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Croatia

Croatia: political system

Croatia is a "parliamentary democracy".

Croatia: political system

According to Digopaul.com, the official name of the country is:

Republika Hrvatska

Republic of Croatia

Independent exists since 1991. Croatia is a republic. The constitution dates from 1990, last amended in 2001. The country has a unicameral parliament (Sabor) with 152 seats and the county house, the representatives of the provinces, with 68 seats. The elections take place every four years. The head of state is directly elected every five years. The right to vote exists from the age of 18.

After the end of the international isolation policy under President Franjo Tudjman, who died in 1999, a policy of approximation towards the EU and NATO began under the new President Stjepan 'Stipe' Mesic, who was elected in January 2000. This brought the young state back an international reputation and the urgently needed economic upswing. As a result of this policy, Croatia became a member of NATO on April 1, 2009 and became the 28th member of the EU on July 1, 2013.

National anthem

The national anthem of Croatia is "Our beautiful homeland". It was written by the poet Antun Mihanovic (1796-1861) and set to music by Josip Runjanin (1821-1878). It has been the country's official anthem since 1990. Already at the time of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy, the song "Our beautiful homeland" was considered a kind of unofficial Croatian national anthem. And in 1891 it was officially referred to as the Croatian Anthem for the first time. In the following years it became an unofficial national anthem alongside the imperial anthem. In 1972 it became the anthem of the "Socialist Republic of Croatia".

In Croatian In the English translation
Lijepa nasa domovino

1. Lijepa nasa domovino

Oj junacka zemljo mila

Stare slave djedovino

Da bi vazda sretna bila!

2. Mila kano si nam slavna

Mila si nam ti jedina

Mila kuda si nam ravna

Mila kuda si planina!

3. Teci Savo, Dravo teci

Niti Dunav silu gubi

Sinje more svijetu reci

Da svoj narod Hrvat ljubi!

4. Dok mu njive sunce grije

Dok mu hrasce bura vije

Dok mu mrtve grobak skrije

Dok mu zivo srce bije!

Beautiful, our home

1. Beautiful, our homeland,

heroic dear homeland,

old glory paternal legacy,

may you be happy forever!

2. You love, how glorious

you are to us,

You are the only one we love, You are love to us wherever you are, You are

love to us wherever you are in the mountains.

3. Flow the Save and you, Drau, flow,

you Danube too, do not lose your strength.

Blue sea, tell the world:

that the Croatian loves his people,

4. As long as the sun warms its fields,

As long as the bura rustles in its oaks,

As long as the gravedigger covers his dead,

As long as a living heart beats in him.

National flag

Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the national flag (national flag) of Croatia was officially introduced on December 22, 1990.

- the central red and white checkerboard pattern is the old coat of arms of Croatia

- the blue coat of arms with the three golden leopards is that of Dalmatia

- the blue one with a gold star and the red field with a black marten, bordered by two silver waves the coat of arms of Slavonia.

Croatia flag and coat of arms

Croatia: animals

Mammals

Wild animals include bears, wolves and lynxes, which are rarely seen, as well as wild boars, badgers, foxes, deer and chamois. The latter were already considered extinct in Croatia until some animals immigrated from Slovenia.

Lynx used to be widespread in Europe, Asia and North America. But they were viewed as competitors by the hunters and hunted down mercilessly. Today they are in Switzerland, Yugoslavia, the Iberian Peninsula and Austria, for example. Some have been successfully resettled. Typical for the lynx are the brush ears and whiskers, which serve for intra-species communication. With a height of 80 - 110 cm, the European lynx is the largest wild cat found in Europe.

In the Biokovo Mountains, in the Kelebit and on the Peljesac peninsula, mouflons live, which are rather shy animals and are also known as European wild sheep. They reach a size of 65 to 90 cm and live on average 8 to 10 years. Typical are the gray to yellowish colored saddle spots on the brown fur and the horns of the males, which grow throughout life and can reach a length of 0.45 m. The horns of the females are much shorter or nonexistent. The mouflons have a well-developed sense of hearing and smell, but the sense of sight is best developed. Their diet includes grasses, herbs and woody plants, but also mushrooms and fruits.

Axis deer can only be found along the Adriatic coast, on Cres and the Brioni Islands in Croatia. Otherwise they are in Indigenous to India, southern Nepal and Sri Lanka. The approximately 80 cm tall animals have a spotted red-brown fur and a white belly and legs. They prefer open terrain and avoid dense forests. In addition to Croatia, they were also introduced to the southern United States, Hawaii, South America, and the Andaman Islands.

Reptiles

Lizards are quite common in Croatia, some species are even endemic (only found in Croatia), such as the karst lizard and the magnificent keel lizard.

The latter is only 7 cm long and is easily recognizable by the back scales that form a keel. When the males become sexually mature, the head turns blue below and on the sides and the underside of the body turns orange-reddish.

Green Lizard

The Green Lizard is one of the most common species. With a body length of around 50 cm, it is one of the four largest lizards in the world, even if two-thirds of them are on the tail. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, worms and snails.

The green lizard inhabits mostly dry terrain with a lot of sunlight, meadows with bushes, scree slopes, light hedges and rocky slopes.

A special feature that it has in common with some other lizard species is that it can actively detach its tail from its body in a dangerous situation. This wriggles for around 20 minutes and thus distracts the robber from the fleeing lizard. After a while the tail grows back, but then it can no longer be separated.

The lizard, cat, Äskulapnatter, Convict - Ringel -, arrow, slimming, anger - and Leopard Snake you can meet frequently in the Karst and in the oak forests. All of these snakes are non-poisonous.

The poisonous horned viper and the adders are not uncommon in the country. The meadow viper, the lizard snake and the European cat snake are also found in Croatia.

insects

Fortunately, mosquitos are only found in isolated swamp areas, while singing cicadas such as the blood-red cicada are often heard and seen less in pine forests and vineyards.

You can also find bees, wasps and hornets here. Ants, butterflies and dragonflies can also be seen here.

Underwater world

Dolphins live in the Kvarner. However, it is almost exclusively the bottlenose dolphin, the species made famous by the movie "Flipper". It occurs in all oceans and is often found in tropical latitudes. These dolphins reach heights of 1.90 to 4 m and are all gray except for the lighter belly. Its short snout is also typical. Its main diet includes small fish, as well as octopus and crabs.

There are six species of shark on the Adriatic, but only one of them, the human shark, can be dangerous to humans.

But it rarely comes near the coast.

Other sea creatures include mussels, snails, squids, octopuses, lobsters, lobsters, crabs and shrimps.

Sea urchins cling to rocks underwater, so caution is advised here.

Sea fish include dentex and sea bream, sea bass, scorpionfish, mackerel, sardines and sticklebacks.

Other species of fish common in Croatia are trout, eel, carp and pike. In Krka, Vrljika and Neretva, for example, there are three endemic species of soft-mouthed trout that only occur here.

Croatia: birds

Corvids

It is hard to believe, because they are not exactly known for their singing skills, but ravens, crows and jays are also songbirds.

Magpie (pica pica)

The 46 cm large magpie stands out due to the sharply defined black and white drawing of its plumage and the long tail. In addition, the tops of the wings shimmer in various shades of blue. The sociable animals can often be found in small groups and often move on foot on the ground. They prefer open terrain with hedges and scattered trees and, as typical cultural followers, have conquered cultivated farmland and urban areas with parks and gardens; nevertheless they are extremely shy. They feed on all kinds of small animals such as insects, larvae, snails, worms and mice, but they also do not disdain carrion and berries. During the breeding season, they pillage other birds' nests and steal eggs and young chicks. In populated areas where pine marten and birds of prey are absent as their natural enemies, this can occasionally pose a problem for the population of small songbirds. Clutches of up to 8 eggs are incubated in their clay-reinforced nest made of twigs, which is created in tall trees. Only rarely, however, can all young birds be raised.

Hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix)

The hooded crow is the carrion crow (Corvus corone) found in Croatia. It is closely related to the carrion crow (Corvus corone corone), which occurs in Germany as well as the hooded crow. In their behavior and their way of life, both are so similar that they mix in the overlapping area. The border runs roughly along the Elbe and is formed in the south by the Alps.

The 47 cm tall bird has a light gray colored body with deep black wings and head. The strong beak and legs are also black. Hooded crows inhabit open areas, cultural landscapes, parks and gardens.

As omnivores, they feed on animal and vegetable foods such as insects, larvae, white grubs, worms, grain, berries, but also on carrion and municipal waste. In autumn and spring you can often see them sitting on freshly tilled or plowed fields. During the breeding season, they often plunder other birds' nests in order to capture their eggs or chicks. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their own offspring in nests (clumps) in tall trees made of coarse twigs and all kinds of cushioning material. Outside the breeding season from March to May one can observe large flocks of birds that gather in the evening on very specific sleeping trees to spend the night together in the safety of a large group. As the number of their natural enemies such as the hawk, peregrine falcon and eagle owl has decreased significantly, large crow populations could develop in many places. These clever animals are not very shy of humans and can be approached slowly within a few meters, at least in cities.

