos these shrubs you can be seen almost all over their surface, probably less common in the highlands.
It is a perennial plant, very abundant in the dry and arid lowlands in the Canary Islands. It can grow up to one meter, so they are not very high; their stems are thin, rounded and dull green.

FuerteCharter excursiones | Flora Fuerteventura

It’s so abundant and representative in our island that the famous writer, Unamuno, who spent his exile in these lands, dedicated a few words to this plant in “Artículos y discursos sobre Canarias”:

“La aulaga majorera, de Fuerteventura —se llama majoreros a los de Fuerteventura— tiende su triste verdor pardo, su verduras gris, por entre pedregales sedientos. La aulaga no tiene hojas, la aulaga desdeña la hojarasca; la aulaga no es más que un esqueleto de planta espinosa. Sus desnudos y delgados tallos, armados de espinas, no se adornan más que con unas florecillas amarillas. Y todo ello se lo come el camello, el compañero del hombre en esta isla, su más fiel servidor (…). Qué lección de estilo y de lo más íntimo del estilo, esta aulaga de Fuerteventura, es la expresión de la isla misma; es la isla misma expresándose, diciéndose; es la palabra suprema de la isla. En la aulaga ha expresado sus entrañas volcánicas, el poso de su corazón de fuego, esta isla entrañable.” Unamuno

We chose the words of this great writer because they describe, with beauty and wisdom, this so abundant bush in our Islands.
Throughout the years and being so abundant, this plant has had many uses, including the gorse yellow flowers which, on their own or in small bunches, were used in infusion for children suffering from jaundice. As already mentioned by Unamuno, it was also the favourite food of camels and goats.

FuerteCharter excursiones | Flora Fuerteventura

Whether you inhabit these lands or are just visiting it, in the coming months you’ll enjoy the flowers of this shrub, which is “the expression of the island itself.” If you’re lucky enough to accompany us on our trip to Lobos from Corralejo you will see this blooming paradise. We’ll be waiting for you.

FuerteCharter Team.

FuerteCharter excursiones | Flora Fuerteventura

FuerteCharter excursiones | Flora Fuerteventura

Birds: The Canarian Houbara, inhabitant of The Islet of Lobos, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote

The arid, wild and pristine islet of Lobos —which we passionately show to the visitors who join our day trips from Corralejo— is one of the few places along with Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Graciosa, where one of the most unique bird in the Spanish wildlife lives, the Canarian Houbara. Its habitat are the arid landscapes, “jables” and “malpaís” characterizing the eastern end of The Canary Islands.

The Houbara or Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) is a species of “gruiforme” birds from the Otididae family, fully adapted to living in dry and poor lands; It is an omnivore, a terrestrial and lonely bird found from Mauritania to Egypt and from Sinai to Mongolia, the small settlement in The Canary Islands being unique in Europe. The subspecies inhabiting our islands is fuerteventurae, which is endemic to The Canary Islands.

FuerteCharter excursions Fuerteventura | Birds: The Canarian Houbara
© AurelioMartín


Thin and elongated neck, grey and white shades, it features a comb or small bun of black and white feathers, usually flashier in the male. The chicks, more similar to males, have the duller plumage. Actually this bird seeks to go unnoticed, is easily scared and jealous of its privacy and it seeks to be relaxed for survival so its plumage usually blends in with the landscape except in the mating season. With 170 cm wingspan, it is the largest bird nesting in The Canary Islands. Their diet is varied both animal matter (beetles, grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars, snails and small lizards) and plants (flowers, sprouts, fruits and seeds).

Although the Canarian Houbara is sedentary it can act like the migratory birds, making journeys in search of similar habitats and even flying between islands.

