Fauna of the Český Krumlov region

The variety of the natural conditions does not allow us to describe the fauna of Český Krumlov region as if it were "average". It would be better if we separately describe the three most typical areas - Šumava, Blanský Forest and Novohrad mountains.

Fauna of Šumava is the fauna of the largest forest complex in the Czech Republic and is characterised mostly by tree species. The current condition of Šumava's fauna isn't based on any peculiarity of this area but is a result of the simple fact that here, more than anywhere else, the original European fauna of the middle-high mountain areas has been preserved.

The formation of the forest and shaping of the natural forest zone conditions in Šumava started in post Ice Age times - approx. 8,000 years ago. The evolution of forest vegetation has conditioned also the evolution of the animal species related with the forest. Together with these, there were other species, which emigrated here after the glaciers moved north. On some suitable types of areas (peat bog, detritus, etc.) they have found appropriate existence conditions, close to the conditions of dense forest or wood-tundra. They are called glacial relicts. Among them, for instance is the dragonfly Aeschna subarctica, noctuid moth Anarta cordigera, moorland clouded yellow (Colias palaeno), ground beetles of the genera Nebria and Trechus and also better known black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina) and others.

The radical transitions of the original vegetative cover and consequent radical transitions of the animal species' complex are result of the colonisation of Šumava. More and more elements have appeared in the area (field, meadows, roads, human settlements, ponds) and this enabled the existence of new species unknown in Šumava until that time (large white, small tortoiseshell, home sparrow, grey partridge, field vole, large bat, etc.). Some of species were intentionally brought by humans (trout, European mouflon), others, on the contrary, were slowly exterminated (the last bear was shot in the year 1856, last wolf in 1874, lynx in 1890, last wildcat in the beginning of 20 century). The permanent reduction of population density can be observed at many other species as well - i.e. pearlshell, all three species of crayfishes, most of the butterflies and beetles (longhorn beetles, ground beetles of the genus Carabus), grouses etc. etc. Recently there were some attempts to reintegrate the wildcat (1972 - without success) and lynx (1982 - successfully). Elk (Alces alces), which has liked mostly the Svatý Tomáš foothills (Svatotomášském pohoří), is a relatively new animal in Šumava. There are of course many other typical forest species, which feel at home in Šumava (stags and deers, wild boar, fox, pine marten, badger, owls, etc.).

Let us mention some of the noteworthy species of different groups. In the climax fir-groves in open areas live butterfly large ringlet (Erebia euryale), boreoalpine noctuid moth Anomogyna speciosa. Typical are longhorn beetles Monochamus sutor and Monochamus sartor, ground beetles of the genus Trechus and others. The fauna of vertebrates is poorer compared that in the mixed forests. Interesting are mainly some birds: three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum), songbirds: nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus), common crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), goldcrest and Firecrest (Regulus regulus, R. ignicapillus) etc. From the mammals here live commonly spread species like for instance yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) or pine marten (Martes martes). In peat bogs and soggy fir-groves we can see dragonflies of the genera Aeschna and Leucorrhina, caddis fly Hagenella clathrata. Interesting is Notonecta reuteri ranking among true bugs. The most typical butterflies are may be the moorland clouded yellow (Colias palaeno), cranberry fritillary (Boloria aquilonaris), cranberry blue (Vacciniina optilete) and noctuid moths Anarta cordigera and Eugraphe subrosea. The crambine moth Pediasia truncatella is interesting in that its closest population lives in the forest tundra of Northern Europe, Siberia and Canada. Between the beetles the most well-known is the large ground beetle Carabus menetriesi. From the spiders there should be mentioned boreoalpine wolf spiders of the genera Pardosa and Gnaphosa, which don't spin a web but hunt directly on the peat surfaces. Beautiful are the hover flies of the genus Sericomyia. From the vertebrates the most popular is may be the snake Vipera berus, which in this area is usually very dark-coloured. Its nourishment is usually the large lizard Lacerta vivipara. Between the birds the most remarkable is black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix). Here often can be seen redpoll (Carduelis flammea) and meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis). During the period when cranberry, bog bilberry, and bog pinecones ripen we encounter many other species on peat bogs from the surrounding bio-types. The highland northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina) can be pointed out as the typical mammal of peat bogs. Other species are to be encountered here only occasionally. Detritus and rock surfaces are also hosts for interesting fauna. Several invertebrate species are characteristic by their boreoalpine geographical distribution - i.e. ground beetles Nebria castanea or Trechus alpinus, noctuid moth Paradiarsia sobrina, geometrid moths Gnophos sordaria, Hydriomena ruberata, etc. The typical bird of the rocks is the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), which seems is moving back to its original areas after the destruction of the last known nest at Stožec. Our largest owl, the eagle owl (Bubo bubo), is to be seen quite often. The rocky terrain is suitable also for some mammals, i.e. for garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus). Quite a lot of foxes and badgers also live here. Highland meadows are home for many species of insects, mostly butterflies. During the day we can meet ringlets of the genera Erebia and Coenonympha, fritillaries of the genus Brenthis, coppers of the genera Lycaena and Heodes and other and in the night - for instance noctuid moths Chersotis cuprea or Dasypolia templi. From the vertebrates are interesting mostly some birds, i.e. snipe (Gallinago gallinago), which nests on the bustling Šumava meadows and corn crake (Crex crex). Its interchangeable voice is easy to be heard but the bird itself is dificult to recognize. On the non-mowed meadows often there is whinchat (Saxicola rubetra). From the mammals it is an occasional home for southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus) and more often for field vole (Microtus agrestis) or harvest mouse (Micromys minutus). All forest ungulates of course go to graze in the meadows. Šumava's waters are still relatively clean. In the past the large salmon was relatively common but over-fishing and mainly the building of dams have prevented it from moving to its original waters in many flows of Šumava. Last salmons were seen here in the thirties of this century. Indicator of waters' quality is a snipe fly Atherix ibis - one fly with an interesting evolution (the dead bodies of females serve as a nourishment right for the new-born larva). From the water insects there are still large populations of montane mayflies, stone flies and caddis flies. From the crustaceans are the very endangered crayfish Astacus torrentium, pearlshell (Margaritana margaritifera) and lamprey (Lampetra planeri). From the fish are the reducing population of brown trout (Salmo trutta m.fario) and grayling (Thymallus thymallus). To some streams the black stork (Ciconia nigra) comes to fish from the old mixed forests; under the water runs dipper (Cinclus cinclus); in the area sometimes nests common rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus) and also grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is often seen. From the mammals in the 18th century the beaver living along the water streams were exterminated and for unknown reasons the European mink has disappeared. On the contrary, European otter (Lutra lutra) has kept its strong populations on suitable places.

