Wild Birds of Naxos

Release of a juvenile Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in mountainous Naxos island.

The island of Naxos has a variety of habitats and lays on the eastern Mediterranean migratory route for wild birds. You can read more on the different kinds of habitats of the island here!
Resident and migratory species can be found on the island throughout the year.
The species listed below have either been observed on the field by members of “Naxos Wildlife Protection’s” association and/or have been hospitalized at our first aid care station. We are certain there are more species to be found!

When it comes to providing medical care to wild birds, “Naxos Wildlife Protection” functions as a first aid care station in cooperation with the Aegean Wildlife Hospital “ALKYONI”.

Release of a Black-headed Gull (Chroicophalus ridibundus) in the Wildlife Refuge.

The Griffon Vultures

“Naxos Wildlife Protection” has been observing for 5 years the condition of the resident population of Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) and runs different projects every year, such as reintegration of hospitalized or new individuals, as well as monitoring the population trend and the nests. Many decades ago, the resident population of Griffon Vultures was high, but due to anthropogenic causes such as poisoning, poaching, habitat disturbance and prejudice from locals (that the Vultures fed on their cattle), it decreased to approximately 35 individuals only five years ago.
Today, the population numbers to more than 70 individuals.
This is thanks to the education of the residents of the island and the cooperation of local livestock breeders and Vultures!
Nowadays, Griffon Vultures have become a highlight of one’s road trip to the mountainous part of the island playing a vital role in the ecosystem of the island, as they feed exclusively on carcasses, thus cleaning nature from carrion and the diseases they might carry.

Threats

On the island of Naxos, the main threat against the wild avian fauna is illegal hunting, whether it is accidental or on purpose, many protected species end up losing their lives or get seriously injured. Additionally, hunting during non-hunting period takes place, which not only harms the already declining populations of many species, but also creates nuisance, affecting the behavior of the birds and causing health issues.
Besides that, poisoning and poaching with illegal methods, such as net trapping and limesticks takes place. Some species of birds, such as Robins (Erithacus rubecula), are considered in some areas of the island a delicacy and served in restaurants, even though they are a protected species according to the Birds Directive of the E.U..
Wild birds are also caught for keeping as pets, a tradition especially in Greece focusing mostly on songbirds like Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis).
Also, wild birds are caught for illegal marketing.
Habitat loss, due to uncontrolled development, agriculture and illegal logging, and human-caused nuisance, such as too many cars during the summertime, use of pyrotechnics and free-roaming pets are some more threats of the wild birds of the island.

A Grey Heron suffering from an injury caused by a hunting rifle. The Grey Heron belongs to the species protected against hunting.

A Griffon Vulture suffering from poisoning, probably from a poisoned carcass he fed on.

Robins trapped on limesticks. This species is considered a delicacy in some villages of Naxos. Fortunately, these two individuals survived and were released a few days later.

A case of captured wild birds, specifically Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Linnets meant for trade. The majority were treated only for a few days before release, the rest were sent to the Aegean Wildlife Hospital “ALKYONI” in Paros island for hospitalization. On top of the cages are limesticks found in the crime scene.

A nestling Scops Owl who fell from its nest and was attacked by cats. Luckily, its parents were nearby keeping the cats away from their young one. The nestling was successfully placed back in the safety of its nest.
Cats are a major threat for wild bird chicks.

The Law

Greece, being a member of the European Union, has committed to specific laws according to the EU Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC) abiding to protecting wild bird species and their habitats, as well as the national law on Conservation of Biodiversity (Law 3937/2011).
The central points of these laws are as follows:

  • All wild birds are protected. Their capture, killing and persecution is prohibited (with the exception of proper hunting). This applies to their eggs, nests and habitats.
  • Use of traps, electronic callers, live decoys and nets is prohibited.
  • Hunting outside the hunting season is prohibited (in Greece the hunting period lasts in general from end of August until the end of February).
  • Coastal wetlands of Naxos are protected.
  • Within recognized Wildlife Refuges, hunting, capturing and persecution of all wild fauna is prohibited (even during hunting season).
  • Deliberate disturbance of the wild birds is prohibited, especially during breeding and nesting season.
  • The sale, transport for sale, keeping for sale and the offering for sale of live or dead wild birds is prohibited.

Since the beginning of “Naxos Wildlife Protection’s” work, our volunteers have searched, located and filed complaints to the authorities against illegal actions in order to protect and rescue wild birds and their habitats (e.g. the case of the Wildlife Refuge in Western Naxos).

How you can help!


In case you witness an illegal action against wild birds, such as the cases mentioned above, contact immediately “Naxos Wildlife Protection” or the authorities.

Species of Wild Birds of Naxos

Below, you can find a list with the species of wild birds found on Naxos island.