Common raven (Corvus corax)

At 64 cm, the common raven is the largest songbird in Europe. The completely black colored bird has a steel blue shimmering plumage and a powerful beak. He rarely inhabits more densely populated areas, at most large parks with old trees. It is more likely to be found in open cultural landscapes, forest areas and in the mountains. Often one can hear the strong, deep calls of the ravens from afar without seeing the animals. In the past, the common raven was ruthlessly persecuted. After the introduction of protective measures, the populations have recovered somewhat in many places in Europe. Common ravens are omnivores, but they mainly feed on animal food. Nothing is safe from them that, because of their size, can overwhelm them. Worms, beetles, Snails and frogs are on their menu as well as brood of other birds, mice, lizards, snakes and moles. Whole groups of animals gather on the carcasses of dead roe deer or stags in order to tear out large chunks of meat with their powerful beak. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their offspring in clumps made of coarse twigs and all kinds of cushioning material in tall trees or on inaccessible rock faces. The clumps are used again every year by the same couple and are constantly being expanded. The proverbial “raven father” tirelessly provides the mother and the offspring with food as long as they cannot leave the nest. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. Whole groups of animals gather on the carcasses of dead roe deer or stags in order to tear out large chunks of meat with their powerful beak. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their offspring in clumps made of coarse twigs and all sorts of cushioning material in tall trees or on inaccessible rock faces. The clumps are used again every year by the same couple and are constantly being expanded. The proverbial “raven father” tirelessly provides the mother and the offspring with food as long as they cannot leave the nest. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. Whole groups of animals gather on the carcasses of dead roe deer or stags in order to tear out large chunks of meat with their powerful beak. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their offspring in clumps made of coarse twigs and all kinds of cushioning material in tall trees or on inaccessible rock faces. The clumps are used again every year by the same couple and are constantly being expanded. The proverbial “raven father” tirelessly provides the mother and the offspring with food as long as they cannot leave the nest. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their offspring in clumps made of coarse twigs and all sorts of cushioning material in tall trees or on inaccessible rock faces. The clumps are used again every year by the same couple and are constantly being expanded. The proverbial “raven father” tirelessly provides the mother and the offspring with food as long as they cannot leave the nest. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. The birds that live in lifelong marriage raise their offspring in clumps made of coarse twigs and all sorts of cushioning material in tall trees or on inaccessible rock faces. The clumps are used again every year by the same couple and are constantly being expanded. The proverbial “raven father” tirelessly provides the mother and the offspring with food as long as they cannot leave the nest. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. tirelessly with food. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies. tirelessly with food. Due to its size, the common raven hardly has any natural enemies.

Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

The 34 cm tall jay can be found all over Europe. It has a reddish brown basic color with conspicuous plumage markings. The wings have bright blue and black bands on the bow and have a black and white pattern at the ends. The strong black beak turns into a black streak of beard. The throat and rump are brightly colored. The jay is well adapted to humans and you can find it not only in forest areas but also in parks and gardens wherever there is enough food. The “policeman of the forest” is particularly noticeable for his “rattling” calls, with which he indirectly warns other animals in the forest of larger predators and also of humans. That is why it is often a thorn in the side of hunters. Eurasian jays are large insect-eaters who do not shy away from larger prey. The food spectrum also includes mice, lizards and small snakes. During the breeding season, however, it plunders the nests of other birds to a not inconsiderable extent. In autumn it feeds on the fruits of the forest. For the winter, he stores acorns, beechnuts and nuts, which he hides in the ground. Since it cannot find many hiding places, it contributes to the spread of the various tree species. Due to the destruction of the habitat, its natural enemies such as martens, birds of prey and owls have greatly declined. Since it cannot find many hiding places, it contributes to the spread of the various tree species. Due to the destruction of the habitat, its natural enemies such as martens, birds of prey and owls have greatly declined. Since it cannot find many hiding places, it contributes to the spread of the various tree species. Due to the destruction of the habitat, its natural enemies such as martens, birds of prey and owls have greatly declined.

The poisonous horned viper and the adders are not uncommon in the country. The meadow viper, the lizard snake and the European cat snake are also found in Croatia.

Owl birds

General

An owl, whose family also includes owls and eagle owls, has hardly ever seen in the wild. This is due to the fact that they are almost exclusively nocturnal and hide in the dense tree population during the day. When hunting at night, most owls stay quietly on a branch or tree stump that serves as a hide and listen with their excellent hearing for the smallest noise on the ground.

Their equally well developed sense of sight enables them to find their way around even in the darkest night. Once they have spotted a prey, mostly small rodents, they slide down silently thanks to their special wing architecture and grab it with their sharp claws.

The prey is killed with a beak or bite and is then mostly devoured whole. The fur and bones are spit out again at regular intervals in the form of bulges.

On the basis of dune analyzes, the composition of the food of many species of owls is known relatively precisely and the amount of prey animals can be calculated based on the skulls it contains. It is estimated that a long-eared owl, for example, consumes up to 1,000 mice a year.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The 34 cm tall barn owl takes its name from its heart-shaped, brown-edged face veil. The back of the head, back and elytra are colored golden yellow to light brown and covered with darker dots and dots. The underside is colored whitish with small black dots. The trousers typical of owls are also white. The barn owl is a typical cultural follower that nests in human dwellings such as farms, church towers or castle ruins. However, it does not build a real nest, but usually incubates its eggs directly on the existing ground. It feeds almost exclusively on mice, which it hunted at night.

Little owl (Athene noctua)

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athene was always associated with an owl. This is how the little owl got its scientific name, which translates as "nocturnal Athena". The saying “carry owls to Athens” and the depiction of the little owl, formerly on the Greek drachma and now on the Greek 1 euro coin, point to the occurrence of this owl, which is native to all of Europe. The little owl, which is medium-sized at 22 cm, prefers open landscapes, including cultivated landscapes, and is extremely versatile in many ways.

As a nesting place, it prefers caves in old trees, but also, as its name suggests, refers to wall holes and buildings as well as abandoned rabbit burrows in the ground. Although it is mainly foraging at night, it can also be seen hunting during the day. In addition to mice, which he preyed on from his raised hide in the typical owl hunting manner, he also eats beetles and grasshoppers, which he snatches from flight close to the ground or while hopping. He also beats insects and small birds in the air.

Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

At 66-71 cm and a wingspan of 150 cm, the eagle owl is the largest owl in Europe. The female is slightly larger than the male. The expressive field of vision is characterized by the large orange-red eyes, the mustache-like line below the beak and the pointed ear brushes. The plumage is yellow-brown in color and flamed black, especially on the chest and back. Due to its size, the eagle owl is able to prey on all kinds of small rodents as well as hares, rabbits, squirrels, martens and larger birds such as crows and partridges. The hunt takes place in low search flight or from the hide. It hits its prey with its huge claws, sometimes including fish on the surface of the water, which it then tears into pieces on a branch or ledge and eats it. Eagle owls prefer undisturbed, rocky mountain regions or varied landscapes with open spaces and dense forests. The birds that live in lifelong marriage nest in rock niches, leave bird of prey nests or even on the ground. It is not uncommon for them to return to their nesting sites in the next year. While the female is breeding and as long as the 2-3 young birds are still in the nest, the male takes care of the family for a total of 15 weeks. At around 10 weeks of age, the still flightless cubs leave the nest and are provided with food by both parents for up to another 15 weeks It is not uncommon for them to return to their nesting sites in the next year. While the female is breeding and as long as the 2-3 young birds are still in the nest, the male takes care of the family for a total of 15 weeks. At around 10 weeks of age, the still flightless cubs leave the nest and are provided with food by both parents for up to another 15 weeks It is not uncommon for them to return to their nesting sites in the next year. While the female is breeding and as long as the 2-3 young birds are still in the eyrie, the male takes care of the family for a total of 15 weeks. At the age of about 10 weeks, the still flightless young leave the nest and are then provided with food by both parents for up to another 15 weeks

Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

The long-eared owl, which measures up to 36 cm, lives in coniferous and mixed forests as well as heathland and large parks. The most characteristic feature are their long feather ears, which, however, do not form the actual hearing organ. She has a sharply demarcated face veil and yellow eyes. Their plumage has an orange-brown to rust-red basic tint, is marbled and covered with numerous darker speckles. The long-eared owl does not build its own nests, but draws old nests from pigeons, crows or birds of prey. She spends the day quietly, sitting on a branch close to the trunk. At dusk she becomes active and goes hunting. While gliding, she looks for her main food, mice. She rarely hunts from the raised hide. As long as the young birds are still in the eyrie, the male takes on the feeding alone. At around 3 weeks old, the still flightless young leave the nest and are then looked after by both parents, crouching on a branch nearby. At this time they still wear the downy dress typical of young birds of prey and owls.

Birds of prey

Adler

The name eagle is not a biological name, but is more of a slang term. It is understood to mean particularly large and impressive birds of prey with an impressive wingspan. They all belong to the order of birds of prey and - with the exception of the osprey - to the family of "hawk-like" eagles are and were the most popular heraldic animals.

- Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

The 51-58 cm large osprey has a relatively large wingspan of 145-165 cm, which enables it to rise again into the air with its up to 2 kg heavy prey.

All over Europe and also in Germany this has become very rare due to ruthless persecution, destruction of the habitat and the entry of toxins into the waters.

Its head and underside are colored white, with a black-brown line on the cheek and a black-brown spot on the forehead.

On the top it is largely dark brown in color.

The female is larger, but otherwise indistinguishable from the male.

The osprey inhabits wooded coastlines as well as the banks of rivers and lakes.

To build his huge eyrie high on an old tree, he gathers strong branches.

He feeds his 2-4 young and himself exclusively with fish. In search flight he flies at a height of 20-50 m above the surface of the water until he has spotted a fish.

After shaking it briefly, it puts on its wings and swoops down. In doing so, it dips completely into the water under a large spray, only to then rise again with the prey. Its feet are ideally trained for fishing.

The toes have sharp claws, are grainy underneath and are offset from each other so that the slippery prey can hardly escape.

In October the ospreys leave their breeding area and move to their winter quarters in sub-Saharan Africa .

- Lesser Spotted Eagle

The lesser spotted eagle is the smallest native eagle. It belongs to the genus of "real eagles". It is only 61-66 cm tall and has a wingspan of 130-160 cm. It has dark brown plumage with a characteristic light spot on the top of the outstretched wings. The occurrence of the lesser spotted eagle in Germany is limited to northeastern Germany, where it breeds in dense deciduous and mixed forests. For the brood of his 2 eggs he often gets old nests from buzzards or kites in the crown area of old trees. The special thing about this eagle is that it can not only hunt while swooping or from a hide, but also on foot. Mice, frogs, insects, snakes and - rarely - carrion are on his menu.

