The roe deer holds a special place in the Guadarrama National Park, not only for its beauty but also because it serves as a valuable indicator of human activities within the area. It is a living testament to the history of Guadarrama itself. There have been traces of this species dating back to the Middle and Upper Pleistocene in Pinilla del Valle, showcasing its presence in this region even during crucial Pleistocene refuges in the Sierra, which played a pivotal role in the species’ recovery after glacial periods.
During the 17th century, roe deer populations across Europe suffered a significant decline due to deforestation, livestock farming, and intensive hunting. In the early 19th century, Graells was still hunting them throughout the Sierra de Guadarrama. (Mariano de la Paz Graells, a Spanish naturalist and biologist who lived during the 19th century. He was known for his contributions to the field of natural history and was involved in the study of various aspects of Spain’s flora and fauna during his time.)
The Roe deer – Capreolus capreolus – Corzo is a small to medium-sized deer that is native to Europe, western Asia, and parts of northern Africa. They are one of the most widespread deer species in Europe, and are also found in the Caucasus region and some parts of Asia.
The Roe deer has a reddish-brown coat with a distinctive white rump patch and a small, black nose. They have slender bodies and long, spindly legs, which are adapted for running and jumping. Roe deer are typically around 60-75 cm tall at the shoulder, and males (bucks) can weigh up to 35 kg, while females (does) are usually around 25 kg.
Habitat and behavior
Roe deer are primarily found in woodland areas, although they can also be found in grasslands and other open habitats. They are active during the day and the night, but are most active during dawn and dusk. Roe deer are generally solitary animals, although they may form small groups during the winter months.
Roe deer are herbivores, and their diet consists mainly of leaves, shoots, and buds from a variety of trees and shrubs. In the winter, when food is scarce, they may also feed on bark, and they have been known to occasionally eat agricultural crops.
Roe deer mate in late July and early August, with the females giving birth to one or two fawns the following May or June. The fawns are born with a spotted coat, which helps them blend in with their surroundings.
The Roe deer is listed as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as it has a large and stable population throughout much of its range. However, in some areas, they are hunted for their meat and hides, and in some places, habitat loss and fragmentation have caused local declines in population.
Roe deer – Capreolus capreolus – Corzo in Spain
in Spanish, the Roe deer is called “Corzo”. Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are native to Europe and have been present in the Iberian Peninsula, which includes modern-day Spain and Portugal, since the end of the last Ice Age. So, Roe deer are not introduced to Spain, they are native to the region.
In fact, the Roe deer is one of the most common and widespread species of deer in Spain, and has played an important role in Spanish culture and folklore for centuries. They have been depicted in art, literature, and even in the coats of arms of some Spanish towns and regions. Roe deer are an important part of the country’s natural heritage, and are valued both for their ecological role and for their cultural significance.
The preferred habitat of Roe deer in Spain is typically woodland areas, especially mixed deciduous forests. However, they can also be found in more open habitats such as grasslands and heathlands, as well as in agricultural areas. The availability of suitable habitat, including adequate cover and food sources, is important for the survival and population growth of Roe deer in Spain.
Hunting of Roe deer is also a popular activity in many areas of Spain, both for sport and for population management purposes.