Birds of Prey


Common nameScientific nameM: migratory
R: resident
Griffon VultureGyps fulvusR
Short-toed eagleCircaetus gallicusM
Bonelli’s eagleAquilla fasciataM
Marsh harrierCircus aeruginosusM
Hen harrierCircus cyaneusM
BuzzardButeo buteoR
Honey buzzardPernis apivorusM
Eurasian sparrohawkAccipiter nisusM
KestrelFalco tinnunculusR
Red-footed kestrelFalco vespertinusM
HobbyFalco subbuteoM
Eleonora’s falconFalco eleonoraeM
Long eared owlAsio otusR
Short eared owlAsio flammeusR
Barn owlTyto albaR
Little owlAthene noctuaR
Scops owlOtus scopsR
Hooded crowCorvus cornixR
Carrion crowCorvus coroneR
Long legged buzzardButeo rufinusM

Wading and Aquatic Birds

Common nameScientific nameM: migratory
R: resident
White fronted gooseAnser albifronsM
ShelduckTadorna tadornaM
Ruddy shelduckTadorna ferrugineaM
MallardAnas platyrhynchosM
PintailAnas acutaM
ShovelerAnas clypeataM
WigeonAnas penelopeM
TealAnas creccaM
GarganeyAnas querquedulaM
PochardAythya ferinaM
Ferruginous duckAythya nyrocaM
Slavonian grebePodiceps auritusM
Black necked grebePodiceps nigricollisM
Little grebeTaehybaptus ruficollisM
White pelicanPelecanus onocrotalusM
CormorantPhalacrocorax carboM
BitternBotaurus stellarisM
Little bitternIxobrynchus minutusM
Night heronNycticorax nycticoraxM
Cattle egretBubulcus ibisM
Squacco heronArdeola ralloidesM
Little egretEgretta garzettaM
Great egretCasmerodius radiusM
Grey heronArdea cinereaM
Purple heronArdea purpureaM
White storkCiconia ciconiaM
Glossy ibisPlegadis falcinellusM
FlamingoPhoenicopterus ruberM
Water railRallus aquaticusM
MoorhenGallinula chloropusM
CootFulica atraM
CraneGrus grusM
OystercatcherHaematopus astralegusM
AvocetRecuruirostra avosettaM
Black winged stiltHimantopus himantopusM
Little ringed ploverCharadrius dubiusM
Kentish ploverCharadrius alexandrinusM
Golden ploverPluvialis apricariaM
LapwingVanellus vanellusM
DunlinCalidris alpinaM
Wood sandpiperTringa glareolaM
Black tailed godwitLimosa limosaM
Spotted redshankTringa erythropusM
RuffPhilomachus pugnaxM
Mute swanCygnus olorM

Seabirds

Common nameScientific nameM: Migratory
R: Resident
ShagPhalacrocorax aristotelisM
Black headed gullChroicoceplahlus ridibundusM
Herring gullLarus argentatusR
Audouin’s gullLarus audouiniiM
Mediterranean gullLarus melanocephalusM
White winged ternChlidonias leucopterusM
Little gullHydrocoloeus minutusM
Scopoli’s shearwaterCalonectris d. dimonedeaM
Yelkouan shearwaterPuffinus yelkouanM
Storm petrelHydrobates pelagicusM
Gull-billed ternGelochelidon nolitocaM
Sandwich TernSterna sandvicensisM

Passerine and Songbirds

Common nameScientific nameM: Migratory
R: Resident
Cirl buntingEmberiza cirlusM
SerinSerinus serinusM
SiskinCarduelis spinusM
GreenfinchChloris chlorisM
GoldfinchCarduelis carduelisM
LinnetCannabina cannabinaM
ChaffinchFringilla coelebsM
ChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybitaM
Olivaceous warblerIduna pallidaM
Sardinian warblerSylvia melanocephalaM
BlackcapSylvia atricapillaM
StonechatSaxicola rubicolaM
Black eared wheateaterOenanthe hispanicaM
RobinErithacus rubeculaM
Willow warblerPhylloscopus trochilusM

Other birds

Common nameScientific nameM: Migratory
R: Resident
Turtle doveStreptopelia turturM
Collared doveStreptopelia decaoctoR
HoopoeUpupa epopsM
KingfisherAlcedo atthisM
Bee eaterMerops apiasterM
Barn swallowHirundo rusticaM
White wagtailMotacilla albaM
Yellow wagtailMotacilla flavaM
Blue rock thrushMonticola solitariusM
HawfinchCoccothraustes coccothraustesM
ChukarAlectoris chukarM
QuailCoturnix coturnixM
CorncrakeCrex crexM
WoodcockScolopax rusticolaM
StarlingSturnus vulgarisM
Song thrushTurdus philomelosM
Crested larkGalerida cristataM
Eurasian stone curlewBurhinus oedicnemusM

Birds of prey on Naxos island: (clockwise) Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae), Scops Owl (Otus scops).

Aquatic birds: (clockwise) Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea), Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Pintails (Anas acuta), White Storks (C. ciconia), flock of Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).

Seabirds: (clockwise) Slender-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus genei), flock of Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica), Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis), White-winged Tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)

Passerine and Songbirds: (clockwise) Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), Goldfinch (C. carduelis), Siskin (Carduelis spinus), Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Chl. chloris), Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)

Other birds: (clockwise) Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius), Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), a Chukar and her chicks (Alectoris chukar), Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava).

Papavasiliou street
Naxos town, 84300
Greece