FuerteCharter excursions Fuerteventura | Birds: The Canarian Houbara

Reproduction, wooing and breeding

Regarding the breeding season, although variable, we can say that it normally starts between February and March and it begins with a wooing which is most interesting since the male performs solo shows, a real dance in which their plumage become more attractive so as to draw the females attention; they spread out the white feathers on their crest and neck, moving in circles and straight; from a distance a flashiest white ball, which changes colour, can be seen, a spectacular wooing dance.
Once the female is captivated , after copulation, the male ignores the upbringing and it’s the female that is in charge alone. It usually lays two or three eggs which she incubates for about 23 days, after which the eggs hatch and the chicks are able to move soon after being born and they will be raised by their mother for about 35 days; perhaps occasionally the male may cooperate, but not generally. The chicks usually remain with their mother until the autumn.
This endemic bird of the islands, so special and of which we may have about 800 specimens in the archipelago, is listed as an endangered species, threatened with losing their habitat, their peace and quiet, as a result of urban and tourism development and, particularly in Fuerteventura , by the new highway that goes through the quiet and sparsely populated areas that have become home to these peculiar and solitary birds. For the preservation and survival of the species it is essential to protect their habitat.

Threats and preservation

The preservation measures started in 1985 with the drafting of a recovery plan and management programs, education and awareness and implementation of a captive breeding plan. Since 1993, SEO / BirdLife is carrying out preservation projects in Fuerteventura, subsidized with funds from the EU LIFE program. In 2005, this NGO acquired a 200-acre farm, El Cercado de El Jarde, aimed to protect this species, where 18 specimens have been living along with several other species of the “majorera” wildlife.

It ‘s a bird that could be classified as difficult to see despite being a terrestrial animal since, as we previously said, it’s very jealous of its privacy, but let’s not lose hope because it is common to see it in very quiet areas running around elusively among the gorse. If you are a respectful traveller and concerned about respecting the peace and quiet in these arid areas they inhabit you are much more likely to enjoy them. As for us, on our trips to the Islet of Lobos from Corralejo, we are very attentive when we set foot on the islet because although it is not the most common bird sometimes we are lucky to see them running around in this little paradise that The Islet of Lobos is. 

FuerteCharter Team

The house of Nature: fauna and flora in “Parque Natural de Betancuria”

Just one week ago  the House of Nature opened in the town of Vega de Rio Palmas,, a space dedicated to the exhibition of fauna and flora wonders in the Natural Park of Betancuria in Fuerteventura.

This house, built on the ruins of an ancient majorera house, is owned by the German Reiner Loos, who has been living in Fuerteventura for 20 years, and has managed to give a touch of fantasy to this place, raising a rustic-style building with lots of vegetation and gardens, and with a restaurant for visitors to rest, if they come from the path SL FV 27 (Barranco de las Penitas-Vega de Rio Palmas), enjoying the majestic views of Betancuria mountains.

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

In this House of Nature you find a really modern exhibition hall, where visitors can discover some of the unique fauna and flora in the Natural Park of Betancuria.

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

This park became a National Park in 1987, and in 1994 it also became a Rural Park, the “Natural Monument of Ajuy”being then included in their confines.  It is also a ZEPA  area (Special Protection Area for birds).

The Park includes the area in the west-central sector of the island, covering an area of ​​16,544.3 hectares in the municipalities of Betancuria, Antigua, Puerto del Rosario, Pájara and Tuineje (as you can see in the picture below).

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

This area corresponds to the basal outcrop in Fuerteventura, and it also presents sub-aerial volcanic series, so the colour and structural peculiarities of this area are stunning. There are moderate mounds that intermingle with U-shaped deep ravines. The most prominent peaks of this massif are Morro Jana (764 m), Gran Montaña (708 m), Morro de la Cruz (676 m) and Morro Velosa (669 m), major mountains considering the island scenario.

The existence of mountains and canyons are participant of the great variety of vegetation that exists, many of these rock plants being considered as endangered and protected species.

You can find there endemic species from Fuerteventura , but also from The Canary Islands and the whole of Macaronesia. In lower areas we find a blanket of sparse grass, with few trees and many shrubs, mainly sweet spurge (Euphorbia balsamifera), “cuernúa” (Caralluma buchardii), “ jorjao” (Nauplius asteriscus seiceus), gorse (Launaea arborescens is given ), the cactus (Euphorbia canariensis) and “salados” (Sarcocornia perennis). In ravine funds there are tamarisks (Tamarix canariensis and T. africanus), palm trees (Phoenix canariensis), reeds, rushes, etc. Among the introduced species the mime (Nicotiana glauca) stands out, as well as  the population of pine trees known as “Pinar de Betancuria”.