- White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

The sea eagle native to Europe is 69-91 cm tall and has a wingspan of up to 225 cm. In contrast to the magnificent bald eagle, the American heraldic bird, it is drawn quite simply. Its plumage is uniformly brown in color, only the head is a little lighter. The sea eagle, which is still threatened with extinction despite numerous protective measures, lives near the coast or on large inland lakes, where it builds its eyrie on rocky cliffs or in the crowns of large old trees. It is faithful to its location and moves back into its nesting place every year, so that over time magnificent structures emerge. His two cubs raise the parent animals together. The main food is formed by water birds such as ducks, geese, swans, coots and grebes, but larger fish are also captured. The Central European populations stay in their territory even in winter and do not move south. During this time of scarcity of food they also eat carrion in the form of dead wild animals.

- Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

The majestic golden eagle is certainly a symbol for the untouched German mountains. With a size of 75-88 cm and a wingspan of 190-230 cm, it belongs together with the sea eagle to our largest eagles. It is dark brown in color with a golden-brown tint on the back of the head, which also earned him the name golden eagle. Its legs are feathered to the muzzle. The larger female is indistinguishable from the male in appearance. In the past, at home all over Germany, the golden eagle can now only be found in deserted, high areas of the Alps. He erects his eyrie either in rock niches or on tall trees. On the hunt for chickens up to the size of the capercaillie and mammals from rabbits to young animals of roe deer, chamois or deer, he goes to higher heights than his nesting place is. So he can transport up to 6 kg heavy prey in descent to the eyrie. It is, however, able to strike heavier prey, which it then consumes on the spot.

The female lays 2-3 eggs, whereby usually only one young gets through. The rearing, which, as with all birds of prey, is carried out by both parents, takes up to 11 weeks after hatching. It also takes 5-6 years before the young golden eagles are sexually mature themselves. Our domestic populations stay true to their territory all year round.

Buzzards

Buzzards are birds from the order of the birds of prey, the family of the hawk-like and the genus Buzzards (Buteo). In Germany there is only one species of the buzzard genus - the common buzzard. The honey buzzard belongs to the genus honey buzzard (pemis). In appearance, buzzards resemble the genus eagle (Aquila), but differ from them in particular in their considerably smaller size.

The buzzard's beak is relatively short and curved from its origin. The legs are usually featherless. Their plumage is strongly banded across the underside and their tail is relatively short. The females are usually slightly larger than the males

Buzzards feed on small mammals such as mice and birds, but they also do not disdain earthworms or reptiles. These birds are not very popular with owners of chickens, as they like to see these poultry as prey. They almost always hit their prey at you on the ground. The animal likes to hunt from trees or bushes.

- Common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

The common buzzard is one of the most common European birds of prey. With its height of 51-56 cm and its wingspan of 117-137 cm, it does not come close to the dimensions of an eagle, but it is significantly larger than the various falcon species. Its plumage is very variable and ranges from dark brown to almost white, with the underside always being relatively light. In flight, the clear transverse banding of the underside of the wing and tail can be seen. The common buzzard can often be seen gliding. His “hiääh-hiääh” calls, reminiscent of the meowing of a cat, can be heard from afar and earlier earned him the name Katzenaar (Aar = old German for eagle). It does not make any special demands on the living space and the proximity of human settlements does not bother it much. All he needs is tall trees to build his nest (eyrie) and free space for hunting. It can be found on the edges of forests, over open cultivated areas, in the mountains as well as in moors and river valleys. Field mice serve as the main source of food, but it also does not disdain other small animals such as field hamsters, moles, lizards and snakes. In winter it also eats carrion. The hunt is carried out either from the hide or from gliding.

Almost anything that allows him to sit in an elevated position serves as a hide: tree stumps, fence posts, haystacks, large stones. So-called... are set up in young plantations and are gladly accepted by the common buzzard. This prevents the rodent population in these often fenced off areas from becoming too large and causing damage to the young plants. The eyrie for rearing its 3-4 young will be used again for many years.

- Rough footbuzzard (Buteo lagopus)

The 51-61 cm large rough-footed buzzard has a wingspan of 130-152 cm and is therefore somewhat larger than the common buzzard, which looks very similar to it. Its plumage also varies and contrasting white and dark brown areas alternate. The head area is often white. His feet are feathered up to the base of the toes. In flight, it can be recognized by a dark spot on an almost white background on the underside of the wing. The female is usually larger than the male. The rough-footed buzzard is also a migratory bird, but unlike the honey buzzard, it spends the winter in our latitudes and the summer in the far north, Scandinavia and Siberia, where it raises its 3-5 young. He builds his eyrie in tall trees, but also in treeless areas on the ground or on ledges.

- Honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus)

The 51-58 cm tall honey buzzard has a wingspan of 119-127 cm and - as mentioned - does not belong to the genus Buzzards (Buteo), but to the genus Wasp Buzzards (Pernis). It has a very variable plumage color with a brown basic color and darker spots and transverse bands. Headstock and cheeks are slate gray. It is common all over Germany, but less common than the common buzzard. Its preferred habitat are well-structured deciduous forests with clearings. He often builds his eyrie on old crow's nests, but also builds it himself in tall trees. He lives up to his name, as he is an outspoken food specialist digging up wasps, bees and bumblebees and feeding on them and their larvae. The juicy larvae in particular are used to raise the young birds. It rarely eats other insects, bugs, grasshoppers and small vertebrates. In soaring flight he makes out inhabited nests on the ground by observing the entry and exit at the holes in the ground.

Due to its eating habits, the honey buzzard has developed some features that are atypical for birds of prey, such as the digging foot or pawing foot with only slightly curved claws, as well as dense, scaly and hard fletching in the head area at the beak root and slit-shaped nostrils - as protection against wasp stings. As a real migratory bird, the honey buzzard does not return from its winter quarters in sub-Saharan Africa until April to raise its 2 young with us. He will be on his way back in September. It is classified as endangered on the red list.

Kites

- Black kite (Milvus migrans)

The black kite is 56-60 cm tall and has a wingspan of 130-150 cm. Its plumage is dark brown throughout and its tail is only slightly forked. Both features help to distinguish it from its close relative, the red kite, which does not occur in Croatia.

It prefers light deciduous forests and field trees near larger bodies of water as habitat. He builds his eyrie in the crown of deciduous trees. He upholstered it with all kinds of soft material and also used scraps of paper and rags.

The black kite feeds mainly on fish. It skillfully catches dead or weakened fish on the surface of the water or eats carrion that has washed ashore. However, it also occasionally hunts other large birds for their prey and even catches water birds and various small animals during the breeding season.

When food is scarce, it can also be found in landfills. It spends the winter as a year-round bird in southern Europe (Greece, Turkey) or migrates to central and South Africa. Black kite subspecies are even found in Australia.

- Red kite (Milvus milvus)

The red kite is up to 61 cm tall and has a wingspan of 145-155 cm. Its deeply forked tail and the red-brown plumage that gives it its name distinguish it from the black kite. On the underside of the wing, it has clear, light areas in the outer third. His head is also lighter than the rest of the body. In its overall appearance it is slimmer than, for example, the common buzzard. He lives in landscapes in which deciduous forest and open spaces alternate. He flies a lot in gliding and gliding. He's not very picky about food. He preyed on pheasants, young hares, moles, lizards and snakes, but is also satisfied with beetles, smaller insects and earthworms. But he also does not spurn carrion and searches roadsides and embankments for animals that have been run over. He is also able to also beat larger birds like crows or seagulls in the air. He builds his eyrie in the crown of old deciduous trees. Like the black kite, he upholstered it with all sorts of soft material and also used scraps of paper and rags. In Germany it can only be found during the breeding season and winters in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and North Africa. You can find it all year round, for example, in southern France, southern Italy and Spain.

Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

As with the closely related, but significantly smaller, sparrowhawk, males (48 cm) and females of the hawk (61 cm) are of different sizes. In terms of plumage, the sexes hardly differ. The color of the upper side ranges from gray-brown (m) to slate gray (w). The underside is cross-banded in black and white. The goshawk prefers to inhabit coniferous forests with old trees. In the crown of old trees, the parent animals build a large nest from branches and twigs of conifers, which is well padded. Occasionally abandoned buzzard nests are also used. While the female incubates the 2-4 eggs alone, the male provides it with food.

The male mainly kills birds from sparrows to pigeons, similar to the sparrowhawk, in full flight from the air. The larger female is also capable of preying corvids, squirrels, rabbits and hares. The hawks, which are faithful to their territory, usually do not leave their breeding area even in winter. The female lays only one egg in January, which has to be incubated for almost two months. Then the young birds are reared for up to 4 months until they can fly and feed themselves independently.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

males (28 cm) and females of the sparrow (38 cm) differ significantly in size. The basic drawing of both sexes is very similar, but the male is more conspicuously colored. It has a blue-gray upper side with a red-brown-white cross-banded underside, while it has a brown-gray upper side and a gray-white cross-banded underside.

The sparrowhawk, which looks squat and hunchbacked when seated, is extremely agile in pursuit of small birds up to the size of pigeons. In its natural habitat, coniferous and mixed forests with adjacent open spaces, coal tits, great tits and chaffinches make up a large part of the prey, whereas in urban areas sparrows and green finches form the main source of food. The sparrowhawk prefers to build its nest in spruce or pine. The female lays 4-5 eggs and incubates alone while the male provides them with food. It can be found all year round in many regions of Europe. The breeding birds from the north spend the winter mostly in the south of France or Spain.

