Wildlife of Réunion

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The wildlife of Réunion is composed of its flora, fauna and fungi. Being a small island, it only has nine native species of mammals, but ninety-one species of birds.



Species Order Family Description Species worldwide Species on Réunion
Albatrosses Procellariiformes Diomedeidae Among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. 21 6
Shearwaters and petrels Procellariiformes Procellariidae The main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. Réunion hosts two endemic species of petrels, the Mascarene petrel, Pseudobulweria aterrima (IUCN status CR), and Barau’s petrel, Pterodroma baraui (IUCN status EN). 75 11
Storm-petrels Procellariiformes Hydrobatidae Relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. 21 2
Tropicbirds Pelecaniformes Phaethontidae Slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. 3 1
Boobies and gannets Pelecaniformes Sulidae The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium to large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. 9 2
Frigatebirds Pelecaniformes Fregatidae Large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. 5 2
Bitterns, herons and egrets Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. 61 2
Ibises and spoonbills Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. 36 1
Flamingos Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopteridae Gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. 6 2
Ducks, geese and swans Anseriformes Anatidae These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. 131 3
Hawks, kites and eagles Falconiformes Accipitridae These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. 233 2
Caracaras and falcons Falconiformes Falconidae Family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. 62 2
Pheasants and partridges Galliformes Phasianidae Family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. 156 7
Buttonquails Gruiformes Turnicidae Small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young. 16 1
Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots Gruiformes Rallidae Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers. 143 1
Crab plover Charadriiformes Dromadidae related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black-and-white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs. 1 1
Pratincoles and coursers Charadriiformes Glareolidae Family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. 17 2
Plovers and lapwings Charadriiformes Charadriidae They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. 66 3
Sandpipers and allies Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. 89 9
Terns Charadriiformes Sternidae Generally general medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years. 44 9
Pigeons and doves Columbiformes Columbidae Stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. 308 2
Parrots, macaws and allies Psittaciformes Psittacidae Small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back. 335 1
Swifts Apodiformes Apodidae Small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. 98 1
Typical rollers Coraciiformes Coraciidae Resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. 12 1
Swallows and martins Passeriformes Hirundinidae Family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. 75 1
Cuckoo-shrikes Passeriformes Campephagidae Small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured. 82 1
Bulbuls Passeriformes Pycnonotidae Medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. 130 2
Old World flycatchers Passeriformes Muscicapidae Large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. 274 1
Monarch flycatchers Passeriformes Monarchidae Small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. 99 1
White-eyes Passeriformes Zosteropidae Small and are mostly of undistinguished appearance, their plumage above being generally some dull color like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. 96 2
Starlings Passeriformes Sturnidae Small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. 125 1
Weavers and allies Passeriformes Ploceidae Small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. 116 2
Waxbills and allies Passeriformes Estrildidae The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns. 141 3
Siskins, crossbills and allies Passeriformes Fringillidae Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. 137 2
Sparrows Passeriformes Passeridae Small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. 35 1


Those mammals not native to Réunion include the tenrec, dog, cat, pig, goat, sheep and cattle.



Seven species of day geckos and four species of night geckos:

Agamid lizards[edit]




Two introduced species;


Marine turtles[edit]

see also:[4]

Land turtles[edit]



See also[edit]


  • "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Mammals of Réunion". IUCN. 2001. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  • "Mammal Species of the World". Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 2005. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  • "Animal Diversity Web". University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. 1995–2006. Retrieved 22 May 2007.
  • Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of Réunion". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  • Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1.