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

The same can be said about its wildlife, with great variety, especially on humid ravines and inland areas, where you can find native birds such as the  majorero vulture (Neophron percnopterus majorensis), the tit (Parus caeruleus degener) and the canary (Serinus canaria), and other migratory birds such as the marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) and the Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea).

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

The habitat that stands out is not only the mountain, but also The wetland in the dam of Las Peñitas , Los Molinos, and the coastal cliffs are of great importance. In these cliffs, specifically in the town and Ajuy, you can find important deposits of ancient remains, with ocean sediments and fossils of already extinguished marine animals. The waters in this part of the coast are inhabited by species such as the whale shark, sea turtle, swordfish, sparidae, whales, rays…

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

In the House of Nature, visitors can enjoy an exhibition with photos, videos and information on these species of the Flora and Fauna in the Natural Park of Betancuria, besides a projection room where a multi-screen film is exhibited, which portrays the island in all four seasons.

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

Part of the exhibition hall is dedicated to ecological disasters that produced tar in the Galician coast (Prestige) as a protest to this industry and a rejection of the implementation of these platforms on the shores of our paradise.

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

Fuertecharter | fauna y flora Parque Natural Betancuria

Hours: 10 to 17h. Closed on Tuesday.

FuerteCharter Team

Fuerteventura, paradise for birds: The Ruddy Shelduck

As you know every day we depart from Corralejo pier for our catamaran excursion to Isla de Lobos, a magnificent tour in which  we don’t only enjoy the wonders of the sea but also of the wonders of the sky, since they are many the birds flying over us in this beautiful island of Fuerteventura.

For several months we have been lucky to see, more and more often, some birds that look like geese; they even honk like them and we usually see them in couple. This is the Ruddy Shelduck or Tadorna ferruginea, which is a species of bird from the Anatidae family, fairly widespread in Asia and North Africa.
We can boast of  Fuerteventura currently having the largest population of Ruddy Shelduck in Spain. Although in the past they used to spend the winter in the peninsula and sometimes nest in Andalusia, they currently nest exclusively on our island.

FuerteCharter Excursiones Fuerteventura | birds: The Ruddy Shelduck

© Ricardo Herranz


Common name: Ruddy Shelduck
Scientific name: Tadorna ferruginea
Weight: 1.3-1.6 kg.
Size: 61-67 cm. long.
Wingspan: 110-135cm

As we have already discussed, The Ruddy Shelduck looks like the goose, with long neck and legs. Its head is cream whereas its tail is black with black wings except  at the front, which is white above and below; its body is reddish tan. The male has a narrow black necklace and the female stands out  because its face mask is more prominent.
Where do they live?
In Fuerteventura they live in the wetlands and the ponds inland, these shallow waters being their favourite breeding areas, so they can graze on their edges. It is really common to see couples in the ponds in Los Molinos, Catalina Garcia (Tuineje), and La Rosa del Taro (Puerto del Rosario) … these wetlands have become nurseries for the raising of chickens after the breeding season, which started between January and February.


They feed on stems and  alfalfa sprouts, seeds and typical dry-land insects, as well as worms in wetter soils. They usually eat at dusk and dawn.


They usually lay between 8 and 10 eggs which are incubated by the female about 28 days, while the male defends and doesn’t go too far  away. They lay an egg per day and they begin to incubate them once the clutch has finished. When they are born they are able to feed rapidly ; even so, the couple still protects them and devotes about 55 days of care, until they can fend for themselves.
The first couple to arrive  in Fuerteventura was in year 94 and experts believe they did  in a natural way; currently we are believed to have a population of over 300 specimens.
Although it is a migratory species and there were periods in which they totally disappeared from the island, probably because they went to the wetlands in North Africa, it is now common to see them throughout the year, probably because this island is not very crowded and has wetlands similar to the African ones.  Surely this year is more common to see them and its population has grown as this autumn has been rich in water.

Despite boasting of population we must not forget that men and their lifestyle are a major threat to this species as they are responsible for the destruction of their habitat and, specifically in Fuerteventura, the extraction of water from ponds for irrigation. Also poaching and the plundering of nests are circumstances that threaten this species.

