A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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This site is dedicated to the wildlife of Symi and in particular anyone who has an interest in birds.

Symi belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands about 25 miles North West of Rhodes and over 250 miles from the Greek port of Piraeus. Symi lies between two peninsulas of  Turkey and at its closest is just six miles from Asia. Symi is mountainous and rocky with its highest peak, Vighla, at 620m.  The coastline is irregular  and measures about 85 km with numerous bays and headlands whilst being surrounded with a score or more islands and rocky islets. The island is mostly infertile and rocky (limestone) supporting a typical Mediterranean garrigue comunity of  dwarf shrubs and many aromatic herbs. There are a few small cultivated areas dotted throughout the island, notably above the harbour, Pedi  and elsewhere. Inland there are areas of coniferous forest consisting of cypresses and pine trees. The once cultivated valley of Pedi still supports a wide and varied range of flora and fauna. 

I hope you find this site interesting and I would encourage visitors to send in any pictures or comments you have that would add to the interest of those looking at the wildlife on Symi. Please go to the contact page for an email address.

Latest Sightings and Reports.


October 21, 2017

Autumn migration seems to have nearly passed us by this year on Symi with very few birds. Crag martins can be seen here now, taking up residence for the winter with an abundance of chiffchaffs and robins. I did manage to find a few migrants, a distant red back shrike and some spotted flycatchers in the residual oak forest that grows at the tops of one valley. 


October 17, 2017

A mediterranean shag at Panormitis.........

A Rather Ripe Pomegranate

October 16, 2017

It's the season for ripening pomegranate fruit. The pomegranate is a symbolic fruit, signifying beauty, love, marriage, fertility, birth, rebirth, hope and prosperity. It is also the symbol of the start of a new year, the first rains, planting the fields or the "first spring" here on Symi.

Little Owls

October 15, 2017

Nice to see the return of a little owl in our area. He comes every afternoon about 5pm and makes a great deal of noise so it makes up for the loss of the six pairs of kestrels that we we used to have in the village and harbour last year......

Predator & Prey

October 14, 2017

Not a good outcome for the agama, I suspect.


October 12, 2017

Basking in the warm Autumn sunshine are a couple of common reptiles seen around Symi. The starred agama which changes colour to suit its surroundings and the snake eyed lacertid which is forever darting from rock to rock.

Another Look.....

October 11, 2017

I'm posting these Arums again as I find them strangely exotic and very beautiful and in a week or so they'll be gone for another year. The pointy thing in the middle is the spadix, at the top it is colourful and sometimes smelly to attract insects, below which are the male flowers, then a sterile area, beneath which are the female flowers. Below is one that has had the top eaten off revealing the flowers. The cream surrounding structure is a modified leaf called a spathe.

Walnut Trees

October 10, 2017

An unusual find for Symi are these two walnut trees high up in the mountains. They are likely to be planted as cultivated specimens as they are close to an extensive disused terrace system and at the edge of a ravine where there is a better chance of a water source. Walnut trees can live to a great age of over two hundred years and can have a diameter at the trunk of 8 foot or more although these trees are probably 3 - 4ft in diameter. The leaves contain a natural herbicide so nothing will grow under the trees where the leaves fall. The largest native forests are in Kyrgyzstan, where trees occur in extensive, nearly pure walnut forests at 1,000–2,000 m and the Balkans are at the very limit of their natural range. Juglans regia.

And as luck would have it.......

October 9, 2017

Yesterday we watched a short toed eagle or snake eagle for an hour or so struggle with a live snake in the sky while his partner called and called...... 



October 8, 2017

A short toed eagle photographed over Symi on Wednesday by Rene.

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