It has been said that any visit to Rhodes without bird watching is incomplete! Rhodes’ climate, its natural features and its location provide a diversity of fauna and flora ranging from the rare and unique to common and even endangered species. Many people are unaware that the island is home to more than three hundred species of birds, a number that increases over the spring and summer months with Rhodes on a principal migratory route.
Some of the areas that have been noted for their bird life are: the Apolakkia dam, Ialysos, Kalithea, the Gadoura river mouth, Ixia, Kremasti Bridge and Koskinou. Ataviros and Profitis Ilias are known for common birds like vultures, hawks, Peregrine falcons, eagles and owls.
Species on Rhodes include Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler and House Sparrow but, according to the birders, rarer species such as Baillon’s Crakes, Short-toed Larks, White-tailed Lapwing, Trumpeter Finch, Black-headed Bunting can also be found.Other sightings include Golden Eagle, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Golden Oriole, Audouin’s Gull, Calandra lark, Lanner Falcon, Long-Legged Buzzard and White-winged Black Tern. The Bonelli’s Eagle, an endangered species, can also been seen.
According to one fan the morning is the best time for bird watching especially in the Ialysos area where a number of Spanish birds have been sighted on its beach and even in its residential area. The Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great Snipe, Yellow Wagtails, Great Reed Warblers, White-tailed Lapwing and Baillon’s Crakes can be found at the river near Kremasti town and the Kremasti Bridge.
Below are some notable birdwatching sites, and below this is a detailed list of bird sightings in Rhodes and names of birds.
An interesting area for the combination of various habitats: olive groves, scrub, two riverbeds, and small pools with small reed beds, some wasteland and a golf course. This site is interesting during migration for waders (Wood sandpiper, Dunlin, Little ringed plover, Little stints); Egrets (Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern) and Garganey. The golf course and surroundings are likely to produce species like Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated pipit (the latter during migration). During the breeding season Red-backed Shrike, Stone Curlew, Rufous Bushchat and Kingfisher are almost certainties, together with species like Bee-eater, Quail, Reed Warbler and Olivaceous warblers.
The only deep and permanent freshwater can be found at the Appolakia Reservoir built in the late eighties. Take the road from Appolakia to Gennadi. At the north end of the reservoir an area of marsh and reed beds attracts species like Grey Heron, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck`s Stint. It is the most certain place to see species like Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen, sometimes accompanied by Garganey, Mallard, Black Necked Grebe or Kingfisher.
From its sand dunes the flowing have been seen: Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Tawny Pipit, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike and Black-headed Bunting. The chain of little fields, sometimes irrigated, provide good habitats for larks and pipits during migration and winter (Calandra Lark, Sky Lark). In autumn a sea-watch can be satisfactory with species like Shag, Eleonora`s Falcon, Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Honey-buzzard and Cory`s Shearwater.
Rhodes town area
The beach on the north side of the town, near the Aquarium, can be good for migrating birds, egrets and seabirds, like Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Red-throated pipit, White-winged Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Common Tern, Balearic Shearwater, Cory`s Shearwater. During migration Monte Smith is very interesting for songbirds (Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Icterine warbler, Subalpine warbler, Flycatchers); Wheatears and Shrikes. Monte Smith holds also a strong population of Olivaceaous warblers. The old town of Rhodes has a population of Crag Martin. On or between the old walls of Rhodes-town, Little Kestrel and Hoopoe can be seen regularly. The harbour of Rhodes-town can be interesting for terns and gulls, especially Audouins Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Common gull, Common Tern and even Gull-billed Tern.
Valley and mouth of the Gadouras river (about 10 km north of Lindos, about 8 km south of Arhangelos); east of the main road Arhangelos-Lindos. Combination of river valley with a stony/sandy bed, some fresh water pools, scrub, a kind of lagoon with high reed and various shrubs, and in the neighborhood: arable land, olive groves and grassy fields. This place is good for waders in spring and autumn (Little stint, Little ringed plover, Ringed plover, Wood sandpiper, Green sandpiper, Marsh sandpiper, Collared Pratincole); Egrets (Glossy Ibis, Little Egret, Grey Egret, Squacco Heron); Terns (White-winged black tern, Gull-billed tern). Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceaous warbler, Bee-eater, Quail, Woodchat-shrike and Short-toed Lark should be certainties in the breeding season. This is also one of the best places for Stone Curlew and Rufous Bushchats.