Songbirds

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

The bluethroat is a very rare breeding bird in our country and can generally only be observed in the passage. The 14 cm tall bird, which is very similar in shape to the robin, occurs in two races in Europe: as a red-starred bluethroat with a white spot on the blue throat and as a white-starred bluethroat with a red spot. The head, back, wings and tail are colored black-gray. The lower abdomen is white. The colorful throat coloration is completely absent in the female. The heads of both sexes are adorned with a white stripe over the eyes. It prefers reed-rich wetlands, swamp and alluvial forests rich in undergrowth and moorland. The nest building and hatching of 5-6 eggs in a protected location on the ground are done by both parents, with the female doing most of the work while the male defends or defends the territory. Bringing in food.. Hunting is also done on the ground. Small insects and arachnids serve as prey, and berries in autumn. The bluethroats make their way back to their winter quarters in the savannah areas between August and September Africa s north of the equator.

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

The 13 cm tall whinchat is closely related to the stonechat, which at first glance looks very similar. The chin, throat and chest are russet. The upper side and wings are colored light brown to blackish brown and drawn scaly. The face is framed on the side by a white stripe over the eyes and beard. The coloring of the female is a little paler overall. The whinchat lives in damp meadows and can often be found sitting on an elevated control room, for example a solitary shrub or perennial. The nest is built by the female, well hidden between tufts of grass in a hollow on the ground. It also incubates the 5-6 eggs on its own. While the male uses an elevated point as a singing observation point, both partners use a observation point as a starting point for the hunt. After a short flight on spotted insects, They usually return worms and spiders to the control room to keep an eye out. The winter quarters are in the tropical Sub- Saharan Africa.

Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula)

The jackdaw reaches a size of 33 cm and a weight of 200 g, whereby the females are slightly smaller than the males. There are different breeds in Europe, which can be distinguished by the color in the throat and neck area. All races have plumage that is black on the top, shiny metallic blue on the head and wings and dark gray to matt black on the underside and a black beak. The eyes (iris) are light blue. The breed native to us is gray on the sides of the neck and cheeks, while the Eastern European breed wears an interrupted, white collar. In the past, the jackdaw was assumed to be closely related to the crows and ravens and the jackdaw was classified in the genus Corvus.

However, new molecular genetic analyzes have shown a lower degree of relationship to the corvids, so that it was classified in its own genus (Coloeus).

The jackdaw lives in open cultural landscapes and parks with rock walls, old buildings and ruins. It is a cave breeder and, in addition to old woodpecker caves and rock holes, particularly likes to use old buildings and church towers to build nests. Its predilection for places of worship earned it the nickname "the pastor's black dove". Similar to the other ravens and crows, the jackdaw is omnivorous.

The main focus of their food spectrum is on insects, worms and other invertebrates, which they collect on the ground. It also eats small vertebrates, bird eggs, carrion and, in settlements, human waste. The jackdaw lays 4-5 eggs and hatches from April to July. The birds have a distinct social behavior and sometimes form large breeding colonies. As part migrants, the northern populations spend the winter in our latitudes or move further south, while our jackdaws often stay here. The jackdaw is the bird of the year 2012 .

Finches

The family of finch birds (Fringillidae) includes over 400 species that are distributed worldwide with the exception of Australia and Oceania. The finches are of particular importance for the history of biology, as the diverse species on the Galapagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Our native species are usually of a stocky shape and have a powerful beak suitable for eating seeds and grains. They can be found in trees, undergrowth and also on the ground. In many native species, the male is much more colorful than the female. In addition, the plumage of the male is often particularly magnificent during the breeding season (breeding dress). The females of our finch species always do the breeding business alone. Because of their inconspicuous plumage, enemies can hardly recognize them in the open nest hollows. The males are usually good singers and spend a lot of time sitting on a high viewing point and singing to mark their territory. When feeding the young, they are at least as eager as the females. Many species spend the winter further south and often form small groups or large swarms in autumn.

- Mountain finch (Fringilla montifringilla)

The 15 cm tall mountain finch is a real migratory bird and only spends the winter in Central and Southern Europe. He spends the summer in breeding areas in the far north. The male has a pitch-black head and neck in its summer dress and black-brown wings with an orange band. The chest and shoulders are bright orange-red and the belly side is white-gray. The female is more inconspicuous and has a brown top and head with black scaling and also a white-gray underside. The male in winter plumage looks very similar to him, but can be distinguished by the yellow beak.

During the breeding season, the mountain finch prefers to live in birch and conifer forests. The female builds the bowl-shaped nest from blades of grass, moss and lichen and also incubates the 5-7 eggs on her own. The young birds are fed by both parents with insects and their larvae, in the rest of the year mainly different seeds and especially beechnuts are on the menu. The northern conditions only allow one brood. In winter, chaffinches migrate south in huge flocks, some of which contain several million specimens. In January 2012, a flock of around 5 million mountain finches was observed in Tübingen.

- Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

In the male of the 15 cm chaffinch, the top of the head and neck are blue-gray and the cheeks are rust-red. The back and underside are colored reddish brown. The wings are blue-gray and black with two white bands. The female has an olive-brown upper side and head with two white wing bands and a gray-brown underside. The chaffinch lives in deciduous, mixed and coniferous forests up to 2,000 m above sea level, but is also found in gardens, parks and cultural landscapes with hedges and trees.

As his name suggests, he does not depend on beech trees. In spring and summer it feeds mainly on insects and caterpillars, in autumn and winter it eats berries and seeds. The birds are often tripping on the ground in search of food. The female alone builds the artistic, bowl-shaped nest in bushes or trees and also incubates the 3-6 eggs on her own. Two broods a year are the norm. During this time, the male takes over the food supply and vigorously defends the territory against invading conspecifics. With his melodic singing he clearly announces his territorial claims. Chaffinches are partial migrants, i.e. only the northern populations migrate south to the Mediterranean in winter. Together with other finch species, they search the harvested fields for grain in large flocks.

- Goldfinch, Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

The approx. 12 cm tall goldfinch is also known as goldfinch because of its "stiglitt" or "tiglitt" calls. Because of its strikingly colorful plumage, it used to be kept in cages as an ornamental bird. He has a bright red face mask with a black spot around the eye. The cheeks, chest and underside are colored white. The top and back of the head are black and the back is ocher brown. The black wings wear a wide, bright yellow band. Males and females cannot be distinguished from one another in appearance.

The goldfinch often lives close to humans and is at home in orchards, gardens, and parks. The nest is also usually built in fruit trees made of blades of grass and moss. The female incubates 4-5 eggs alone up to twice a year, but both parents take care of the chicks. All kinds of seeds serve as food, but also small insects such as aphids. In late summer you can see goldfinches in small flocks skilfully doing gymnastics on thistles, or in autumn acrobatically in birches or larches to get the seeds. As part migrants, many birds spend the winter in southern or central Europe, only to move back to the northern breeding areas in spring.

- Serin (Serinus serinus)

The 11.5 cm tall girlitz is the smallest finch bird in Europe. Until the 1960s it was sometimes referred to as the wild canary; however, this name is now out of use. The canary was bred from the girlitz breed, which is native to the Canary Islands and Madeira. The head, chest and belly of the male are bright yellowish-green, the upper side is gray-brown with fine dashes. The coloring of the female is a bit more muted overall. The Girlitz populates park-like grounds, gardens, orchards, vineyards, and light deciduous and mixed forests. The nest is usually built halfway up in trees made of blades of grass, roots and moss. The female incubates 4-5 eggs alone, up to twice a year. However, both parents take care of the chicks together. Purely vegetable food is used as food, mainly seeds, but also young plant parts. As part migrants, many birds spend the winter in southern or central Europe, only to move back to the northern breeding areas in spring. The southern populations are resident birds.

- Greenfinch, greenfinch (Chloris chloris)

The approximately 15 cm tall and strongly built greenfinch or greenfinch is one of our most common finches. The male is olive-green on top, yellow-green underneath with bright yellow wing and tail markings. The female is less strikingly colored. As a cultural follower, the greenfinch lives in parks, gardens, avenues and cemeteries in the vicinity of humans. Otherwise it can be found at the edges of the forest and in sparse deciduous and mixed forests.

The nest is built low in thick hedges, bushes or low trees. The female incubates the 4-6 eggs alone, in exceptional cases up to three times a year. Both parents take care of the purely vegetable supply of the chicks with seeds and grains. For this purpose, the peeled seeds are softened in the crop and only then fed to the chicks. Greenfinches are very sociable. So they sometimes build their nests in close proximity to each other and they are often out and about in groups when foraging in autumn. They pick berries from the branches in the branches, but also pick up grains on the ground.

Many birds spend the winter as part migrants in southern Europe or North Africa, only to move back to the northern breeding areas in spring.

The southern populations are resident birds. The northern populations often overwinter in our latitudes and can then also be found at the bird feeder, where they fight extremely arguably for their place. Here you can also see how skilfully they peel sunflower seeds with their powerful beak.

Linnet, Blood Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)

The linnet belongs to the finch family. Because of the red color of the male on the chest and head, the linnet, which is about 13 cm tall, is also known as the linnet. The head, neck and abdomen are yellowish-white in color, the back and the wing covers are rust-brown. The female, which is darkly striped underneath, has none of the red markings. The linnet prefers open terrain with thick hedges and bushes.

But you can also find it at the edges of forests, in gardens and in parks. The nest is built low in dense hedges or bushes made of plant fibers and stalks. Often several pairs breed close to each other in loose colonies. The female incubates 4-6 eggs on her own up to twice a year. However, both parents jointly take care of the chicks, mainly with seeds.

For this purpose, the peeled seeds are softened in the crop and only then fed to the chicks. His preference for oil-rich seeds, such as hemp, earned him his name, because the linnet is not particularly small or thin. Many birds spend the winter as part migrants in southern Europe or North Africa, only to move back to the northern breeding areas in spring. The southern populations are resident birds.

Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

The siskin belongs to the finch family. The petite, approx. 12 cm tall siskin lives in spruce and fir forests, as well as mixed forests and large parks with spruce stands. The male has yellow-green plumage with a black head plate and black throat patch. Its top and wings are gray-green with fine dark dots. The wing covers are adorned with a yellow-green band.

The female is generally darker in color, has no headstock and has more pronounced dotted lines. So it is hardly noticeable in the nest, which is built in tall conifers.

The female incubates 4-6 eggs on her own up to twice a year.

Both parents, however, jointly take care of supplying the chicks with seeds and aphids. After the breeding season and well into winter, the siskin feeds almost exclusively on fir, spruce, birch and alder seeds. Then he is also on the move in larger swarms. His eating habits also earned him his middle name; Siskin ". Many birds spend the winter in our latitudes, but some of the more northern populations move south.

Dunnock

The dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a species of bird from the genus Braunellen in the family of the same name, the Braunellen (Prunellidae) and from the subordination of songbirds.

The bird is a widespread and frequent breeding and summer bird in Central Europe. The bird can be found in young spruce stands and in the mountains up to the knee wood region.

The dunnock has a mean size of 15 cm, with a mean weight of 20 g.

Their chest and head are lead to slate gray, while their back and wings are dark brown and striped with black. Males and females look almost the same.

The birds prefer forest edges, gardens, parks and bushes, in the Alps they can also be found in the Krummholzzone.

During the summer they feed on small caterpillars, beetles, larvae, pupae or even spiders, while in winter they tend to feed on various seeds.

Dunnock are partial migratory birds that only fly to southern Spain and North Africa in winter in higher or climatically unfavorable areas.

Bunting

The Ammern belong to the finch birds and the subjugation of songbirds. and are closely related to our finches. Most of our native representatives belong to the genus of the real bunting (Emberiza), but also to the snow bunting (Plectrophenax) and spur chambers (Calcarius). They are small birds of 15-18 cm in size with good singing talents that build their nests on or near the ground. Some species are migratory birds, others leave our latitudes in winter. Ammern have been considered extremely tasty since ancient times and are still caught and consumed in southern Europe despite the ban. Ortolans were considered to be particularly tasty and were even fattened with oats and millet to make so-called "fat pods".

They were on the menu of French star chefs like Paul Bocuse until 1999. In addition, various species of ammunition were previously, which is also prohibited today, kept in cages as “songbirds” or used as decoys for hunting.

  • Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

    The yellowhammer, which is 16-17 cm in size, owes its name to its golden yellow color on the head, chest and stomach. Their back, as well as their wings and tail, are striped in different shades of brown, the rump is rust-brown. The female is a little simpler in its plumage. The goldhammer's preferred habitat is open terrain with hedges and bushes, but they can also be found on the edges of forests and in spruce spruce spruce. The male often sings from an elevated vantage point, a bush top or a power pole.

    The female builds the nest well hidden on the ground and softly cushions it with innumerable animal hair. The clutch contains 3-5 eggs and is incubated by both partners. There are two broods a year. While the young are being raised, the parents mostly catch insects, otherwise they mainly feed on seeds and berries. She spends the winter with us and you can watch small swarms foraging for food during this time.

  • Gray bunting (Emberiza calandra)

    The gray bunting is the largest bunting at 18 cm and looks a bit clumsy compared to its relatives. Overall, it is inconspicuously colored, similar to a lark, gray-brown on the top with strong dashed lines and light gray on the underside with light dashed lines.

    The gray bunting prefers open terrain with individual bushes and trees as a habitat. They are also often found in cultural landscapes such as meadows and fields.

    The male often sings from an elevated vantage point, a bush top or a power pole. Some of the males mate with several females, usually one after the other so that the young birds do not hatch and need to be looked after at the same time. The female builds the nest well hidden in a hollow on the ground and softly padded it with animal hair. The clutch comprises 4-5 eggs and is incubated by both partners, with the male only partially supporting depending on his other obligations. Two broods a year only take place in good conditions. During the rearing of the young, the parents mostly catch insects and spiders, otherwise they mainly feed on seeds and berries. With its powerful beak, the gray bunting can crack larger seeds than its relatives. She spends the winter in our latitudes. During this time, gray chamois form swarms and search for food together on the ground.

  • Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

    The 15 cm large reed bunting is also known as reed sparrow because of its sparrow-like appearance. The saying: "Scold like a pipe sparrow" comes from their loud singing. The male has a black head and black throat with a white stripe of beard, a light gray belly side and a brown upper side with black dashes. The female is brown on top with black dashes and light gray on the underside. The head is also brown with light stripes over the eyes and beard. The reed bunting lives in reed bank areas of rivers and lakes, but also in moors and wet meadows. It nests on or just above the ground. The nest is built from reed leaves and padded with moss and animal hair. The clutch comprises 4-6 eggs and is largely hatched by the female alone.

    Two broods a year are the norm. The male can be seen singing high up on a reed, a bush or a willow. Both partners help raise the young again. In addition to all kinds of insects, small crabs and snails also serve as food during the breeding season. In winter, reed seeds and other seeds are high on the menu. As part migrants, some populations stay with us in winter, others move to southern or central Europe. There are also newcomers from the north .

  • Spur-bunting (Calcarius lapponicus)

    The 15 cm large spur-bunting owes its name to the elongated claw on the rear toe. Its Latin name "lapponicus" suggests its range in Lapland: it breeds in the Sami settlement area in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

    The male has a black head, a black throat and a black face in his contrasting breeding dress.

    The white stripe above the eyes is extended downwards and frames the face and throat. The neck is bright red-brown in color, the beak is yellow. On the upper side the plumage is dark brown with lighter and darker dashes, on the underside a uniform white-gray color. The female is quite inconspicuous and has a brown basic color with darker dashes on the upper side. The underside is gray-white with a slightly piebald breast. In winter plumage, the male looks very similar to the female.

    The spur bunting colonizes the entire tundra belt and prefers open areas with sparse vegetation. Due to the lack of singing stations, the male starts to delimit the territory, similar to the snow bunting from the ground on short singing flights. The spur-bunting female builds her nest on the ground, protected from the wind, on a small bush or tuft of grass made of blades of grass. It is softly padded with feathers. Due to the climate there is only one annual brood. The clutch of 4-5 eggs is hatched by the female alone.

    Both parents help raise the young and mostly catch insects, especially mosquitoes and spiders, otherwise they mainly feed on seeds of low herbs and grasses. The European populations spend the winter on our coasts of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, more rarely they move further south to the Mediterranean. The Russian populations fly as far as the Caucasus and the Black Sea.

  • Bunting hammer (Emberiza cirlus)

    The 17 cm large bunting hammer is very similar in appearance to the golden hammer. It has a greenish-yellow basic color with clear brown vertical stripes on the upper side. The wing covers are sometimes red-brown in color. The head of the male is yellow with a black crown, black eye and beard stripes and a black throat patch. The ventral side is yellowish-olive green in color and slightly piebald.

    The female is overall duller in color and has no throat spot. The heat-loving bunting prefers open habitats with hedges and bushes. The female builds the nest from grass, roots and moss on the ground, in low bushes or in young conifers. Nest building and hatchery are carried out by the female alone and the male only partially helps with the rearing of the 3-5 young.

    Instead, it can often be observed singing from an elevated viewing point, a bush top or a line pole. For the 2-3 annual broods, mainly all kinds of insects serve as food in spring and summer, later in the year seeds are preferred. The bunting is a resident bird and usually spends the winter in its ancestral territory.

Thrushes (Turdidae)

The widespread blackbird is the most common member of the thrush family. In other countries it is translated as the black thrush, but in Germany the name Amsel, which may be based on an old dialect, has established itself.

Black speckles on the white belly side, which are only completely missing in male blackbirds, are just as characteristic of our domestic thrushes as the melodious and loud singing of their males. Incidentally, the dipper is not one of the more than 300 thrush species worldwide.

  • Blackbird (Turdus merula)

    The approximately 25 cm large blackbird belongs to the family of thrushes (Turdidae) and still has the name black thrush, which emphasizes its relationship. But even without the addition of "thrush" to the name, the blackbird is a typical representative of the thrush due to its behavior and its singing skills.

    The male is deep black and has a yellow beak and a yellow eye ring. The eye ring and beak are particularly brightly colored during the breeding season. The female has dark brown plumage and a brown beak. Their underside is either also brown, a little lighter or slightly speckled. She is a real follower of culture and can be found almost everywhere in the vicinity of people. Originally it lived in forests rich in undergrowth, but today it is more found in parks and gardens. It prefers to breed in dense hedges, but is also content with less protected breeding sites in the city, for example with balcony boxes.

    The female blackbird builds a stable nest out of stalks, roots and moss, in which she lays 3-5 eggs. 2-3 broods are possible in the year. While the female is busy with brooding and nest building, the male marks the territory with his artful song, which he also vigorously defends against other blackbirds.

    If a predator, such as a cat, approaches the nest, both partners stay close on the intruder's heels with constant and loud grumbling until the intruder pulls away in annoyance. A strategy that does not always work, however, because the cat is certainly the greatest predator.

    Both parents provide the young birds with animal food that is hunted on the ground. The menu includes earthworms that are pulled straight out of the ground and all kinds of insects, their larvae and snail eggs. In autumn blackbirds like to eat berries and rarely fruit. Often you hear blackbirds rustling in the bushes in autumn and early spring before you see them. They rummage through the dry leaves on the ground in search of small insects that hide in them. Our city blackbirds spend the winter with us and are frequent guests at the bird feeder. The northern, wild populations migrate south to southern Europe or even north Africa.

  • Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)

    At 27 cm, the mistletoe is the largest thrush in Central Europe. It is difficult to distinguish from the somewhat smaller song thrush. It has a monochrome gray-brown upper side and a white underside, densely covered with black spots. The mistletoe lives in deciduous and coniferous forests up to the tree line as well as in gardens and parks. The female builds the relatively large nest from roots, twigs, grass and moss high up in the fork of trees. The male helps to build the nest, but is not so eager to do it. The female incubates the 3-5 eggs alone and is fed by the male. Often there are 2 broods a year. During the breeding season, snails, worms, insects and spiders are on the menu. Berries, especially mistletoe berries and fruit, are added in autumn.

  • Ring Thrush (Turdus torquatus)

    The 25 cm ring thrush is similar to the blackbird but can be distinguished by its eponymous crescent-shaped white neck ring. The male has a black basic color, the female has a brown basic color. Their feathers have a fine white border, so that their plumage appears scaly overall. There are two races of the ring owl living in Europe: the plumage of the Nordic form, which can sometimes be observed on the passage, does not appear scaled and therefore appears overall darker. Our native form populates the coniferous forests and mountain pine zones of the low mountain ranges and the Alps. The nest is built by both partners together in low undergrowth or conifers close to the ground in the typical thrush manner. The clutch, which consists of 4-5 eggs, is also incubated by both partners. Usually there is only one brood. The young birds are fed snails, worms, insects and spiders captured on the ground. In autumn there are also berries and fruits on the menu. The birds spend the winter in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

  • Song thrush (Turdus philomelos)

    The 23 cm song thrush lives up to its name. Their melodic singing can be heard especially in the morning and evening hours. Similar to the larger mistletoe, it has a plain brown upper side and a white underside that is densely covered in black spots. It builds its nest in shrubs or conifers close to the ground. In contrast to the other thrush species, it does not line its nest with a layer of earth, but with rotting wood (wooden mulm).

    The female lays 3-6 eggs and incubates twice a year. The food is hunted on the ground and consists mostly of snails. But it also does not disdain insects, worms or berries and fruits in autumn. Captured snails are hit on a stone or tree stump, the so-called "throttle forge".

    With the help of such a throttle forge, the presence of the otherwise rather shy song thrush can be recognized. Our native populations are migratory birds and spend the winter all over the Mediterranean, from southern Spain to Greece, Turkey and North Africa.

  • Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

    The approx. 25 cm large fieldfare is the most colorful type of thrush. It has a light gray head and lower back, the rest of the back and the upper sides of the wings are chestnut brown. Their underside is white, with a reddish background on the breast and speckled with black tapering downwards.

    It inhabits open landscapes with bushes and groups of trees, light forests as well as parks and gardens. Unlike our other thrush species, it lives in colonies that can contain up to 40 pairs. She is also out and about in small groups when looking for food. On the ground, it hunts for snails, worms, insects and spiders. In autumn it also eats berries and fruits.

    The fieldfare female builds her nest from grass, leaves, clay and moss high up in a fork of a tree or close to the trunk. There it lays 4-6 eggs, which it also hatches on its own. Our native populations overwinter in the European Mediterranean.

Ruff

The ruff (Philomachus pugnax) is a protected bird that breeds in wet meadows, low meadows, moors and the damp tundra throughout Eurasia.

It belongs to the genus ruff (Philomachus) and the family of the snipe birds (Scolopacidae).

The males reach a body size of 25 to 32 centimeters, with a weight between 130 and 230 grams. Their wingspan reaches 55 to 60 cm.

The males have a black, orange, maroon or white collar. The females, on the other hand, reach a height of 20 to 25 cm and a weight between 70 and 150 grams. Their wingspan is 45 to 50 cm.

Their diet consists of worms, snails, insects, but also grains and seeds.

Its enemies include foxes, raccoon dogs, weasels, hawks, seagulls and crows.

The animals are migratory birds that mostly overwinter in the West African interior.

Larks (Alaudidae)

The larks are represented worldwide with over 200 species. They are pronounced ground dwellers, who tap, never hop, move around and are skilled flyers. The males are excellent singers who, either in flight or from an elevated song vantage point, give their widely audible song. It is difficult to distinguish our native species from the outside. When delimiting it, however, it helps to observe the characteristic singing flight of the males. The color of the larks is unobtrusively adapted to life on the ground in shades of brown and beige.

  • Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

    The skylark is our largest native lark at 18 cm. It is spotted light and dark brown on the upper side and dotted lengthways, on the underside it is colored whitish with a black-brown mottled breast. It can erect its crown feathers into a small hood. It has a relatively long tail with white outer edges. Their preferred habitat is open, treeless terrain and ranges from the dune landscapes of the coast to moors, meadows and fields to plateaus in the mountains. In a hollow on the ground, the female builds a well camouflaged, flat nest from surrounding plant material. The clutch comprises 3-5 eggs, which it also hatches on its own. There are 2-3 broods a year.

    The male of the skylark climbs almost vertically up to 50 m to sing flight and lets his trilling song sound for up to 15 minutes without interruption. It then drops to the ground like a stone. The skylark's menu includes all kinds of bottom-dwelling insects, caterpillars, larvae and spiders, as well as seeds and green parts of plants.

    When feeding the young, the parents always end up some distance from the nest and walk the last bit so as not to point out any enemies about their offspring. Most of our skylarks migrate to southern, western Europe and North Africa in winter.

  • Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

    The 17 cm large crested lark looks very similar to the skylark, but looks more compact. It is colored light brown on the upper side and less markedly spotted and longitudinally dashed, on the underside it is colored whitish with black-brown speckled breast. It often raised its crown feathers to form a pointed bonnet. It has a relatively short tail with yellowish-brown outer edges.

    It lives as a cultural follower near human settlements on fallow land, railway embankments, military training areas and airfields. In a hollow on the ground, the female builds a well camouflaged, flat nest from surrounding plant material. The clutch comprises 3-5 eggs, which it also hatches on its own. Both parents take over the feeding again. There are 2-3 broods a year.

    The male usually sings from an elevated vantage point or rises from the ground to a low singing flight and flies over his area in curved lines. It incorporates elements of alien bird species into its song. The menu of the crested lark includes ground-dwelling insects, caterpillars, larvae and spiders as well as seeds and green parts of plants.

    As a resident bird, the crested lark spends the winter in its ancestral territory.

Titmouse

The family of the titmouse (Paridae) comprises approx. 55 - 61 species, which are at home all over the world with the exception of South America and the polar regions. Modern molecular-genetic investigations ensure that the exact classification of the species is shifted a little from time to time. In Central Europe there are species of the largest genus Parus, which also includes the common blue and great tits, as well as the genus Aegithalus (tail titmouse) and Panurus (bearded titmouse). Tits mostly live in tree-rich regions.

Their small, downright graceful body with short, rounded wings also indicates that they are not persistent fliers. Rather, they are out and about in treetops, bushes and undergrowth, where they eagerly jump from one branch to the next, looking for food on buds, in the bark and in forked branches.

Their menu includes insects and their larvae, spiders and other small animals. Therefore, they are real beneficial insects and have always been popular with gardening enthusiasts. But they do not disdain seeds and fruits either. In winter, different species can be found at the aviary, where they gratefully accept oatmeal and sunflower seeds. They skillfully clamp the latter with one foot to the surface, e.g. a branch, and chop it open with their pointed beak. Many species of titmouse are cave breeders and often relate to nesting boxes hanging in the garden. The female usually breeds alone, while the male diligently provides it with food. After hatching, both parents take on the tireless feeding of the always hungry offspring.

  • Bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus)

    The 16.5 cm tall, of which 8 cm is the tail, and the bearded tit, which weighs around 14 g, is not a real tit and is not related to the other domestic tit species. It belongs to the parrot family (Paradoxornithidae). The males have a cinnamon-brown, evenly colored plumage with an ash-gray head and black beard. In the female, the head is also cinnamon brown and the beard is missing. It is a pronounced reed resident and prefers large coherent reed areas on the coast. It is rarely found inland. It feeds on insects and the seeds of the reed. The bearded tit builds its nest in the dense reed bed as a deep, thick-walled bowl directly on or just above the ground. She lays 5-7 eggs in it. Two broods a year are the norm.

  • Blue tit (Parus caeruleus)

    The widespread and common blue tit has a blue head plate, blue top and yellow bottom. Her white face is covered with a black blindfold. The bird has a length of approx. 12 cm - with a weight of approx. 11 g. Outwardly, males and females can hardly be distinguished from one another. The blue tit lives in deciduous and mixed forests with a high proportion of oak - but it can also be found in parks and gardens.

    In spring and summer it feeds almost exclusively on insects, often aphids and other small insects. In autumn it eats plenty of seeds and can often be seen hanging upside down on birch branches as it nibbles on the seed heads. Blue tits breed in tree hollows but happily accept hanging nest boxes. The clutches consist of 7-14 eggs and two broods are even the rule if there is good food available. In winter she is a frequent guest at the bird feeder.

  • Crested tit (Parus cristatus)

    The crested tit is 11.5 cm tall and weighs 11 g and is striking because of its pointed, black and white scaled feather bonnet. The cheeks are white with a black eye stripe that curves backwards. A black collar separates the gray-brown back, wings and tail from the head. The underside is colored cream.

    The crested tit's preferred habitat is coniferous forests, especially pine forests. In western Europe it also lives in deciduous forests. In order to avoid competition between the coal and willow tits, they usually look for food high up in the trees. It eats small insects and spiders and supplements its diet with pine seeds in autumn and winter. The crested tit builds its nest in tree hollows, tree stumps and root stocks. Their clutch consists of 5-8 eggs and depending on the food available there are one or two broods a year.

