A recent species
Like a butterfly
Life at high altitude
A flock of Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus) is gliding through the spring breezes like small black kites, while the sharp and distant whistle of marmots echoes through the valleys, bouncing off the steep walls of Pizzo Recastello and Pizzo dei Tre Confini. We are in the upper Val Seriana, in the Regional Park of the Orobie Alps, where the recently melted snow has made way for blooming rhododendrons, rocks, and rough high-altitude grasses. Pizzo Recastello, standing at 2,886 meters above the azure morning sky, is home to several animal species: the majestic Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the elusive Alpine Ibex (Rupicapra rupicapra), the daring Alpine Chamois (Capra ibex), and the camouflaged Adders (Vipera berus) basking in the sun on the lichen-covered rocks on this warm spring morning.
However, among these mountains, there also lives one of the most characteristic and unique representatives of European birdlife, a passerine that seems to be a cross between a hummingbird and a colorful butterfly: the Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria).
As one observes one of these birds, it becomes immediately apparent that they belong to a truly distinctive species.
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All images © Simone Zoccante 2018-2023. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Simone Zoccante.