Avifauna of Lesvos

Out of the 455 bird species of Greece, 331 are recorded on Lesvos. The island has long been (since the 90s) a favorite birding destination for European birdwatchers. 

Lesvos island has a great variety of bird species mainly due to its geographical position, as migrating birds and birds of asian or Mediterranean distribution can be found here. Another factor favouring the diversity of birds here is the numerous different habitats:  wetlands, pine forest, olive groves, phrygana, rocky formations, islets etc. also influenced by the large size of the island.

There are two very special ("star") birds on Lesvos. In first place comes the Kruper's Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi) having a European population only on the island of Lesvos and globally distributed only in forests of Turkey and Georgia. In second place we have a Globally Threatened species, the Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea) found in western Lesvos and northern Chios, and a very restricted population on the island of Skyros. Outside Greece, the species is found in certain areas in Turkey and to a lesser extent in Iraq and Iran. 

Besides the above, there are many more species that can only be observed here and not too far to the west or north of Europe: Cretzschmar's Bunting (Emberiza caesia), Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus), Ruppell's Warbler (Sylvia rueppellii), Sombre Tit (Parus lugubris), Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica), Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina), Western Rock Nuthatch (Sitta neumayer), Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Spur-winged Plover (Vanellus spinosus), etc. Additionally, several migrant species that move within the eastern parts of Europe (while moving from or towards the southern areas where they overwinter) such as the Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis), Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereous), Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), etc.

Eleni Galinou - Environmentalist (PhD)

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