Fauna in Boa Vista

Terrestrial fauna

The Cape Verdean fauna is relatively poor and consists mainly of domestic animals such as dogs, cats, birds, small reptiles and also beetles and endemic insects. Other animals in the archipelago, such as horses, donkeys, cows or goats, can be found on almost every island. The same goes for the green monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops), present in some areas of Santiago and Brava, coming from the African continent, and the cane toad (Rhinella diptycha). 

Among the main species of fauna, birds are particularly important, namely the Passarinha, the crow and the cream-coloured- courser. In terms of fauna, there are 755 plant species, of which 83 are endemic and 224 are indigenous. The dragon tree is particularly important because it is a tree whose presence precedes the discovery of the archipelago itself.

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Birds of Cape Verde

Cape Verde’s birdlife is characterized by remarkable biodiversity and includes about 150 species. The Passarinha (Halcyon leucocephala) is a small bird in blue, white and dark brown, with a long red beak, present in the islands of Santiago, Fogo and Brava. This species was adopted almost as a national symbol in the archipelago, being used in the coins of 10 escudos and in public and private entities, with its scientific name chosen to name even an airline of the country (Halcyonair). 

The frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) is a rare species and typically resident on the island of Boavista and it’s almost extinct. The last observation of this species occurred in 2016. With more than two meters of wingspan, this species reproduced only in islets of Curral Velho and Baluarte, in the south of Boavista, and in small numbers. 

163 Seleçao

The crow (Corvus ruficollis) is one of the most frequently seen birds in Cape Verde. It is the only fully blackbird in the archipelago, is about half a meter, and the largest population of this species is concentrated especially on the island of Santiago, as well as several species of cattle egret (Bubulcus íbis), known locally as “manel pastor” for accompanying the quadrupeds in the pastures, capturing insects which loose from the herbs. Their arrival is usually a bucolic spectacle and at dusk, they seek large trees to rest. 

Alcatraz (Sula leucogaster) is one of the best-known species in the archipelago, particularly in Brava, Santiago and Boavista. It is a resident species of the country and always stays around the waters and the coast in search of food.

On stony or sandy soils in the country, it is possible to frequently encounter a small bird called Corredor (Cursorius cursor), with a camouflage that blends in with the landscape. It is very fast and in the air, it shows a striking white band at the bottom of the wings. Pilrito ​​Sanderlingo (Calidris alba) is seen on the tranquil beaches of Cape Verde following the movement of the waves in the sand feeding on small crustaceans. Cape Verde’s Carricero (Acrocephalus brevipennis) is one of the endemic birds of the archipelago. He lives on several islands and is known locally as “tchota-de-cana” or “tchintchirote”. 

Laverca do Raso (Alauda razae), which is about 13 cm long, is one of the rarest birds in the world, found only in Cape Verde in the islets between the islands of São Nicolau and Santa Luzia, feeding on grasses. Its extinction is considered to be high risk or critical.

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Marine fauna

The variety of fish species in the waters of Cape Verde is remarkable. Among many others, here we select some as bentopelagic, pelagic and others.

Marine turtles

During the summer, it is possible to observe the nesting of hundreds of sea turtles on the islands of Boavista. More information can be found on the page: TURTLES EXCURSION


5 hours

After a journey of about an hour by car (with off-road vehicles) you arrive at the turtles’ beaches on the southeast coast of Boavista. Once in the researchers’ camp, you are welcomed by the guides, who speak your language. A briefing will provide you with general information on the biology of sea turtles and on the ongoing protection in Cape Verde, but also the basic rules to follow to minimize the disturbance to the animals.

During the evening it will not be possible to take photographs, even without a flash. Turtles are easily frightened, despite being harmless. You will be able to observe closely and touch the turtle as soon as it has finished making its nest. In fact, during the deposition phase, it falls into a state of temporary “coma”, which allows biologists to study and measure it. During the hatching period, it will be possible to visit the nests, the newborn baby turtles and free some of them at sea.

