Fernando de Noronha

The fauna of Fernando de Noronha

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Noronha: informações em Português.




There are countless natural swimming pools in Fernando de Noronha, so a direct contact with the varied and exotic sea fauna of the archipelago is possible.
The water around the islands is crowded with fishes, sponges, seaweeds, shellfishes and corals, among which the most abundant in the archipelago, the Montastrea cavernosa.

»Flat water
In the flat water there are coloured fishes, like the "donzela de rocas", the "sargentinho", the "coroca", and also the morays.

»Deep water
In the deep water it is possible to find the following fishes: "frade", "budião", "ariquita", "piraúna" and "borboleta". The dogfishes, the peaceful "lambaru" and the rays can be seen resting on the ground.

»Rotifer dolphins
The dolphins of the species Stenella longirostris are known as rotifer dolphins due to the jumps with the rotating body they use to perform outside the water. These animals can reach a length of up to 2 m and a weight of up to 90 kg. They have a dark grey back with median light grey strips and a white abdomen. The pregnancy period is about 10 and a half months and the younglet is born with a length of 80 cm.

Dolphins of Noronha

The rotifer dolphins are distributed all over the tropical and subtropical zones of all oceans. They are aggregative and have a sufficiently complex social behavior. They normally move in groups of two up to many hundreds of all ages and of both genders.

In Fernando de Noronha, the Dolphin Bay belvedere (in Portuguese: Mirante dos Golfinhos) is the place where these animals can be observed in their natural environment.
One of the most beautiful performances in the island can be seen every day at the sunrise, when rotifer dolphin groups move to inside the bay, where the sea is calm and protected. They use this area for resting, reproducing and suckling and in the afternoon they move to the high sea for eating small fishes and squids.
This is the only place in the whole Atlantic Ocean where there are concentrations of rotifer dolphins.

The prohibition of boat traffic and diving in the creek was established in 1986 as a protection measure, aiming the preservation of these animals. It shall be remembered that a Federal Law prohibits to hunt, to capture and to annoy any species of cetaceans (dolphins, boutos and whales) in Brazilian water.

»Sea turtles
Two important beaches for "aruanã" turtle (Chelonia mydas) spawning are protected by the National Marine Reserve of Fernando de Noronha: the Leão Beach and the Sancho Beach.

Two beaches of Noronha are
spawning points
for the sea turtles

From November on the turtles can be observed in groups on the water surface, when the adult males dispute the females, so beginning the reproduction period of this species in the archipelago.
During the rain season (December up to May) the females come to these beaches during the night to lay the eggs, which incubate during 50 days.

By diving in the Reserve it is possible to observe young and adult hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), a highly menaced species, as their shell is very appreciated for making glasses, combs and bijouteries. The hawksbill turtles use the archipelago only as a growing and feeding place. Their origin and their migratory routes are unknown by the researchers.

The National Center for Conservation and Sea Turtle Management (TAMAR; the name is abreviation of Tartarugas Marinhas, which mean Sea Turtles in Portuguese) watches over the females, eggs and reproduction environments and also evaluates the turtle population in the archipelago since 1984. These animals are protected by law, which establishes the prohibition of capture, fishing and annoying all chelonian species in brazilian water.


In the archipelago there are natural and brought in animals:

»Natural Animals
Three endemic species exist in Fernando de Noronha: the "sebito" bird (Vireo gracilirostris), the gecko (Mabuya maculata) and the blind worm (Amphisbaena ridleyana). The crab (Gecarcinus lagostoma) spends his youth and adult period in land and spawns in the sea.

»Brought in animals
Some species of sylvan animals were brought to the archipelago by man. There are the "teju" (Tupinambis teguxim), the "mocó" (Kerodon rupestris) and the sheeps, which are raised today in restricted areas in order not to damage the archipelago flora.


Fourty fowl species are registered in the archipelago, which shelter the biggest reproduction colonies of seafowl among the Tropical South Atlantic islands.

Noronha shelters the largest
reproductive colony of sea birds
in the South Atlantic
Tropical Ocean Islands

»Native fowl
Among the protected fowl by the National Reserve the most common is the "viuvinha" (Anous minutos). Other great concentration fowl in the archipelago are the great "viuvinha" (Anous stolidus), the "trinta réis de manto negro" (Sterna fuscata) and the white "viuvinha" (Gygis alba).

It's also possible to find six species of pelican relative fowl in all islands: the big white "mumbebo" (Sula dactylatra), the brown "mumbebo" (Sula leucogaster), the red paw "mumbebo" (Sula sula), the "catraia" (Fregata magnificens) and two charming species: the "rabo de junco" with yellow beak (Phaeton lepturos) and the one with red beak (Phaeton aethereus).
In the woods there are the "sebito" (Vireo gracilirostris), an insectivorous and frugivorous bird, which became already endemic, the "cucuruta" (Elaenia spectabilis reidleyana) and the "arribaçã" (Zenaida auriculata noronha).

»Migratory fowl
There is a fowl group that visit the Reserve: it's the long distance migratory fowl, generally proceeding from the north hemisphere. This fowl arrives for resting and feeding purposes. They are twelve species of "maçaricos" and "batuíras", from which the most common is the "vira pedra" (Arenaria interpress).

Other information:
- The only existing "pardela-pequena" (Puffinus assimilis) reproduction record is from the archipelago.
- The "rabo de junco" with red beak (Phaethon aethereus) is 1 meter long and 40 cm is the length of its tail.
- The "rabo de junco with orange beak (Phaethon lepturus) and the "atobá" (Sula dactylatra) were used as food for the prisoners between 1870 and 1942.
- In June 1987, 10.630 "viuvinha negra" (Anous tenuirostres) nests were computed.
- The "cucuruta" (Vireo glacilirostris) and the "sebito" (Elaenia spectabilis ridleyana) are endemic species.
Source: Schulz Neto, Albano. Observando Aves no Parque Nacional Marinho de Fernando de Noronha: guia de campo. Brasília : IBAMA, 1995.

In Portuguese: Leia mais sobre as principais cidades nas proximidades de Noronha:
Recife   |   Natal   |   João Pessoa   |   Fortaleza   |  

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