A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

header photo


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.

The Passenger

July 22, 2017

This is Dysgonia algira or the strangely named Passenger moth for which I can find no explanation of its name. Mainly found in Southern Europe, North Africa and the near east.


July 21, 2017

After a horrible night experiencing earthquakes this morning looked eerily calm. The strongest was at 1.31 am at 6.7 on the richter scale but there were many after shocks some of which are still continuing. Here on Symi there has been few reports of damage. Sadly two lives have been lost on Kos and the island has suffered much damage, not least being the main port which is unusable at this moment.


House Sparrows

July 19, 2017

The heat of the last few days has abated and a relatively cool wind off the sea makes moving around easier (the wind brings dust and covers everything in a fine layer, though). There seems to be a good population of house sparrows here on Symi and Rhodes and this photo of a  colourful male blends into the background of a tree where he can chirp away for hours at a time.

Turtle Doves

July 18, 2017

There seems to be a good showing of turtle doves this year (in contrast to the declining numbers in the UK).


Common Kestrels

July 17, 2017

Still looking for the lesser kestrels, but this one is a common kestrel. Under magnification this bird has a dark moustachial stripe which the lesser lacks. It was soaring on the upslope of a hill catching insects on the rising air.

Alpine Swifts

July 13, 2017

With temperatures approaching 40c again I have little to report. The alpine swifts are very active in the evenings though.

A Sea of Yellow

July 11, 2017

Heavily worked by honey bees as nectar sources become scarce, fennel sits by the road side in a sea of yellow blaze below an olive grove on Rhodes. Foeniculum vulgare.

Sun Dried Tomatoes

July 10, 2017

Plum tomatoes drying under the sun at Kritinea, Southern Rhodes. The man was happily singing to himself under the shade of a tree as he worked.


July 9, 2017

The old mulberry tree at the little village of Βατί giving plenty of shade at Petrino's taverna on  southern Rhodes. The area used to be afforested but fires have reduced the area to open countryside although there are many olive groves and today the environment looks green enough and if given a chance will recover. A few kilometres down the road is the remains of an old silk factory and I am told the industry was once thriving here. The leaves from the mulberry tree or μουριά in Greek were collected as a food source for the silk worm. A pleasant enough place to stop for a late lunch at a traditional taverna.





July 8, 2017

A (Rhodian) starred agama enjoying some sun.

View older posts »