Mistério da Prainha
With about 716 hectares, Mistério da Prainha belongs to the São Roque – Piedade Volcanic Complex and had its origin in a volcanic eruption that started on September 1562 and ended in 1564, the longest historical eruption of the Azores.
In this Nature Reserve, it is possible to find hornitos (small spatter cones), volcanic scoria cones, caves and several pahoehoe lava fields, on which developed vegetation with a high concentration of endemic plants: Arceuthobium azoricum and Daboecia azorica.
From these covered plants stands out the formations dominated by Erica azorica and Juniperus brevifolia, called endemic Macaronesian woodlands, and the formations dominated by Deschampsia foliosa, Holcus rigidus and Festuca francoi, called Macaronesian “orófilos” meadows.
It is possible to observe several bird species such as the Fringilla coelebs moreletti and the Buteo buteo rothschildi, protected by the Birds Directive, and also the birds Turdus merula azorensis, Regulus regulus inermis and Columba palumbus azorica. Also exist the specie Nyctalus azoreum, protected by the Habitats Directive, and several arthropod endemic species such as Minicia floresensis and Tarphius tornvalli.
This nature reserve is included in the Montanha, Prainha and Caveiro Special Area ofConservation (SAC) and Zona Central do Pico Special Protection Area (SPA) within the Natura 2000 network, in the Zona Central do Pico Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) and in the Planalto da Achada priority geosite of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark.