IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
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Guide to Spain CO-CU

coal tit : carbonero garrapinos: mallerenga petita (Cat) (Parus ater)

coastal lagoon : albufera, the most famous of which is L'Albufera just south of Valencia . From the Arabic, al-buhaira , for the lagoon or the small sea. In Catalan it is aiguamolls (literally and tautologically, wet waters)

cobweb : tela de araña

cochid bug : cochinilla

cockroach : cucaracha. The English word is Spanish in origin.

collared pratincole : canastera común; perdiu de mar (Cat) ( Glareola pratincola )

Bird and mammal species beginning with 'common' (for aesthetic reasons I've stuck these together in a box)


  • common bee-eater : abejaruco común : abellerol; (Cat) ( Merops apiaster)
  • common bullfinch : camachuelo común : pinsà borroner; (Cat) ( Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
  • Common Buzzard : Busardo Ratonero : aligot; (Cat) ( Buteo buteo)
  • common chaffinch : pinzón vulgar : pinsà comú; (Cat) ( Fringilla coelebs)
  • common chiffchaff : mosquitero común : mosquiter comú; (Cat) ( Phylloscopus collybita)
  • common coot : focha común; fotxa; (Cat) ( Fulica atra)
  • common crane : grulla común : grua; (Cat) ( Grus grus)
  • common crossbill : piquituerto común : trencapinyes; (Cat) ( Loxia curvirostra)
  • common cuckoo : cuco común : cucut; (Cat) ( Cuculus canorus)
  • common eider : eider común : eider; (Cat) ( Somateria mollissima)
  • common goldeneye : porrón osculado : morell d'ulls grocs; (Cat) ( Bucephala clangula)
  • common guillemot : arao común : somorgollaire; (Cat) ( Uria aalge)
  • common gull : gaviota cana : gavina cendrosa; (Cat) ( Larus canus)
  • common kestrel : cernícalo vulgar : xoriguer; (Cat) ( Falco tinnunculus)
  • common kingfisher : martín pescador : blauet; (Cat) ( Alcedo atthis)
  • common pheasant : faisán vulgar : faisà vulgar; (Cat) ( Phasianus colchicus)
  • common pochard : porrón europeo : morell de cap-roig; (Cat) ( Aythya ferina)
  • common quail : codorniz común : guatlla; (Cat) ( Coturnix coturnix)
  • common raven : cuervo : corb; (Cat) ( Corvus corax)
  • common redshank : archibebe común : gamba roja vulgar; (Cat) ( Tringa tetanus)
  • common redstart : colirrojo real : cotxa cua-roja; (Cat) ( Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
  • common rosefinch : camachuelo carminoso; Carpodacus erythrinus)
  • common sandpiper : andarríos chico : xivitona vulgar; (Cat) ( Actitis hypoleucos)
  • common scoter : negrón común : ànec negre; (Cat) ( Melanitta nigra)
  • common shelduck : tarro blanco : ànec blanc; (Cat) ( Tadorna tadorna)
  • common snipe : agachadiza común : becadell comú; (Cat) ( Gallinago gallinago)
  • common starling : estornino pinto : estornell vulgar; (Cat) ( Sturnus vulgaris)
  • common stonechat : tarabilla común : bitxac comú; (Cat) ( Saxicola torquata)
  • common swift : vencejo común : falzia; (Cat) ( Apus apus)
  • common teal : cerceta común : xarxet; (Cat) ( Anas crecca)
  • common tern : charrán común : xatrac comú; (Cat) ( Sterna hirundo)
  • common waxbill : pico de coral; Estrilda astrild)
  • common whitethroat : curruca zarcera : tallareta vulgar; (Cat) ( Sylvia communis)
  • common wood pigeon : paloma torcaz : tudó; (Cat) ( Columba palumbus)


  • common dormouse : muscadino común : Muscardinus avellanarius
  • common mole : topo europeo : Talpa europaea
  • common pipistrelle : murciélago enano (or de Cabrera) : Pipistrellus mediterraneus
  • common seal : foca moteada : Phoca vitulina
  • common shrew : musaraña bicolor (or colicuadrada) : Sorex araneus
  • common vole : topillo campesino : Microtus arvalis

coot : focha

  • common coot : focha común; fotxa; (Cat) ( Fulica atra)
  • crested coot : focha moruna : Fotja banyuda; (Cat) ( Fulica cristata)

copse : bosquecillo; bosquete :

cordel : cañada (drover's road) measuring 45 varas (around 40 metres) wide

corn bunting : triguero ( Miliaria calandra)

corn field : maizal

corncrake : guión de codornices ( Crex crex)

corncrake : guión de codornices : Guatlla maresa (Cat); ( Crex crex) . The bizarrely named guión de codornices is rare in Spain .

cortines : dry stone walls built around beehives to protect them from bears. : cortines (Gal.) :

cory's shearwater : pardela cenicienta : Baldriga cendrosa; (Cat) ( Calonectris diomedea)

Costa del Sol. An invention of the Spanish tourist board in the 1960's. Stretches westwards from Malaga city into the province of Cádiz.

