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Fauna fighting for its place under the sun

11. December 2019. by slrastoke

The Singing Canopy Secrets
Typical for the ‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’ area are the threatened species of the bird genus Motacilla and white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus). They can be found along the waterfalls on the travertine barriers, nesting in old mills, ruins of the Old Town and on the rocks along Slunjčica. A part of the ZK Slunjčica (‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’) is covered by forest, while on the Slunjčica riverbanks, there is a lush layer of bushes. The bird species inhabiting the bush layer are blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), blackbird (Turdus merula), song thrush (Turdus philomelos), chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) and chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). The forest edges are inhabited by serin (Serinus serinus), greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto), while on the tillable land, there are the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), ortolan (Emberiza hortulana) and common linnet (Carduelis cannabina). Of the endangered species, the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was noted.


The white-throated dipper is a species inhabiting the edges of clear blue streams and lakes under the waterfalls. It feeds on water bugs and small larvae, which it picks diving. It builds a spherical nest above the water, often under a bridge or a mill. The species is endangered because of the changes in its natural habitat and flow regulation.

We are sometimes superstitious and believe that each of the photos of the dipper that you show/send us will bring much happiness to this bird in its fight to survive as an individual and as a species.


Fauna Fighting for its Place under the Sun
The rich world of the fauna on the ‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’ territory is endangered primarily due to the loss of animal species living in the habitat. In the wider Slunjčica area, 10 types of habitats have been mapped and categorised into several main groups, from surface land and swamp waters, through grasslands and woods, all the way to the active village and urbanised areas. Each of them requires a special regime, with a smaller or greater protection, in order for the threatened species to be saved and kept. Out of the endangered mammal species, there are the bat, otter (Lutra lutra) and squirrel (Scirus vulgaris). The most endangered freshwater fish species in Slunjčica are the brown trout (Salmo trutta), common grayling (Thymallus thymallus), asp (Aspius aspius) and vimba bream (Vimba vimba). Inhabiting the Slunjčica waters, also threatened are the dice snake (Natrix tesellata) and the tree frog (Hyla arborea).


The dice snake (Natrix Testellata) is a reptile living in the Slunjčica waters just ‘like a fish in the water’. It dives up to two hours stalking its prey, with small fish and amphibians being its favourite menu items. It is extraordinarily patient and willing to wait for hours for its prey on the riverbed that it had ambushed. It is characterised also by a certain slyness that it developed as a defence mechanism. If a man takes it into its hands, it can act as if it were dead and, defending itself, it secretes very unpleasant odours. It most often defends itself from the birds that are its greatest danger in the animal world of Slunjčica. It grows to be up to 80 centimetres long, sometimes even over a meter, while female specimens are bigger than the male. They cause fear because they look like the copperhead with which they share a sharpened head and dark spots on their back. The river snake is usually grey or brown, while in fewer cases it can be yellow or greenish.


In the protected area of the ‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’, seven daytime butterfly species were recorded, among which are three low-risk species, while the other four species are categorised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as insufficiently known butterflies with regard to the endangerment categories. The connection of certain butterflies with its foster plants is characterised by deep devotion, so that the butterflies make nests for their eggs based precisely on certain foster plants and the surrounding vegetation, while some of them are connected by the common name such as the chequered blue butterfly that lays its eggs on the leaves of sedum species. This is a harmonious connection between the flora and fauna that you can witness in the central office of the ‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’. On the territory of the ‘Slunjčica Significant Landscape’ there are the clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), the Fenton’s wood white (Leptidea morsei major) and southern festoon (Zerynthia polyxena).


The marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurina) flies from May to August. It winters in the larvae stage. The wingspan of the marsh fritillary is from 35 to 40 mm. Because of the constant degradation and reduction of wet marshland surfaces, the number of individuals in the population of this butterfly is shrinking and it is therefore a species strictly protected by law.