  • Great tit (Parus major) With a length of around 14 cm and a weight of around 20 g, the great tit is the largest tit species found in Germany. It has a black head with white cheeks and a more or less pronounced black longitudinal line on the sulfur to lemon yellow colored belly side. The wings, with a simple white band, and the tail are colored blue-gray to olive green.

    Great and blue tits are often found side by side in gardens and parks. In the wild, however, only the greater great tit is found in coniferous forests. In spring and summer it feeds almost exclusively on animal food. Insects, spiders, caterpillars and other small insects are on the menu. In autumn it eats plenty of seeds, fruits and berries. The great tits, which can often be found here, breed in tree hollows, but happily accept hanging nest boxes. Due to the size of the entrance hole, boxes can be attached especially for great tits (32 mm diameter) or the smaller blue tits (27 mm). The clutches consist of 8-12 eggs and with good food availability, two broods are even the rule. In winter she is a frequent guest at the bird feeder.

  • Coal tit (Parus ater)

    The petite, approx. 11 cm tall and approx. 9 g heavy coal tit lives according to its name in coniferous forests, especially in spruce and fir trees. But it can also be found in mixed forests. She has a black head with a striking white patch on the neck and white cheeks. The wings, marked with a narrow double white band, are colored blue-gray, as is the tail, the belly is dirty white to gray-brown. Coal tits breed in tree hollows, decayed tree stumps and knotholes.

    They accept hanging nest boxes where available. The clutches consist of 5-9 eggs and two broods are the rule when there is good food available. Small insects and spiders form their main food; in autumn and winter they mainly feed on the seeds of the conifers. They also visit bird feeders near settlements.

Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Who does not know the sentence from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" - "It was the nightingale and not the lark". The male of the 16-17 cm tall and inconspicuous bird is one of the most impressive singers in the German bird world. Although it also sings throughout the day, its nocturnal singing is most powerful when everything is quiet. Singing with the typical "sobbing" elements is not innate and has to be learned. The young birds memorize their father's song, so that regional song patterns emerge. The plumage of the nightingale is solid reddish brown on the top and light gray on the underside. Their tail is reddish in color. As a habitat, it prefers bushy deciduous and mixed forests, alluvial forests and parks. It is rare in northern Germany. The female builds her nest in the foliage on the ground or in the bushes close to the ground and also incubates the 4-6 eggs on her own. Both parents take care of the feeding. Small insects, worms, spiders and, in autumn, berries that are caught on the ground or in the thick undergrowth serve as food. As a migratory bird, it winters in the savannah regions of Africa north of the equator. The nightingale is closely related to the sprout, also known as the Polish nightingaleapprox.

Neuntöter

Despite its name, the Red-backed Shrike matialischen one of the songbirds. He belongs to the family of stranglers. It is also known under the name of Dorndreher or Red Back Shrike.

It grows to about 17 cm tall and has a strong, slightly hook-shaped beak typical of stranglers and a long tail. It lives in open terrain with bushes, hedges and low ground vegetation, but prefers thorny shrubs. He uses this as his personal pantry by spearing the prey, consisting of insects, young mice, small lizards and young birds, onto the thorns and spines of the bushes. The red-backed shrike is common all over Europe except Iceland, the British Isles, Northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula.

Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)

Of the 34 oriole species worldwide, only the oriole is native to us as a pure breeding bird. The male is 24 cm tall and has bright yellow plumage with black wings. Its strong beak is colored red. The female is greenish on the top, also has black wings and a light, black dashed underside. The oriole lives in light deciduous and riparian forests, but is also found in larger parks with old trees. It prefers to stay in the dense foliage of the trees and is therefore difficult to observe. Both partners build the nest in a high-altitude fork made of grass and plant fibers. The female incubates the 3-5 eggs largely alone, but is supplied with food by the male. Larger insects, berries and fruits serve as food. Opening up Africa leaves only time for an annual brood.

Red-backed shrike, red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio)

Despite its martial name, the red-backed shrike is a songbird and is even a good singer. It is also the most common native strangler. Because of its peculiarity of impaling prey on thorns or spikes, the vernacular has given it the names "thorn turner" or "red-backed slayer". It grows to about 17 cm tall and has a strong, slightly hook-shaped beak typical of stranglers and a long tail.

The sexes are clearly drawn differently. The male has a gray head with black eye stripes, white throat, chest and belly and red-brown wings. The female is inconspicuously colored, has a gray-brown upper side and a light brown, cross-wavy underside. The red-backed shrike lives in open terrain with (thorny) bushes, hedges and low ground vegetation. Both partners build the nest together in a thorn bush, but the female takes on the breeding business alone.

When hunting, the bird looks out from an elevated viewing point and plunges down on its prey. In addition to insects, the menu also includes young mice, frogs, small lizards and young birds. He impales prey that are not consumed immediately on the thorns and spines of the bushes and uses them as his personal pantry. The red-backed shrike is common all over Europe except for Iceland, the northern British Isles, northern Scandinavia and southern Spain. As real migratory birds, all European animals spend the winter in tropical Africa south of the Sahara.

European robin (Erithacus rubecula)

The 14 cm tall robin is certainly one of our most famous songbirds. With its round shape, orange throat patch and black button eyes, it is not only cute to look at, but also seeks to be close to people. When working in the garden, it comes flying in to snatch away frightened insects and arachnids. In winter it is a frequent guest at the bird feeder. The robin is olive-brown on the upper side and white-gray on the belly. The orange color on the throat and chest is framed in gray. Its preferred habitat are forests, gardens and parks rich in undergrowth.

The female is not picky about the choice of nesting place: all kinds of niches and half-caves are occupied, but she also builds on the ground or in the undergrowth. It incubates 4-6 eggs alone and two broods a year are the norm. Feeding is done by both partners. Our city blackbirds spend the winter with us and are frequent guests at the bird feeder. Part of our domestic population spends the winter with us, the others move south to southern Europe and North Africa.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

The 13 cm tall stonechat is closely related to the whinchat, but not to the robin and bluethroat. Its plumage is black-brown on top, as is the throat. The breast is reddish brown in the male and light brown in the female. The white sides of the neck are a good identification feature. The stonechat lives in open, dry areas such as heather and gorse landscapes, railway embankments, gravel pits and rubble sites. The female builds the nest well hidden between vegetation in a hollow on the ground and also incubates the 5-6 eggs on her own. Two broods a year are the norm. Both parents take care of the feeding. Small insects are caught in the air from a control room or picked from the ground.

Sprout (Luscinia luscinia)

Sprout and nightingale are twin species and can hardly be distinguished from the outside. Its plumage is monochrome olive-brown on top and light gray on the underside. He is also 15-16 cm tall and the male is also an excellent singer by day and night, even if his verses are less varied. The sprout, which is also known as the Polish nightingale, has its distribution area in Eastern Europe, whereas the nightingale is more common in Western and Central Europe. In particular, the choice of habitat is different, because the sprout prefers wetlands rich in undergrowth.

However, its brood and feeding habits are comparable. It is also ground breeder and feeds on insects, worms, spiders and berries. The sprout is also a real migratory bird and spends the winter in the East African winter quarters.

Star (Sturnus vulgaris)

When it returns home from its winter quarters in southern Europe or North Africa in February/March, it is one of the first heralds of spring, announcing itself with loud, melodious singing.

It has a black basic color and stands out in the breeding dress with its green and purple shimmer and the yellow beak. In winter dress it wears white polka dots on a black background and its beak is brown.

It is then also known as the "pearl star". Like the blackbird, the star is a real follower of culture. Originally it lives in deciduous and mixed forests, but is now also found in human settlements in gardens and parks. The nesting place in tree hollows or nesting boxes is made by the male If a female is persuaded, she builds the nest, while the male helps to get nesting material in. The 4-6 eggs are hatched by both partners.

Usually two broods take place. The young are supplied with insects and worms, which the star picks up while tapping on the ground or pulls them out of the ground. In autumn it feeds mainly on berries and fruits. At the beginning of the year, the starlings gather in smaller swarms that sit chatting in trees or march across meadows. Woe to anyone who parked his car under a berry tree. Before the starlings say goodbye to their winter quarters, they form huge swarms, which can cause considerable damage in vineyards or orchards.

Water and sea birds

General

The long, diverse coastline of Croatia and the offshore islands offer ideal living conditions for numerous bird species. Long sandy beaches or rugged rocky coasts, shallow waves or storm-tossed cliffs are the hunting grounds and nesting places of the so diverse seabirds.

The terms waterfowl or seabird are not systematically correct terms.

Rather, it is used to describe birds that live in and around water. For the sake of simplicity, we also use these terms here, but only as a generic term to facilitate orientation.

The birds described below are systematically and zoologically correctly classified.

Common tern (Sterna hirundo)

At 35 cm, the common tern is the largest tern found in Croatia. Like most species of tern, it has a jet black head. The wings are colored gray, the rest of the plumage white. Its red beak with the black tip is characteristic. Their legs are colored bright red. As its name suggests, the common tern can be found on inland waterways, but also on the seashore wherever there is sufficient food and suitable nesting sites. It prefers to breed on gravel banks, sandy beaches and in dune landscapes. The parent birds take turns breeding and raise the young birds together. In addition to small fish, crabs and aquatic insects serve as food. Common terns are migratory birds that spend the winter in Africa.

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

The common cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is the largest member of its family. It measures up to 90 cm and is therefore significantly larger than its two relatives, the common shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis, 76 cm) and the dwarf shag (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, 48 cm), both of which are also found on the Croatian coast.

Its plumage is shiny black with white cheeks and a white chin. Young cormorants have brown plumage with a dirty-white underside.

The yellowish beak is strongly hooked at the tip and is therefore ideal for fishing. Foraging for food, cormorants swim with their heads and necks submerged while they look for fish. Captured fish are devoured whole head first.

The animals are very sociable and breed in large colonies on cliffs or large trees, which die within a few years due to the sharp droppings and the breaking off of branches to build nests. Cormorants feed exclusively on fish, which is why humans viewed them as competitors and in many places they were almost extinct.

In fact, an intact ecosystem is not disturbed by the cormorant and also has enough fish ready for humans. The animals are not very shy and can often be seen sunbathing when they dry their plumage with outstretched wings after the last dive.

Seagulls (Laridae)

All of us probably know seagulls from a vacation on the North or Baltic Sea, but they can also be found in larger inland waters or garbage dumps. In winter, in particular, the animals are often drawn to the interior of the country, where they cleverly snatch one or two breadcrumbs out of the air while feeding the ducks.

Seagulls are basically omnivores that feed on all kinds of sea creatures in their natural environment, which they pick up on the shore or the surface of the sea. Carrion forms an important part of the nutritional basis. Their hook-shaped beak helps them to hold onto the usually slippery prey or to tear apart larger carcasses.

The empty animals have adapted to humans in a special way, in that they know exactly when the fishing cutters are hauling in their nets that there is fish waste to be found there. In some tourist resorts, some seagulls patrol the beach between the towels and look for unguarded picnic bags.

  • Black-backed gull (Larus fuscus)

    The black-backed gull can hardly be distinguished from the herring gull at first glance. It is only slightly smaller on average at 52-56 cm. The plumage is also very similar, but the back is dark gray to blackish in color. The legs are yellow. Their behavior is also very similar to that of the herring gull. When foraging for food, however, the animals often prefer the open sea and catch small fish there. On land, they are not so well adapted to humans and their waste, but feed primarily on mussels, crustaceans and insects, but also on the brood of other seabirds during the breeding season. Lesser black-backed gulls breed in colonies on beaches, but also in grasslands and bogs near the coast. In the hinterland you can also find them on large rivers and lakes.

  • Herring gull (Larus argentatus)

    The herring gull is the most common and at 56-66 cm also the largest gull on the Croatian coast. The back and wings are colored silver-gray, the wing tips are black with white spots. The rest of the plumage: belly, chest and head are completely white. The strong yellow beak has a noticeable red spot on the underside. Their legs are flesh-colored. The herring gull is very sociable and breeds in colonies of up to 5000 pairs, preferably in the dune area. But she also makes do with cliffs or even house roofs. The nest is usually built from plant material, depending on what the environment has to offer from beach plants, small branches and seaweed. They feed on a variety of marine animals (crabs, crabs, lugworms, snails) and carrion that has washed ashore. They also use the artificial food supply in the form of fishing waste or in landfills. During the breeding season they also hunt eggs and young chicks of other seabird species. The adult birds break away when the eggs are brooding. Just a few days after hatching, the chicks leave the nest as so-called place stools in order to hide in the immediate vicinity. There they are then looked after by their parents together.

Terns (Sternidae)

As the name suggests, terns are true flight acrobats, whose flying skills are in no way inferior to those of the swallows in the interior. Their long forked tail and long, pointed wings help them with this. As shock divers, they mainly feed on small fish, which they catch shortly below the surface of the water after a lightning-fast dive. Their characteristic is their flight while foraging for food, in which they always keep their heads down and align their beak perpendicular to the water.

Little tern (Sterna albifrons) At 24 cm, the little tern is the little cousin of the common tern. It differs from it by its yellow beak with black tip and its white spot on the forehead. Their legs are a little lighter and orange-yellow in color. It prefers the seashore and is rarely found in inland waters. It also breeds on the beach or in the dunes and always builds its nest on the ground. When hunting small fish over the sea, you can often see them standing in the air, flapping their wings vigorously (the so-called shaking) until they discover their prey and dive into the water. The little terns are also migratory birds and spend the winter in Africa.

Croatia: plants

Trees

The mixed forests consist of beech, fir, chestnut and pine, with Aleppo pines dominating.

Only a few forests are left of the Slavonian pine, which was once common. The pine, famous for its extremely hard wood, was increasingly felled and used for the construction of the ships of Venice and Dubrovnik.

Maritime pines and, in some places, pine trees were planted on the coast. Particularly hardy species such as the holm oak, the strawberry tree, stone linden and tamarisk grow here.

The latter are 1 - 3 m high shrubs with very long roots that reach into the groundwater.

So they can also thrive on salt and limestone soils. The evergreen sticky seed, which grows both as a tree and as a shrub, thrives in many gardens. It is named after the plant's seeds, which are surrounded by sticky resin. Cypresses, oleanders and some palm trees

grow in the hinterland of Istria.

Crops

Black truffles (Tuber Aestivum Vitt) also known as the summer truffles, of various sizes - from the size of a cherry to the size of an apple. The most famous sites in Croatia are in Istria.

Many different wild herbs thrive on the Adriatic coast.

These include thyme, real sage, oregano, rosemary, sea fennel and thymbra and karst mountain mint. Lavender is particularly widespread. Olive and lemon trees grow in sheltered places on the coast.

There are also fig, apple and orange trees.

Corn, wheat, soy and tobacco are grown in the Pannonian Plain, with wine growing on the hills.

The root tubers of Baumerika are used to make tobacco pipes and are harvested when the shrub is 25 - 50 years old.

Medicinal plants

The root of Affodil was used in ancient times to protect against pregnancy because it has a strong abortion effect. Internally it was used for gastrointestinal complaints and cramps and externally as a paste for swelling, infections and dermatitis. Affodil was also placed on graves because it was also considered the food of the spirits of the dead and was a symbol of life after death. The broom has a calming, water and diuretic effect and promotes labor. However, an overdose can lead to cardiac arrest. All widely known herbs growing in Croatia, in addition to their use in cooking, also have healing properties.

True sage reduces perspiration, relieves coughs, has an antiseptic and wound healing effect and is also used for abdominal diseases. It also alleviates diarrhea and indigestion and reduces milk production (e.g. when weaning).

Oregano has an expectorant, antispasmodic, cholagogue, appetite-stimulating and digestive effect.

The essential oil of the plant is used for Candida mycoses.

Rosemary also has an antispasmodic and stimulant effect, helps with low blood pressure, indigestion and rashes.

Thyme supports the digestion of fatty and heavy foods, it relieves coughs and is expectorant. The essential oil is used as a disinfectant. The Egyptians are said to have used the plant to embalm the dead.

Externally, thyme is used for inflammation of the mouth and throat mucosa.

As an infusion, the sea fennel has a blood-purifying, diuretic and digestive effect. The leaves can also be eaten raw or pickled like cucumber, which stimulates the appetite and helps against scurvy. The sea fennel grows in crevices by the sea and on the Mediterranean coast. The approximately 4 cm tall plant also has a dehydrating and fat-reducing effect. Lavender is very common in Croatia and grows as a heavily branched and partially woody 20 - 60 cm shrub. The purple flowers are collected in July and August.

Used internally, they have a calming effect and are often recommended for restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. Lavender also has a diuretic, gas-inducing and antispasmodic effect. Applied externally, however, it is irritating to the skin. It is also said that lavender pillows are supposed to protect against moths in between washings.

Poisonous plants

Poisonous milkweed plants such as thorn bush and myrtle wolf milk thrive in the stony regions of the coast.

The rare hollyfrom the holly family is an evergreen shrub or tree that can reach a height of 6 m and live up to 300 years. Other names are piercing sleeve, piercing oak and palm or Christmas thorn. It is named after its leathery and thorny toothed leaves, which are brightly colored on the underside and dark green on the upper side. It blooms with inconspicuous small white flowers between May and June, so that the fruits ripen in autumn. These are first green, later coral red. Both the leaves and the fruit are poisonous, and children in particular should be careful as a dose of 20-30 berries is considered fatal to them. The symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea and drowsiness.

The buckthorn is a shrub up to 3 m tall with thorny branches. It is widespread in Europe, Western Asia, and North America. The pea-sized, black fruits can be used as a light laxative, but there is a risk of poisoning. As the berries are poisonous, gastrointestinal problems can occur.

The American agave has yellow-edged, fleshy and prickly leaves in which the plant stores water and nutrients. It only blooms in old age, but then with inflorescences up to 4 m high. The plant is slightly poisonous and contact can cause skin irritation and conjunctivitis. In their home country Mexico it is used to make tequila.

The gorse grows in bright and sunny places on rocky or stony ground. All parts of the plant are poisonous and it can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and cardiovascular disorders. However, the gorse, which belongs to the butterfly family, also has healing properties.

The common dinghy oil is a bushy annual plant.

The plants reach a height of 0.2 to 1.2 m, rarely up to 2 m.

All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the roots and seeds.

More plants

On the coast only maquis can thrive almost exclusively. This includes the affodil, various terrestrial orchids, wild tulips and red anemones. Often that is Myrtle represented, as was the strawberry - and juniper shrub, tree Erika, the toxic broom, lily family, the dwarf iris and lunch - Iris.

Baumerikais an evergreen tree-like heather from the heather family and the only species of the genus Erica that can grow to a 10 m high tree. It is also found in mountains in East Africa and the Canary Islands.

Particularly resistant plants such as viburnum, buckthorn and heather grow here.

In stony regions, there are thorns cloves, Gewimperte cloves, star anemones, rose plants, the rod-vetch, which rushes Kronwicke and the highly endangered European solstice. Other plants that also grow here are theSporades bellflower, the rather inconspicuous dwarf dolweed and the snow-white alant.

Low vines and the poisonous Christ thorn, which is also known as holly, grow on the central coast and on some islands.

The Adriatic violet is endemic and only grows on the Croatian Adriatic.

The Dalmatian knapweed also only thrives on the Kvarner islands.

In late spring you can admire blooming water lilies in the Lonjsko Polje and Kopacki Rit marshes.

Mimosa and Bougainvilleathrive in the hinterland of Istria.

 

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