The National Park is worldwide renowned for its diversity of birds of prey as 36 out of 38 species of the European diurnal birds of prey have been observed here. What is particularly impressive is the coexistence of 3 out of the 4 species of European vultures: the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus). Contrary to the rest of the raptors that hunt their prey, vultures are scavengers. Apart from the vultures, some other species of diurnal birds of prey found in the National Park are also particularly important at a National scale, as many of them have been characterized as “critically endangered” or “endangered” according to the Red Data Book of the Greek Fauna.
In addition to the birds of prey, approximately 166 other bird species have been observed here, two of which have been characterized as “endangered” in Greece, the Black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the Grey partridge (Perdix perdix), while 10 more species are “near threatened” and 5 are “vulnerable”. The presence of the Black stork is particularly important, as the 30-35 pairs that nest in the area constitute a considerable proportion of the breeding population of the species in Greece.
Generally speaking, birds of prey (vultures included) and plenty of small birds that feed on insects are favored by areas with variations in the landscape, as they can easily spot their food in the open land and find areas with trees for their nesting and coverage.
The National Park hosts approximately 60-65 mammal species. Among the most impressive is the Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), which, with some luck, you may meet in the forest. Equally impressive is the shy and threatened Otter (Lutra lutra), which occurs mainly along the streams, as well as the Wolf (Canis lupus), the Wildcat (Felis silvestris), the Wild boar (Sus scrofa), the Stone marten (Martes foina), the Weasel (Mustela nivalis) and the Badger (Meles meles). Apart from the large mammals, the abundant small rodents are also very important, as they are a key food source for birds of prey. Remarkable is also the presence of 24 bat species , at least six of which occur with significant populations, while all of them are protected by national and international legislation. The caves, as well as the old mines of the area serve as shelters for the bats throughout the year, while some species nest there and have their young in late spring or early summer. All surface waters, including the small tanks dispersed in the forest, installed by the Forest Service, are precious water and food sources for bats, as many insects gather around them. Many bats feed on insects, harmful to crops, thus indirectly contributing to agriculture.
The presence of reptiles and amphibians at the National Park is very important as they constitute the basic food source for the birds of prey, the storks and the herons in the area. The number of amphibian species recorded is 13, ten of which are frogs, including the threatened Fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), while the other 3 are two newt species and the known Salamander (Salamandra salamandra). Furthermore, 29 species of reptiles have been recorded and more specifically, four turtle species, eleven lizard species and fourteen snake species, of which only the two vipers may be dangerous to humans. Frogs are the favourite food of storks, while the Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) prefers turtles and the Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus) snakes.
Only few studies have been carried out concerning the fishes met in the streams, with a total of 17 different species having been recorded. On the contrary, invertebrates have been studied quite well, with 283 species identified, 104 of which are butterflies.
Other interesting websites:
- The Red Data Book of Rare and Threatened Plants of Greece
- The IUCN Red List
- Europe Birdlife Data Zone
- Greek Herpetofauna
- Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa
Additional information and the specific references may be found in the book
Catsadorakis, G., and H. Källander. 2010. The Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park, Greece: Biodiversity, Management and Conservation. Page 316 (G. Catsadorakis and H. Källander, Eds.). WWF Greece, Athens