Morro de Castelo Branco
Located in Castelo Branco parish, this Nature Reserve occupies about 16 hectares and has its highest point at 149 metres.
Morro de Castelo Branco is associated with the central volcano of Caldeira do Faial (caldera) and forms a peninsula connected to the island by an isthmus. It is a trachytic dome which high-viscosity lavas did not flow easily and accumulated over the vent, forming this dome-shaped structure. The dome displays vertical rocky cliffs affected by marine erosion, and the trachytic rock is greatly altered, hence the typical whitish colour and the name of Castelo Branco (white castle).
It is a nesting habitat for birds with protection status, namely the Calonectris borealis that settles in this place between March and October, the Puffinus lherminieri baroli and the Sterna hirundo. It is a sighting site for protected marine fauna such as the Delphinus delphis, the Tursiops truncatus and the Caretta caretta. Regarding flora stands out the endemic species Erica azorica.
Through the Rumo ao Morro de Castelo Branco walking trail (PRC05FAI) it is possible to access the trachytic dome with the same name.
This area integrates the Morro de Castelo Branco Special Area of Conservation (SAC) within the Natura 2000 network and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization and is classified as a geosite of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark.