Corfu Wildlife

Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

White EgretWhite Egret

No-one should visit Corfu without reading Gerald Durrell's wonderful evocation of his island childhood, My Family and Other Animals. And if you have read it already, re-read it while you're actually on the island. You might wonder whether the 'other animals' he describes so vividly still exist in such profusion. He makes it sound like a Garden of Eden.

While a lot of habitat has naturally been lost as the population increases and tourism development has caused lots of building to take place, the wildlife is certainly still there. You only need to go to places like Lake Korission, the Andinióti Lagoon or get walking in the real outdoors on the Corfu Trail to discover that the wildlife is still there in abundance. Even the Halikiopoulos Lagoon right by the airport runway is home to otters and rare white egrets.

Mount Pantokrator on CorfuMount Pantokrator on Corfu

Corfu’s Diverse Landscape

As is obvious when you visit the island, Corfu has a very diverse landscape, from lagoons to sand dunes, from cliffs to mountains to fertile plains. Diverse landscapes make for diverse wildlife, and birds are probably the easiest thing for the average visitor to spot. If planning to visit Corfu, leave room in your luggage for at least a small pair of binoculars. Spring and autumn are the best times, when migrating species add to the island's own native birds.

Corfu Town

This applies even in Corfu Town, where in spring the arrival of swifts, swallows and martins is indicated by the fast-flying birds screeching overhead and almost filling the skies as they search for insects early and late in the day.

Some of the most colourful species can be the hardest to spot, as they are less common than the 'little brown jobs' that flit through the olive groves and which might be olive warblers, Sardinian warblers or blackcaps. Their more colourful cousins include the kingfisher, hoopoe, bee-eater and, if you are very lucky, the shy golden oriole.

The Beautiful KingfisherThe Beautiful Kingfisher

The Call of the Owl

Some birds are more often heard than seen, especially the owl. All over the island you might hear at dusk and into the night the call of the fairly common Scops owl. Some islanders call it Yianni's owl, as they say its sound is like a woman calling for her lover: Yianni, Yianni. Also heard at night is the nightjar, a relative of the cuckoo, whose pinging call sounds like a bell or other metal object being struck.

Corfu SunsetCorfu Sunset

Where there are nightjars at dusk you might also see fireflies floating through the olive groves too. Some of the other smaller insects you might not want to get too close to, such as horseflies, mosquitoes, ants and wasps, not to mention scorpions – so be careful when picking up stones as they like to sit underneath. There are more beautiful creatures, and the graceful Swallowtail butterfly is quite common.

Corfu’s Wildlife: Lizards

There are numerous varieties of lizard on Corfu, and scarcely a day goes by when you don't see one. You may prefer never to see a snake, but they are there too, mostly non-venomous. The notable exception is the sand viper, which is Europe's most poisonous snake. Few people encounter them as they are mostly nocturnal, but you should always take care when poking around in rocks or going through undergrowth where you can't see where you're putting your feet. That's when you'll discover that the 'other animals' are very much on Corfu still!

Greek LizardGreek Lizard

Where to Stay on Corfu

Other Corfu pages

  • Corfu

    Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

  • A Lawrence Durrell Walk

    This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

  • Northern Corfu

    Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

  • Kalámi

    Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

  • Best Things to Do on Corfu

    The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

  • Mount Pantokrátor

    Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

  • Mount Pantokrator Drive

    This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.

  • Drive to Palaiokastrítsa

    This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

  • Where to Eat in North-West Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

  • Corfu Town

    Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.

  • Northern Corfu Drive

    There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.

  • Corfu Festivals and Events

    Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

  • Two Corfu Saints

    The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

  • Southern Corfu

    Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

  • The Achilleion Palace

    The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

  • Corfu Offshore Islands

    There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

  • Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Corfu Climate: Sun, Rain, Winds

    The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

  • Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Corfu and Cricket

    The history of Corfu and cricket goes back to 1823 when the island was under British rule, which left them with a legacy of loving both cricket and ginger beer.

  • Corfu’s Marine Life

    Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.

  • Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • The Corfu Trail

    The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

  • The Invasion of Corfu

    From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman times and through to Hollywood today!

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