An independent guide to Val Thorens

View of Mt Blanc from Val Thorens

Alpine animals and birds


Alpine animals and birds include mountain hares, marmots, and snow finches.

Alpine animals and birds: mountain hares

Mountain hare

The mountain hare is found in the Alps, as well as other parts of Europe. Its distinctive tracks are often seen in the snow in winter. Smaller than the brown hare, with shorter ears, one of its characteristics is a colour-change, from brown-grey in the summer to white in winter.

Read about mountain hares.

Alpine animals and birds: marmots

Marmot in the Alps

Marmots (marmottes, in French) are perhaps the most characteristic and appreciated Alpine animals. Living between 1,000 and 2,500m altitude, they spend the warmer months eating vegetation, to build up reserves for their winter hibernation in burrows.

Read about marmots.

Alpine animals and birds: crag martins

Crag martin

Crag martins come to the Alps in summer to breed, even at quite high altitudes (for example, Val Thorens at 2,300m). They return to Spain, other parts of southern Europe, or north Africa in the winter.

Read about crag martins.

Alpine animals and birds: pied wagtails

Pied wagtails

Pied wagtails are seen in spring and summer in the Alps, even at quite high altitudes. They head south to warmer climes in the winter.

Read about pied wagtails.

Alpine animals and birds: redstarts


Redstarts are very common in summer in the Alps.

Read about redstarts.

Alpine animals and birds: snow finches

Snow finch on Mont de la Chambre

Snow finches are amongst the most attractive of Alpine birds, familiar to skiers who frequent mountain restaurants. In French, they are called niverolles. They are not true finches, but actually members of the sparrow family.

Snow finches are usually found between 2,000 and 3,000m altitude, in the Alps, in other mountain ranges in Europe and Turkey, and in the Himalayas.

Read about snow finches.

Alpine animals and birds: sparrows


Sparrows live in the Alps throughout the year, including in Val Thorens, where they shelter in the eaves of buildings, and congregate in small fir trees.

Read about sparrows.

Alpine animals and birds: water pipits

Water pipit

Water pipits breed in the Alps in summer, before descending to lowland marshes and ponds in winter.

Read about water pipits.

Alpine animals and birds: butterflies & other insects

Queen of Spain fritillary

Butterflies and other insects live in the Alps, overwintering when it's cold and snowy, and emerging to enjoy the Alpine meadows in spring and summer.

Read about butterflies & other insects in the Alps.



Marmots are perhaps the most characteristic and appreciated of Alpine animals. 

Alpine animals & birds


There are many beautiful animals and birds living in the Alps.

Mountain hareMarmotte, Val ThorensPtarmigan near Pralognan

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