Every Saturday and Sunday, in the period July / October

– Marine Club: 7.00 pm
– Riu Karamboa/Palace: 7.15 pm
– Royal Horizon and Bravo Praia Chave: 7.30 pm
– Riu Touareg: 8.00 pm

RETURN: Expected between 00.00 and 1.00 am

TRANSPORT INCLUDED: Pickup (with 8 seats)

€ 65 adults (from 12 years)
€ 35 children (6-11 years)

Humpback whales

In spring, it is possible to observe migratory whales (mainly humpback whales) that usually appear very close to the coast of the island of Boavista. Some boats offer a daily navigation service, about 4 hours, to see and approach these magnificent animals. More information can be found here on the page: WHALES EXCURSION


  • the Atlantic grouper (Cephalopholis taeniops)
  • Channel sole (Syacium micrurum)
  • the honeycomb moray (Muraena melanotis)
  • the purple mouth (Gymnothorax vicinus)
  • o pagello (Pagellus acarne)
  • the grouper of the islands (Mycteroperca fusca)

Pelagic :

  • the wahoo or acantocibio (Acanthocybium solandri)
  • the rainbow fish (Elagatis bipinnulata)
  • the dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus)
  • the peixa San Pedro (Zeus faber)
  • the barracuda (Sphryraena guachancho)

Deep-sea fish:

  • the golden carango (Caranx crysos)
  • the palombo (Mustelus mustelus)
  • the redfish (Scorpaena scrofa)
  • the purple grouper (Mycteroperca rubra)
  • the ribbed pouch (Seriola rivoliana)
  • the redfish (Helicolenus dactylopterus)
  • the white grouper (Epinephelus aeneus)
  • the African goat (Pargus africanus)
  • various species of sargo

The Flying Fish (Exocoetus volitans), is a species that can be observed, making its long jumps out of the water on a catamaran or sport fishing excursion. Cape Verdean marine fauna is very rich. Stuffed with migratory species such as tuna of the dry tail (Thunnus albacares), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sea turtles and many dolphins. 

There is a wide variety of crustaceans in the seas of Cape Verde, especially on the low underwater platform that joins the three most easterly islands (Sal, Boavista and Maio), among which the most endemic species is the pink lobster (Panulirus charlestoni). 


4 hours

The guide will pick you up directly where you are staying with a 4×4 pick-up.

Snorkeling tours are only possible at high tide, because at low tide, the bay becomes very shallow and the coral heads almost protrude from the surface of the sea. We will provide all the necessary equipment (wetsuit, shoes, life jacket, mask and snorkel), but we do not allow the use of fins in order not to damage the corals.
The trip to Gatas takes about 50 minutes from Sal Rei, and allows you to enjoy some beautiful landscapes that characterize the North of the Island. Normally the duration in water is 45-60 minutes, which are sufficient to observe a good quantity of fish and corals, but which do not exceed a normal fatigue threshold.

On the way back, there is a stop in a typical bar of a small village in the North to have a drink and have a snack.

No special technical knowledge is required, and the excursion ends where it started.

Morning: 9.00AM
Afternoon: 2.00PM

Pick-up or coach directly at the hotel or in the city (included in the price). Timetable and further details will be provided after booking. Normally the duration is about 4h.

€ 60 per adult (12+) / € 30 children (6-11 years)
* From the hotel RIU Touareg surcharge of 20 € for transport to/r (max 4 people).

The amount of fish is not as significant as when comparing the huge marine area of ​​the archipelago (200 times greater than the 4,000 km2 of land), due to the insufficiency of low platforms, which are limited to little more than that surrounding the islands to the east (Sal, Boavista and Maio). It is estimated that the annual catch in Cape Verde waters is around 40,000 tonnes, but only one-fifth of this contingent is caught, almost always by hand, by a fleet of just over a thousand boats, used by around 3,000 fishermen.

In the shallow waters of Cape Verde, we can also find several representative species of corals such as:

The most common corals:

  • the African schizocubine
  • the favia fraguant (in shallow waters)
  • several porites (such as asteroid porites, in warm and protected waters)
  • siderastrea, millepora and madrepore (in deeper waters)

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