J.G. Ballard wrote some fine landscape pieces on the architype of all Costas:

The mountains had withdrawn from the sea, keeping their distance a mile inland, Near Sotogrande the golf courses began to multiply like the symptoms of a hypertrophied grassland cancer. White-walled Andalusian pueblos presided over the greens and fairways, fortified villages guarding their pastures, but in fact these miniature townships were purpose-built villa complexes financed by Swiss and German property speculators, the winter homes not of local shepherds but of Düsseldorf ad-men and Zürich television executives.

And later

The retirement pueblos lay by the motorway, embalmed in a dream of the sun from which they would never awake. As always when I drove along the coast to Marbella I seemed to be moving through a zone that was fully accessible only to a neuroscientist and scarcely at all to a travel writer. The white facades of the villas and the apartment houses were like blocks of time that had crystallised by the side the road. Here on the Costa del Sol nothing would ever happen again and the people of the pueblos were already the ghosts of themselves.

J.G. Ballard 'Cocaine Nights' 1996

coto de caza: hunting reserve. Signs indicating cotos de caza are an essential part of the Spanish roadside landscape.

countryside : campo; campiña.

True countryside, as the English would understand it, a tame and managed idyll of stiles, twitchers and stockbrokers, is not really understood as such in Spain , generally being more restricted to parts of northern Spain and Catalonia . Perhaps the best example would be the Ampordán (Empordà) in northern Catalonia , described by the Catalan poet Josep Plà as a "middle-class landscape". Much of rural or wild Spain is often classified as monte , that vague term meaning 'hill', or 'hills', but also undulating forested wilderness, rather than hills per se, similar perhaps to the Aussies' 'bush'. This is what the Real Academia says of monte:

1. m. Gran elevación natural de terreno.
2. Tierra inculta cubierta de árboles, arbustos o matas.

Here much of the land was traditionally a harsh environ to fear and to subject, and ultimately to flee (from the land and from the semi-feudal system). Conversely, many Spaniards still maintain an organic link with their pueblo, campo and tierra. They may well have a family home in the village. They may still hunt, for small game has always been the preserve of the poor. MORE TO COME

courser : corridor; cream-coloured courser : corredor sahariano (Cursorius cursor)

cove : cala; caleta

cow : vaca

Spanish Cows and Beef


  • A tudanca, a breed of autocthonous cattle from Cantabria

Although beef now forms an essential part of many Spaniards' diet, there was apparently a paucity of recipes in much of Spain for beef until recent times. This is no surprise in a land where summer drought made it very difficult to raise more than a few heads of cattle. During the Middle Ages, lamb was consumed by Christians, Muslims and Jews, and pork only by Christians, but cows and bulls tended to be working animals used in the fields, and were only slaughtered for food when they were old or sick. It probably wasn't until the 1960's when the Spanish en masse began to eat beef, spurring and spurred on by cheaper, industrially produced meat. Read complete article (by Nick Lloyd and Francis Barrett)

Notes on autochthonous Spanish cows

  • Asturiana de la montaña or Casina : breed of Asturian cow with a reddish hide and black rings around its eyes. Currently endangered. In theory, provides milk for casin cheese. Asturiana de los valles . Much larger.
  • Avileña negra ibérica. Black. Mountains of the Sistema Central in Castile . Top quality meat. One of the oldest breeds in Europe .
  • Blanca cacereña : white, sporting hooked horns. Raised for meat. Cáceres y Badajoz.
  • Berrenda en colorado/en negro . Generally for transport. Western Andalusia
  • Alistana Sanabresa . Chestnut. Raised for meat. Aliste and Sanabria ( Zamora ).
  • Caldeana : black, long-horned. Raised for meat. Restricted to the county of Castrocaldelas (Ourense).
  • Cardena Andaluza : Black, grey cow with large papada from Andalusia. Transport. and meat. Critically endangered. In the early 1990's just 7 breeding females remained. Adapted to dehesa lands. Lives together with the fighting bulls.
  • Lidia : generally black. Bred for the classic Spanish fighting bull. Andalucia, Salamanca , Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura. The Vistahermosa variety provides 95% of all fighting bulls. A brava (fighting) cattle farm will typically be made up of 300-400 heads of cattle, in a proportion of one bull for every fifty cows.
  • Limiana : small brown cow with curly horns. Raised for meat. Ourense , Galicia .
  • Menorquina/Mahonesa : light-brown. Raised for meat. Menorca .
  • Monchina : very small, but hardy and agressive reddish brown cow. From semi-wild stock. A working cow. Confluence of Santander , Vizcaya, Burgos and Álava
  • Morucha/Salmantina : Olive black. Raised for meat and sometimes for fighting. Salamanca and Cáceres. An ancient breed, believed to be a descendant of the primitive Bos Taurus Ibericus . They spend their lives grazing the sparse and arid monte , producing lean and distinctive meat.
  • Negra andaluza : Sierra Morena, working cow, Cordoba and Seville
  • Retinta : dark brown. Extremadura.
  • Rubia gallega : Galicia
  • Tudanca : breed of grey-black, long-horned cattle from Cantabria, characterised by white patching over eyes known as a sanguijuela , and short front legs, an adaptation to the steep slopes of the Cabuérniga and Nansa Valleys in the Cantabrian mountains, where it almost exclusively found. The cow takes its name from the village of Tudanca in the latter valley. The male is almost jet black like a typical Spanish fighting bull. Nowadays, it is bred exclusively for its frankly superb meat. Tudancas are moved up to the high pastures to graze on 15th-16th June until where they are left until October. There are reckoned to be some 15,000 left, though many of these are probably mixed with Frisian or other breeds. Considered to be "endangered". Brief but excellent Tudanca lover site here .:


