With the exception of the bat, there are no native species of mammals on Cape Verde! This is because there was initially no animal life on the volcanic islands; it was only possible for species that came by water or air to Cape Verde to develop. In the following period, many mammals such as the green vervet monkey, small mice, or even wild rabbits “immigrated.” There are no snakes on the islands, but it has many different species of reptiles such as geckos, frogs and colourful lizards.

Cape Verde Fauna
Fauna of Cape Verde


Click here for pictures of birds on the Cape Verde Islands

There are numerous migratory birds that make regular stops on the islands on their journey to the south.

Migratory birds:

Sandpiper, black-winged stilt, heron, spoonbill, plover, ruddy turnstone, African broad-billed roller, hoopoe, sanderling, whimbrel, little egret, cattle egret, northern wheatear, blue-headed wagtail, spotted flycatcher, various types of swallows and European bee-eater.

About 50 different species of breeding birds are at home on Cape Verde throughout the year (such as the lark, the cream-coloured courser and the brown-necked raven that live in the dry areas and the grey-headed kingfisher/passarinha that is similar to the halcyon, the common waxbill and the blackcap with its bright red bill, all of which live in the wetlands). Birds unique to Cape Verde (endemic species) are the Raza Island lark, the Cape Verde lark that is pictured on the 1000 ECV bill, the Alexander’s swift and the Cape Verde warbler.

The birds of prey include the peregrine falcon, Eurasian buzzard, Egyptian vulture, kesetrel and osprey and the Cape Verde kite, which is threatened by extinction and can still be found individually on Boa Vista and Maio.


Species of shearwater and petrel, magnificent frigate bird, red-billed tropic bird and brown booby.

Fish and Aquatic Animals

The vast number of marine animals around Cape Verde is stunning. The special feature here is the cool Canaries current as it meets the warm water of the Gulf of Guinea in the summer. The result is that you can equally find cold-water and warm-water fish. Some fish species only appear seasonally while others are always present. Examples of commercial fish are tuna, mackerel, moraine, lobster, spiny lobsters and many different species of crab and muscles. In addition, there are about 150 species of small animals on the Cape Verde Islands such as starfish, sea cucumbers, black corals, fire corals, sea urchins and sea turtles, which you can admire mainly on Maio and Boa Vista.

The species of tropical fish are especially interesting for divers:

Parrotfish, silver shimmering sardines, hake, squirrelfish, scorpion fish, false-eyed puffer, butterfly, red trumpet fish, grey mullet, pinkgill, flying fish, East Atlantic surgeonfish, barracuda, angelfish, wrasse, snapper, ballan wrasse, coralfish, hogfish, West African marine angelfish, red soldierfish, striped bream, gilthead seabream and even five different species of bass.

Deep-sea fish, which very frequently appear off the steep coast of Fogo, include:

Barracudas, stingrays, dolphins (which can mainly be seen between Santo Antão and São Vicente), grey shark, hammerhead shark, tiger shark, runners, blue marlins, killer whales, humpback whales grey whales and sperm whales.