Black adder - black form, foto: Ladislav Pouzar    Pearl shell, foto: Václav Dolanský

Fauna of the Blanský forest (Blanský les) was originally a fauna of the middle-European deciduous beech (mainly) and oak (in some parts of Křemže basin) forests. During the last 200 years part of the area was deforested and the species' complex in some of the remaining woods was substantially changed (to cultivated forests with predomination of spruce). The fauna adapted to these transformations of the environment. The original fauna of mixed forests was particularly suppressed and fauna connected with the cultivated deforested environment and the environment of the coniferous forests penetrated on its place. This way has appeared an interesting and varied mosaic of still dominating forest fauna (60% of the area is forested), in which exist relatively large deals of fauna connected with the different non-forest environment (woody steppes on limestone, wetlands, water streams and areas, cultivated fields, meadow areas, sparse greenery, etc.). Furthermore some borealpine species have spread from the highland complex of Šumava (pygmy owl, Tengmalm's owl, three-toed woodpecker, nutcracker, hazel grouse, etc.) and as a result 115 species of nesting birds, about 50 species of mammals, 6 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibians, about 15 species of cyclostomates and fishes and uncountable quantity of invertebrates (especially rich is the fauna of molluscs and insects) have been discovered in the territory of Blanský forest.

The mixed and highland forests belong to one of the most precious territories of Blanský forest. The fauna complex corresponds to the fact that these spaces are similar to their original proportions. From one hand the fauna complex is formed by commonly spread species: bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), yellow-necked mouse and wood mouse (Apodemus flavicollis, A. sylvaticus), Eurasian common shrew and Eurasian pygmy shrew (Sorex araneus, S. minutus); from the large mammals - pine marten and beech marten (Martes martes, M. foina), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild boar (Sus scrofa), red deer (Cervus elaphus), western roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), in 1978 the introduced European mouflon (Ovis musimon), spreading from Šumava the reintroduced Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx); from birds - chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), nuthatch (Sitta europaea), great tit and marsh tit (Parus major, P. palustris), robin (Erithacus rubecula), wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), blackbird (Turdus merula) etc. Other species forming the fauna complex - as far as the beech forest (if possible the older type) is not a dificult environment for their existence - are: stock dove (Columba oenas), pied flycatcher and red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca, F. parva) etc. The Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus) is relatively widespread in the Blanský forest. The appearance of Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus) in the detritus of Ptačí stěna is also interesting. The connection with beech areas is even more obvious in the entomofauna (i.e. stag beetles (Lucanidae)); rarity is ground beetle Carabus irregularis. Molluscs are also very abundant there - from the many noteworthy species we can mention at least east-alpine thermophilous species Aegipis verticillus.

In the territory of CHKO Blanský Forest the cultivated forests with predominance of spruce are most widespread. Their fauna consists of many species mentioned in the previous categories but there can be found other species more deeply connected to some different kind of areas and to coniferous forests, i.e.: from birds coal tit and crested tit (Parus ater, P. cristatus), goldcrest (Regulus regulus), bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), dunnock (Prunella modularis), treecreeper (Certhia familiaris), etc.; from the inhabitants of the spruce areas are especially siskin (Carduelis spinus), common crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia). All large mammals which can be found here have been mentioned in the above categories and from the little we can stress on field vole (Microtus agrestis).

