The Botanical Garden, a spot of biodiversity in the city-centre of Florence, is also a safe space for wildlife.
Many species of birds live in the Botanical Garden and find here a place where they can feed, reproduce and rest; from the most common blackbirds and robins till to rarer species such as the great spotted woodpecker, hoopoe, wryneck and nuthatch, which exploit the cavities of large trees for nesting. In order to improve the knowledge of the species actually present, seasonal monitoring of the avifauna is underway. Our aim is to get a complete checklist of wintering and nesting birds in the Botanic Garden.
The enthomological fauna is also remarkably rich, ranging from pollinating insects (butterflies, domestic bees, solitary bees, diptera, wasps) to xylophagous insects, such as the rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes nasicornis). Very peculiar is the presence of Megascolia maculata, the largest wasp in Europe, whose larvae parasitize those of the rhinoceros beetle.
To spread useful insects, a 'bug hotel' has been placed near the flowerbeds devoted to medicinal species. Various species of insects can find refuge and nesting areas there, including pollinators, predators and parasitoids, which play fundamental ecological roles such as pollination and biological pest control. In order to spread the knowledge about pollinating insects, the Botanical Garden joined the citizen science project X-Polli:nation, coordinated by the Natural History Museum of the Maremma.
Spring is the best period when we can observe the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex), that lives in the pools for native aquatic plants at the Montagnola sector. Even if the species is really very much diffused in Italy, this amphibian seems to be steadily declining in many locations, due both to the lacking of wetlands and to the increasing impact of alien species, especially predators. The population living in the Botanical Garden hosts about 20 individuals and this number is growing, according to the latest monitoring in 2022.
Photo gallery of some of the bird species in the Botanical Garden