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Corsica is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus). It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia. Corsica is considered one of the 26 régions of France, although strictly speaking Corsica is designated as a 'territorial collectivity' (collectivité territoriale) by law. The region consists of the Departments of: Corse du Sud & Haute-Corse. The traditional Province (& Island) of Corsica. As a territorial collectivity, it enjoys greater powers than other French régions, but for the most part its status is quite similar. Corsica is referred to as a 'région' in common speech, and is almost always listed among the other régions of France. Although the island is separated from the continental mainland by the Ligurian Sea and is much closer to the Italian than to the French mainland, politically Corsica is part of Metropolitan France. It was once briefly an independent Corsican Republic, until being incorporated into France in 1768.

Corsica is famed as the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte. His ancestral home, Casa Buonaparte, is located there still.

Corsica has several rivers, some with tributaries. They originate in inland lakes or mountain passes, flow through gorges featuring rapids and waterfalls, then meander through coastal alluvial deposits before discharging into the sea rather than into one of the many coastal étangs or 'pools'.

The island is divided into three major ecological zones by altitude.

Below 2,000 feet (610 m) is the coastal zone, which features a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The natural vegetation is Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrubs. The coastal lowlands are part of the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion, in which forests and woodlands of evergreen sclerophyll oaks predominate, chiefly Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) and Cork Oak (Quercus suber). Much of the coastal lowlands have been cleared for agriculture, grazing and logging, which have reduced the forests considerably.

From 2,000 to 6,000 feet (610 to 1,800 m) is a temperate montane zone. The mountains are cooler and wetter, and home to the Corsican montane broadleaf and mixed forests ecoregion, which supports diverse forests of oak, pine, and broadleaf deciduous trees, with vegetation more typical of northern Europe. The population lives predominantly below 3,000 feet (910 m), with only shepherds and hikers at 2,000 to 3,000 feet (610 to 910 m).

From 6,000 to 9,000 feet (1,800 to 2,700 m) is a high alpine zone. Vegetation is sparse. In spite of the southern location, the highest elevations are snow-capped with small glaciers. This zone is uninhabited.

The island has a natural park (Parc Naturel Régional de Corse), which protects thousands of rare animal and plant species. The park was created in 1972 and includes the Golfe de Porto, the Scandola Nature Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and some of the highest mountains on the island. This park is protected and cannot be reached on foot, but people can gain access by boat. Two endangered subspecies of hoofed mammals, the mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) and Corsican red deer (Cervus elaphus corsicanus) inhabit the island; the Corsican red deer is endemic.



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Useful Reading

Birdwatching Guide to France: South of the Loire Including Corsica (Paperback)

(Paperback) by Jacquie Crozier Arlequin Publications (1 May 2000)

ISBN: 1900159368

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birdwatching Guide to France: South of the Loire Including Corsica (Paperback)

(Paperback) by Jacquie Crozier Arlequin Publications (1 May 2000)

ISBN: 1900159368

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Books, CDs, etc.

For books on France as a whole and more than one region see the Fatbirder France page…

The Birds of Corsica

[BOU checklist number 17] by Jean-Claude Thibault & Giles Bonaccorsi 1999

ISBN: 0907446213

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

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Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2007 [05 May] - Jan Vermeulen


It is not the sheer number of bird species that draws a birder's attention to Corsica. It is rather species poor, but it is blessed with many interesting endemic subspecies and two of the very few true European endemics, the Corsican Nuthatch and Corsican Finch…

2008 [06 June] - Roger Lawrence & David Walsh

Report PDF

The party for Ornitholidays‟ tour to the “Scented Isle” assembled at Gatwick‟s North Terminal on a very wet morning. Check-in was easy but the flight was delayed by over an hour because of computer problems with the easyJet Airbus.

2009 [07 July] - Stephen Burch


We were clearly on a roll, so I decided on another stop at the next available parking place in the pines. Almost as soon as we got out from the car, we first heard and then saw Corsican Nuthatches. These were quite confiding, and at one point we had 3 birds in the same tree quite close to the road, and low enough down for some moderate photography, albeit hampered by poor light and their somewhat frustrating behaviour. Nevertheless this had been a very successful excursion, with both endemics ticked without too much difficulty…

2010 [05 May] - Pete Morris


On Corsica, the obvious highlight was the superb endemic Corsican Nuthatch which was our overall bird of the trip, but an excellent supporting cast included Marmora’s, Dartford and Moltoni’s Warblers (the local form of Subalpine), Corsican Finch and Italian Sparrow as well as more widespread species such as Scopoli’s and Yelkouan Shearwaters, Red Kite, Red-footed Falcon, Audouin’s Gull, Pallid Swift and Eurasian Wryneck….

2012 [08 August] - Anders Hangård - Sardinia & Corsica


…This was primarily a family-trip with my wife and two children (8 and 11 years) to get some sun and warmth away from the disasterous summer we have had in Norway this year. I still managed to sneak in some birding to secure all the endemic species and subspecies…

2013 [11 November] - Marcel Holyoak


VERY brief

2017 [04 April] - Mike Neale

PDF Report

Illustrated list