Habitats - Species - Wildlife
The rich horizontal diversification of the islands, the mountainous relief, the great variety of bed rock and the long-lasting effect of human intervention have all given the Cyclades an impressive amount of biotopes, both in number and variety. Moreover, the relatively old geological separation of the islands from the mainland results in a large amount of endemic plants that flourish in the Cyclades. Despite the poor islands’ vegetation, a rare wealth of flora that includes more from 1600 species of plants exists today, with more than 200 rare or threatened endemic species.
The geographical position of the islands in the south-eastern corner of Europe, near Asia and Northern Africa, gives rise to very interesting bird fauna. Typical seabirds of the Cyclades are shag, artemis, the herring gull and the rare Aegean seagull, the most important seabird of Greece and Europe and a worldwide threatened species, endemic to the Mediterranean basin.
Among the birds, the most common are the snake eagle, the finch eagle and the mavropetritis, a typical summer visitor to the Aegean that nests in uninhabited rocky islands or steep rocks. This is the most important bird that lives in Greece from a global perspective. The owl and the horned owl are typical night birds of prey. Additionally, certain local endemic reptiles live in the Cyclades: the viper and lizard of Milos, the crocodile lizard and the lafiatis snake. Among the mammals of the Cyclades the most distinguished is the rare ibex while hares and wild rabbits live in many of the islands.