The Fauna in the Jara Greenway is representative of common species of the Mediterranean mountain
Some ungulates, such as the deer, the roeg, and the fallow deer, are well represented in the area. At the beginning of autumn takes place the bellowing, the mating season for deer. Wild boars, genets, wildcats, hedgehogs, foxes, mouflons, and dormice can also be found in the area.
In some tunnels sometimes various bat species (cave bats, hoof bats, mouse bats) can be seen leaving their dens at dusk in search of food.
Even though they hide from travellers, otters can be found in the rivers flowing alongside the Greenway.
Among the more than 120 bird species which can be seen in the environs of the Greenway, we would like to highlight some of the most emblematic ones which can be found in these lands, such as Bonelliâs Eagle, the Iberian Imperial Eagle, the Royal Eagle, and the Black Stork.
In addition, there are species typical of rivers, dams, and riverbanks, such as the Marsh Harrier, the Cormorant, the Golden Oriole, the Kingfisher, various heron species, etc. Also, in the Mediterranean mountain areas, we can find the Blue Black-Shouldered Kite, Montaguâs Harrier, and the Booted Eagle, among birds of prey, and other smaller birds: the Azure, the Common Shrike, the Hoopoe, and some game species such as the Red Partridge or the Quail.
In the plains and cereal areas in Calera y Chozas can be found some very interesting species, such as the Bustard or the Curlew, among others.
Particularly remarkable are two species which can be found in Greenway crags and ravines: the Black Wheateater and Monticola solitarius. A significant population of Ptyonoprogne rupestris can also be found along the Greenway, where it nests inside tunnels.
Amphibians, Fish, and Reptiles
The river, brook, and pond network found along the Greenway makes it possible to see various amphibian species, such as the Common Toad, the Runner Toad, the Newt, the Iberian Newt, and the Common Green Frog.
Various fish species live in these waters, including autochtonous species such as the Common Barbel or the Loach, and introducted species such as the Sunfish, the Catfish, or the Black Bass.
In the environs of these wet areas and far from them, the most commonly found reptile species are the Ladder Snake, the Viper Snake, the Terrapin, the Ocellated Lizard, and the Iberian Lizard.
Detailed Species Description:
A detailed description will now be provided of some of the species found in the 4 habitats along the 52 km in the Greenway.
Roe (Capreolus capreolus)
This graceful animal presents a marked sexual dimorphism, as the rest of the members of its family, with the presence of small, often irregular branched antlers in the males. Summer hide is reddish and turns greyish in the winter.
Its behaviour is avoidant, and the forest habitat affords only chance encounters.
Deer (Cervus elaphus)
The larger of Iberian cervids, a family shared with roes and fallow deer. The maleâs branching antlers are the most characteristic attribute of the species: shed each season, they grow again in the spring, and reach their high point at the end of the summer.
In the autumn one of the most spectacular spectacles in Iberian fauna takes place â the bellowing of the deer, the mating call by males who fight for possession of their harems with the aim of perpetuating the species. This spectacle can be enjoyed in many Jara spots.
Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
The ancestor of our domestic pigs. Vigorous and thick. Very voluminous head, ending in a prominent snout with visible fangs. Its body is covered in coarse long hairs. Smaller female.
Its presence is easy to detect: very clear tracks and turned-over stones and soil as if ploughed. Usually bathes in mud and then rubs its body against tree trunks, leaving mud traces. Omnivorous: will eat fruits, acorns, bulbs, mushrooms, vegetablesâ¦ even small animals and carrion.
Game species, found all over the Peninsula. Requires good vegetable covering to hide in.
Otter (Lutra lutra)
A mammal perfectly adapted to aquatic life, and an efficient natural selector and controller of fish, amphibian, reptile, and American crab populations. This jewel of our fauna lives in any quiet water course where it can find food.
Formerly abundant, it was threatened with extinction for many years to to its persecution due to the worth of its fur and the destruction and pollution of its habitat. It is currently strictly protects, and its populations seem to be recovering.