The Ruddy Shelduck is included in “El libro Rojo de las Aves de España” as “critically endangered species”  and it is listed in the category “Of special interest” in “El Catálogo Nacional de Especies Amenazadas”.
From FuerteCharter we’ll keep enjoying these couples we see from our catamaran in our daily excursions from Corralejo to the wild and unspoiled islet of Lobos.

FuerteCharter Team

Common Octopus: blue blood in the waters of Fuerteventura

Cover photo: © M.Brekkevold

The most elusive cephalopod Mollusc in the waters of the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic, Octopus vulgaris, is one of the jewels that inhabits the rocky and sandy bottoms in Fuerteventura, up to a depth of 329 feet.

The word octopus comes from Latin polypus and literally it means “many feet.” It has 8 arms,  6 out of which have two rows of suckers which, according to scientific studies, are used to manipulate objects and prey and the two rear ones, to scroll through the rocks. The common octopus, unlike other Cephalopoda such as the squid, has no tentacles. Tentacles are long extensions, longer than  arms, which help them capture their prey. This is a good feature to differentiate octopus from squids, as squids, besides 8 arms, also have two tentacles.

As a means of locomotion octopus don’t only use their arms; they also have a ventral siphon that helps them swim very quickly by means of high-pressure water-jets.

Like all Cephalopoda, the common octopus has “blue blood” (instead of haemoglobin it has haemolymph, with atoms of copper instead of the iron that blood usually has. The copper oxide gives a bluish tint, while iron oxide is red ).

Its body is soft and without shell, which gives it great flexibility to change shape and the possibility to get into really small cavities.

The octopus skin is another feature that makes them unique beings,  with three types of pigment cells, one of them which causes their colour change, and two others that enable them to reflect and refract light so they can change colour very quickly. Presumably thanks to this they have managed to develop a complex communication system based on changes in colour and texture of the skin, expressing moods, which plays an important role when it comes to mating and also as a way of deterring predators, to which it also misleads by means of ink secretions.

The common octopus has three hearts (two of them which bring haemolymph or “blood” without oxygen to its gills and the third one which carries oxygenated haemolymph to its body) and nine  brains, eight small ones connected to each of its arms and one general one that coordinates all of them. This tuns it into the invertebrate with the most developed nervous system that exists. Its intelligence is comparable to that of some mammals, featuring memory and learning ability.

Fuertecharter | Common Octopus in Fuerteventura
©isaias Cruz

Its head usually measures around 10 inches, and its arms, around 40, although sometimes it can reach a total length of up to 10 feet. Its diet is mainly carnivorous, based on small fish, crustaceans and molluscs, which it crushes with its hardened beak-shaped jaw, similar to parrots’. It usually hunts at night and during the day it remains hidden in the hollows of the rocks.

Cannibalism is usual in this species, especially near the mating season, which usually takes place in spring and autumn, act that makes them be together momentarily as the rest of the time they are solitary animals.

The relationship between height and weight show positive allometry: males are heavier than females at a given size. Longevity in both sexes is usually 12 to 18 months.

The female protects the eggs they lay for 25-65 days. In this period it consistently beats the water to oxygenate it and it doesn’t eat, so many of them die when the eggs hatch. Once the eggs hatch, the offspring live as plankton for about two months, until they take the habit of living at the bottom.

Fuertecharter | Common Octopus in Fuerteventura

Its delicious flavour has turned the octopus into one of the most popular dishes in Galician cuisine, which has spread to the rest of Spain the way of cooking it (after cooking, it is served sprinkled with paprika, cut into 1cm slices and with olive oil and coarse salt), and it’s a real attraction for tourists. This has led to overfishing in recent decades, which has resulted in a decrease in both the number and the size of the specimens.

In the waters off the coast of Fuerteventura and Lobos islet is often common to find  Octopus vulgaris specimens, hidden in puddles and among cliff cavities. In the snorkeling activity we carry out in our trips to the islet of Lobos it can sometimes be observed, though you have to look very carefully as this specimen is a master of camouflage and oversight, and it can vanish in front of our eyes behind a smoke bomb in the form of ink, as if it were a magic trick.

FuerteCharter Team