Cow vocabulary

While 'vaca' certainly is the generic word in Castilian, there is a tendency to use 'vaca' for a milk cow and 'ternero' for a beef cow.

  • vaca: animal aged more than 36 months
  • toro: bull
  • ternero/a: the standard word for calf (less than one year old.)
  • ternero/a lechal: milk calf (veal)
  • añojo/a : weaned calf aged 5-18 months
  • jato/a: calf
  • becerro : one- or two-year old calf
  • novillo/a : 18-36-month old calf
  • choto/a : (novillo) calf aged 18-36 months
  • toro de lidia: fighting bull
  • buey: castrated bull; ox
  • ganado: cattle
  • res: cow; head of cattle
  • cencerro : cow bell
  • bou: (Cat.): bull
  • vedella: (Cat.): calf
  • brau: (Cat.): bull
  • papada: dewlap
  • ubre: udder
  • pezuña: hoof
  • cuerno: horn

External links:

coypu : coipú (Mycocastor coypus )

This huge Argentinean rodent has been present in Europe since 1920, where it is considered a pest species because of the damage it does to wetlands. It spread into the Basque Country and Navarra from France where it escaped from fur farms, and is still restricted to small riverine enclaves in this area. Currently an adult coypu's only natural predator in Spain is the domestic dog, though with the recent spread of the wolf this may change.

crack : grieta

crag martin : avión roquero : roquerol (Cat) (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)

crag : peña; risco; crestón; penya (Cat.);pena (Gal.) craggy area. : riscal

crake : Baillon's crake : polluela chica : Porzana pusilla

crane : grulla; common crane : grulla común ( Grus grus)

crater : cráter

creek : caleta

creeper (plant) : trepador(a)

cream-coloured courser : corredor sahariano; corredor (Cat) (Cursorius cursor)

crested coot : focha moruna; fotja banyuda (Cat) (Fulica cristata)

crested lark : cogujada común; Cogullada vulgar (Cat) (Galerida cristata)

crested tit : herrerillo capuchino; mallerenga emplomallada (Cat) (Parus cristatus)

cricket : grillo

crossbill : piquituerto common crossbill : piquituerto común (Loxia curvirostra)

crow : cuervo; carrion crow : corneja ( Corvus corone)

cruceiro: roadside cross found throughout Galicia. Traditionally seen as a gateway to the much populated Galician underworld

cub : cachorro ; bear cub : osezno; escañeto (Cant.;: wolf cub: lobezno

cuckoo : cuco; common cuckoo : cuco común ( Cuculus canorus)

curlew sandpiper : correlimos zarapitín; territ bec-llarg (Cat) (Calidris ferruginea)

cut-off low : gota fria used by extension and erroneously for any stormy weather in Autumn along Mediterranean coast.

cuckoo: cucu

  • common cuckoo : cuco común : Cucut (Cat) (Cuculus canorus)
  • great spotted cuckoo : críalo europeo : cucut reial (Cat) (Clamator glandarius)

Cumbre Vieja: the contentious Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of Las Palmas is claimed to be the potential trigger of megatsumani which if unleashed would devaste the USA's Eastern Seaboard. See full article here Mega-tsunami of La Palma.

Cumbre Vieja (1) is part of the stratavolcano (2) that is La Palma. A ridge runs southwards from the Caldera de Taburiente in the centre of the island, made up of the smaller Cumbre Nueva to the north, and Cumbre Vieja to the south, which despite its name was formed by much more recent volcanic activity. In historical times, eruptions have taken place in 1585, which produced Tahuya, a 1000m high cone of lapilli, scoria and bombs by Strombolian eruptions, 1646, which produced the lava flows that reached the SW coast, and, 1712, 1949, and most recently in 1971 which produced the produced the Teneguia cinder cone.

(2)A volcano composed of both lava flows and pyroclastic material

(1) Classified as a ridge volcano.

Images stolen from here (loads of great pics)

External links (above) and Volcano World - La Palma