In the Greenway, it lives in some parts of the rivers Tagus and Huso and their tributaries. If glimpsed, it may be mistaken for the American Mink, an introduced semi-aquatic mammal.
Bat Cave (Miniopterus schreibersii)
Medium size (about 50 mm), with a flat snout and small ears.
Gregarious, when it mates it gets together with other bat species in colonies of hundreds or thousands of individuals inside caves, chasms, mines and tunnels, as in the Jara Greenway. In winter, colonies tend to be monospecific, and can be many miles away from each other. Isolated specimens and small groups can also be found in cracks, houses, and bridges.
The main threat to bats â which are surprisingly adaptable and hugely beneficial â tends to come from human intervention.
Bonelliâs Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)
Large and powerful, about 60-70 cm in size. Lives in mid and low mountain areas, with cliffs and gorges, generally nesting in rocky crags and clay ravines. Rarely nests in trees, though nests have been found in pylons.
Solitary or in couples, it is sedentary with juvenile dispersions. Feeds on mid-size mammals and birds.
One of our most threatened birds of prey, its populations tend dramatically to decrease (some 700 couples are estimated for all Spain). Poison and electrocution in electricity lines are some of the reasons for this population drop.
Blue Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Small bird of prey, about 31-35 cm in size, similar to a white pigeon with bright red eyes. It lives in open holm oak fields with cereal crops. In winter it moves to irrigation areas seeking its favourite prey: small rodents. It usually hovers to locate them, that is, it quickly flaps its wings while remaining still in the air. It nests in tres and is sedentary.
About 95-100 cm in size, somewhat smaller than the more familiar White Stork. Very similar to it, although the predominant colour of its plumage colour is black, hence its name.
Of solitary and avoidant behaviour, they live in quiet spots, away from man, where there forests and wet areas (rivers, dams) to fish in. They nest in trees and cliffs.
Much scarcer than the White Stork, there are no more than 500 couples
currently reproducing in Spain, but their population seems to be gradually growing.
AviÃ³n Roquero (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
Its Spanish name perfectly reflects this speciesâ preferred habitat, in cliffs and promontories over 2,500 above sea level. This swallow can also build its nests in human buildings such as tunnels, bridges, and dams.
It builds a curious nest out of mud, feathers, and vegetable matter in the shape of a half cup. A great consumer of insects, which it catches mid-flight, this species is beneficial and of great value for agriculture.
Una buena poblaciÃ³n de roqueros viven junto al rÃo Huso en su recorrido por la VÃa Verde de la Jara, hallÃ¡ndose interesantes colonias de nidificaciÃ³n en el interior de sus tÃºneles.
Roquero Solitario (Monticola solitarius)
About 22 cm in size. The male is a beautiful blue, the female is darker. Its common name in Spanish (âsolitary rockerâ) describes its way of life: solitary habits, and likes terrains with rocky outcrops, including castles, bridges, or ruins; from the sea to mid-mountain. Melodious singing, both alighting and in flight.
Nests in hollows in cliffs or walls. Sedentary, although it migrates and disperses. The Jara Greenway environment is an ideal habitat for this beautiful bird, which is not very common in the Peninsula.
Azure-Winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyanus)
About 34 cm in size. This âblue magpieâ is a corvid whose worldwide geographic distribution is a mystery: they are only found in the Iberian Peninsula and Northeast Asia, thousands of kilometres away.
Azure-winged magpies nest in all kinds of habitats more or less covered in trees, for which reason they can be easily observed in many areas along the Greenway.
Gregarious and sedentary, it can form flocks of more than a hundred individuals. Feeds on insects and seeds.
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
With a size of about 17 cm, is one of the most common birds of our rivers, owner of a beautiful and striking plumage. Is easy to detect with fast and direct flight or perched on their territory hunting his vantage (single or multiple-river) inspecting the underwater world to catch small fish quickly immersed in water, and speared with his beak. Its presence indicates good health of river.
Nests in sandy slopes where cut and dug a deep tunnel that will bring the world to their chicks.