Bird list and Sightings
1. Phalacrocorax aristotelis - European Shag - at Rhodes aquarium area, near Pefki, Kiotari, Apolakkia lake
2. Ardea cinerea - Grey Heron - Kremasti river
3. Egretta garzetta - Little Egret - Rhodes harbour , Kremasti river
4. Buteo buteo - Common Buzzard - north Soroni
5. Buteo rufinus - Long-legged Buzzard - Kremasti river, west Ataviros, near Masari , Afandou Beach, Ialysos, Asklipio, Kalithea
6. Falco tinnunculus - Eurasian Kestrel - Common everywhere
7. Alectoris chukar - Chukar - (probably) heard near Kritinia castle.
8. Porzana parva - Little Crake - Kremasti river
9. Gallinula chloropus - Common Moorhen - Kremasti river
10. Fulica atra - Eurasian Coot - Kremasti river
11. Burhinus oedicnemus - Stone-curlew - Mount Smith
12. Vanellus spinosus - Spur-winged Lapwing - Kiotari beach
13. Charadrius dubius - Little Ringed Plover - Ialysos beach, Kremasti river, Kiotari beach, Apolakkia lake
14. Tringa totanus - Common Redshank - Apolakkia lake
15. Tringa glareola - Wood Sandpiper - Apolakkia lake
16. Larus michahellis - Yellow-legged Gull - Common
17. Sterna sandvicensis - Sandwich Tern - near Rhodes aquarium, Kremasti river
18. Columba livia - Rock Dove - Common
19. Columba palumbus - Woodpigeon - Just heard once below the Kamiros area
20. Streptopelia decaocto - Eurasian Collared Dove - Common
21. Clamator glandarius - Great Spotted Cuckoo - road between Apolakkia and Monolithos
22. Cuculus canorus - Common Cuckoo - Petaloudes
23. Otus scops - European Scops Owl - Just heard, always duding the day: near Siana (Ataviros), Lindos , Petaloudes
24. Tachymarptis melba - Alpine Swift - Lindos
25. Apus apus - Common Swift - Common
26. Apus pallidus - Pallid Swift - Lindos
27. Merops apiaster - European Bee-eater -Kremasti river
28. Upupa epops - Hoopoe - Rhodes aquarium, Mount Smith
29. Jynx torquilla - Eurasian Wryneck - Kiotari
30. Calandrella brachydactyla - Greater Short-toed Lark - Kremasti river, Gadoura river
31. Galerida cristata - Crested Lark - Very common, especially in the south and east
32. Riparia riparia - Sand Martin - Afandou beach
33. Hirundo rupestris - Eurasian Crag Martin - Rhodes town, Haraki Castle
34. Hirundo rustica - Barn Swallow - Common
35. Hirundo daurica - Red-rumped Swallow - Kremasti river
36. Delichon urbica - Common House Martin – Haraki, Kremasti river
37. Motacilla alba - White Wagtail - Common
38. Motacilla flava - Yellow Wagtail - Common in different places, often in large flocks
39. Anthus trivialis - Tree Pipit - near Rhodes aquarium, Mount Smith
40. Anthus cervinus - Red-throated Pipit - near Rhodes aquarium
41. Monticola solitarius - Blue Rock Thrush - near Siana, Lardos & Lindos
42. Turdus merula - Blackbird - Common in small numbers
43. Cettia cetti - Cetti´s Warbler - Kremasti river
44. Acrocephalus schoenobaenus - Sedge Warbler - Kremasti river
45. Acrocephalus scirpaceus - Reed Warbler - Very common in Kremasti river
46. Acrocephalus palustris - Marsh Warbler - Heard at Kremasti river
47. Acrocephalus arundinaceus - Great Reed Warbler - Kremasti river
48. Hippolais pallida - Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Afandou beach
49. Phylloscopus trochilus - Willow Warbler - Heard SE of Asklipio
50. Phylloscopus collybita - Common Chiffchaff - Common in small numbers
51. Sylvia atricapilla - Blackcap - Kremasti river
52. Sylvia curruca - Lesser Whitethroat - Kalithea
53. Sylvia rueppelli - Rüppell´s Warbler - Feraklos Castle, Haraki
54. Sylvia melanocephala - Sardinian Warbler - Common
55. Luscinia megarhynchos - Common Nightingale - Heard in Lindos, & Mount Smith
56. Phoenicurus phoenicurus - Common Redstart - Lardos
57. Saxicola rubetra - Whinchat - Common in small numbers
58. Saxicola rubicola - European Stonechat - Pefkos
59. Oenanthe oenanthe - Northern Wheatear - Common in small numbers
60. Oenanthe hispanica - Black-eared Wheatear – Mount Smith, Pefkos, Haraki
61. Oenanthe isabellina - Isabelline Wheatear - Rhodes aquarium, Afandou beach
62. Cyanistes caeruleus - Blue Tit - Common
63. Lanius senator - Woodchat Shrike - Common in small numbers
64. Garrulus glandarius - Eurasian Jay - Common in small numbers
65. Corvus corone - Carrion Crow - Common
66. Corvus corax - Common Raven - Kritinia Castle, Siana Ataviros, Haraki
67. Emberiza hortulana - Ortolan Bunting - Mount Smith
68. Emberiza calandra - Corn Bunting - Common
69. Ploceus melanocephalus - Black-headed Weaver - Kremasti river
70. Fringilla coelebs - Chaffinch - Common
71. Carduelis chloris - European Greenfinch - Common
72. Carduelis cannabina - Linnet - Flock in Afandou beach
73. Passer domesticus - House Sparrow – Common.