Woody steppe formations on limestone are unique areas at the southern foothills of Kleť, mostly protected in NPR Vyšenské hills. The fauna of invertebrates is unique because, excepting the common species here, steppe and woody steppe species (originally from the Danube area) and highland and headland species (influenced by the neighbouring Alps) are to be found as well. From the most important steppe species can be mentioned for instance land snails Chondrula tridens and Helicella obvia and from the butterflies clouded yellow Colias australis. Interesting is the existence of both our swallowtails - common swallowtail and scarce swallowtail (Papilio machaon, I. podalirius). From the mountain species noteworthy are moths Chersotis cuprea, Amathes collina and many others. The area's richness is demonstrated, for instance, by the fact that there are more than 70 species of true bugs (Heteroptera).

Fennel moth, foto: Václav Dolanský

Wetland, flooded and water biotops are the most rare in CHKO Blanský forest. Here, for instance, there are no peat bogs. The most important is the existence of the Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus) along the little streams in the massive Kleť and Bulový and southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus) in wet meadows. There also exists field vole (Microtus agrostis), Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens), harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) and in the higher parts of the Hejdl valley (Hejdlovské údolí) the European pine mole (Pitimys subterraneus). The European otter (Lutra lutra) lives on irregular places along the water flows. In the Brložský stream (Brložský potok) live remainders of the population of the pearlshell (Margaritana margaritifera). The natural water flows with their bank growth are a perfect shelter for many species of birds - there were discovered more than 50 nesting species. This spectrum is enriched by those living at ponds or close to them (mainly in the Křemžské basin), like for instance little grebe and black-necked grebe (Podiceps ruficollis, P. nigricollis), mute swan (Cygnus olor), reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), common ducks, etc. On the little ponds depend range amphibians - newt Triturus alpestris, common newt (T. vulgaris), crested newt (T. cristatus), common toad (Bufo bufo), frogs (Rana temporaria, R. esculenta).

Fauna of the Novohrad mountains is fauna of a mountainous zone (the Novohrad mountains itself) and deciduous forests (foothill) zones. The steppe zone is not represented although the main migration streams of species from Panonia to south Bohemia lead very close to it. (Sometimes and for short periods of time can be found for instance the praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) in the close Majdalena.) The most interesting are here species with their centre of distribution in the eastern Alps but not existing in Šumava, and others, which confirm the cold microclimate of the area (i.e. ground beetle Pterostichus illigeri lives in the Alps only above 1500m). Very interesting is also the fauna of peat bogs (mainly some butterflies) even though their territory is less substantial than in the Šumavas.

From the invertebrates are interesting the land snails Clausilia cruciata and C. parvuti. Rare and faunistically noteworthy here are millipedes Polyxenus lagurus, Julus nemorensis and others, mayflies Eudyonurus austriacus and preglacial Boetis alpinus. Between the beetles there is supposed an existence of 160 species of ground beetles, the most attractive species of longhorn beetles - Tragosoma depsarium, Pachyta lamed, Judolia sexmaculata, Nothorina punctata, Acimerus schäfferi, Rhopalopus spinicornis, Monochamus saltuarius and M. sutor and many others. The best-studied group of the Novohrad peat bogs (novohradský rašeliništi) are the moths, some species of which don't occur anywhere else in the CZ (i.e. Lithophane semibrunnea, Leucania andereggi). The snipe fly Atheris ibis is slowly disappearing, which is depending on clear flows - the last time it was noticed was at the little river of Černé u Benešova.

From the vertebrates the birds are probably most interesting. The Novohrad mountains have been attracting the interest of ornithologists for a long time. They have stressed many times that it is an unordinary well-preserved territory and unique in many aspects. In the hollows nests the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and grey-headed woodpecker and green woodpecker (Picus canus, P. viridis), further Tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus), pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum) and especially red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), which has one permanent nesting population here in the Czech Republic. The capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) has already disappeared, hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) is still increasing its populations and wood woodcock (Scolopax rusticola). Along the mountain streams still lives the dipper (Cinclus cinclus), kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra), whose first known place of nesting in southern Bohemia was Žofín primeval forest (Žofínský prales). In the soggy highland meadows the quail (Coturnix coturnix) and the corn crake (Crex crex) with its varying call can still be seen. Common predators are for instance the buzzard (Buteo buteo), honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), hobby (Falco subbuteo) etc. Often some rare specie reaches the area from the south, from the close Alps or Danube area - i.e. short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), roller (Coracias garrulus) or Tichodroma muraria. In the Novohrad mountains often nest other species which nest elsewhere sporadically i.e. redwing (Turdus iliacus). Also living here is a wide range of other common species (songbirds, water birds).

From the mammals the existence of Alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus), is noteworthy as are 11 species of bats and mainly the northern birch mouse (Sicista betulina). The European otter (Lutra lutra) is very well represented; common are deer, stag and black game. A total of 50 species of mammals live in the area.


Further information :
Description of Natural Conditions in the Český Krumlov Region
Gamekeeping in the Český Krumlov Region


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