For this article, I used information provided by the Greek ornithologist Nikos Promponas (THE expert on the birds of Naxos). The original data for this report arose from a study on the breeding birds of Naxos that my father, Winfried Scharlau, and I conducted in 1990. I have updated the original data with my own more recent observations and data provided by Nikos Promponas. I want to express my thanks to him for sharing his expertise, and to Peter Jones for the translation. Th. Gaitanakis, G. Beriatos and my father are gratefully acknowledged for their excellent photos they allowed me to use for this article.
As is typical for islands, the number of breeding bird species on Naxos is lower than on the adjacent mainland. Still its avifauna is astonishingly rich and includes a greater diversity of species than most of the neighbouring islands. This is due mainly to the large size of Naxos and its diversity in landscapes and vegetation. In addition to the breeding species, many more species can be encountered on Naxos during migration due to the fact that Naxos is an important stepping stone between Africa and Europe.
A visitor to Naxos (left), bird watching with Naxos’ most prominent ornithologist, Nikos Promponas (right).
In the Mediterranean habitats many species can be observed that do not occur in Western Europe.
The best site to observe migrating waterfowl is the lagoon near the airport.
About 225 species of birds have been observed on Naxos (excluding some very old records). This amounts to more than half of the 437 bird species recorded in Greece. About 70 bird species breed on Naxos (including some uninhabited neighbouring islets), with 4 of these being irregular nesters. Permanent resident species that nest on Naxos number 43, while 27 of the nesting species are migrants. Close to 90 species pass by on the island during migration in spring or fall and about 40 species regularly stay for the winter. 51 species of birds found on Naxos are listed in the Greek Red List of endangered species.
Over the course of time, several changes in the avifauna of Naxos have been recorded. Some species such as the Blue Tit and the House Martin have vanished during the last 100 years (they still breed on neighbouring Paros). Several other species, such as Cetti’s Warbler, Stonechat, Tree Sparrow and Red-rumped Swallow, were not recorded in the first studies and seem to have shown up on the island only over the course of the last century. That is certainly true for the Collared Dove which established itself as a breeding bird only during the last few decades. Five of the 70 breeding species mentioned above do not nest on the island itself, but on small neighboring islets. They are included here since they can be seen regularly on Naxos as well. These are the gull and shearwater species and Eleanora’s Falcon.
The Red-rumped Swallow has probably started to nest on Naxos only during the last decades. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
The highlights of the Naxian avifauna are doubtlessly the raptors and the waterfowl. Raptors that nest on Naxos or nearby include not only the Common Buzzard and the Kestrel, but the rarer Eleanora’s Falcon, Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Lanner Falcon.
Eleonora’s Falcon occurs in a light and a dark phase, pictured here is the rarer dark phase. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Waterfowl occurs in the Mediterranean Sea in fewer species and smaller numbers than in areas such as the North Sea. Still many interesting species can be observed on Naxos, such as the very common Yellow-legged Gull (the Mediterranean form of the European Herring Gull), the extremely rare Audouin’s Gull (endemic to the Mediterranean) and Cory’s and Yelkouan Shearwaters. Other nesting species include the Shag, the Black-winged Stilt, the Stone Curlew and the Kentish and Little Ringed Plover.
Recently, the very common Yellow-legged Gull has been separated from the European Herring Gull. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
The Little Ringed Plover nests on Naxos on sandy shores or at the lagoons. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
A few pairs of Stone Curlew nest sometimes at the lagoon near the airport. Photo by G. Beriatus.
Obviously, the most interesting bird species of Naxos for Western European birders are either Mediterranean or Eastern European species. These include the Sardinian, Ruppel’s, Orphean, Olivaceous, and Cetti’s Warblers, the Cirl, Black-headed and Cretzschmar’s Buntings, the Black-eared Wheatear, the Blue Rock Thrush, the Woodchat Shrike, the Red-rumped Swallow and the Alpine Swift.
The Cirl Bunting is one of the most common species on Naxos. Photo by Th. Gaitanakis
Cretzschmar’s Bunting is a typical inhabitant of low shrub vegetation. Photo by Th. Gaitanakis
Moreover, several species can be found on Naxos that also occur in Western Europe, but are rather rare there, e.g. the Crested Lark, the Woodlark, the Northern Wheatear, the Corn Bunting, the Stonechat, the Raven and the Nightjar.
The stonechat occurs regularly on Naxos. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Finally Naxos has several nesting bird species that are common in Western Europe but quite rare in the Aegean, making their presence here remarkable. Among these species count the Blackbird, the Chaffinch, the Wren, and the Nightingale, as well as some rarer species as the Spotted Flycatcher, the Tree Sparrow (which nests in only one location on Naxos), and the European and Great Reed Warbler. Most of these species do not occur elsewhere in the central Cyclades.
List of Breeding Birds on Naxos Island
(Note: res = resident, present all year around ; mig = migrant species)
- Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis): res, very rare: a few pairs nest in the lagoon at the airport and in Engarés
- Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan): mig, nests on nearby uninhabited islands, often observed flying offshore
- Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea): mig, nests on nearby uninhabited islands, often observed flying offshore
- Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis): res, nests on cliffs, can be seen regularly along the coast
- Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus): res. A small population nests on Naxos and on the small island of Heraklia south of Naxos. This is the only nesting population in the Aegean Sea outside of Crete. In earlier times the species occurred on the island in large numbers. Today (2019) this highly endangered population consists of around 50 individuals, having recovered lately after a strong decline in the last decades.
Griffon Vulture, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus): res, very rare: only a few pairs nest in the mountains of Naxos
- Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo): res, common in all parts of the island, population is growing
- Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus): res, very rare, approximately 5-8 breeding pairs. It is likely that the Long-legged Buzzard originally was the only buzzard breeding on Naxos, but is now being slowly displaced by the Common Buzzard.
Long-legged Buzzard, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae): mig, can often be seen on Naxos from May till October. It does not breed on Naxos itself, but on small neighbouring rocky islets. The population is decreasing.
- Kestrel (Falco tunninculus): res, common in all parts of the island
- Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus): res, 2 to 4 pairs nest on Naxos, most easily seen at the lagoon
- Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus): res, one pair nests sporadically in the mountains
- Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus): res, abundant winter visitor, has nested in the Holm Oak forest on Mount Zeus
The Sparrowhawk nest irregularly in the Holm Oak forest on Mount Zeus.
- Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca): res, very rare: nests in some years at the lagoon near the ariport
- Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea): res, very rare: nests in some years at the lagoon near the ariport
- Chukar (Alectoris chukar): res, in garrigue and macchia, but not very abundant
- Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus): res, very rare, at the lagoons
- Coot (Fulica atra): res, very rare: a few pairs nest at the lagoon near the airport and in Engarés
- Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus): res, very rare: nest at the lagoon near the airport and in Engarés
- Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus): mig, very rare: nests at the lagoons when they have sufficient water
Black-winged Stilt, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus): mig, very rare: nests occasionally around the airport lagoon
- Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus): mig, very rare: nests at the lagoons when they have sufficient water
- Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius): mig, rare, nests regularly at the lagoons and on sandy beaches
the beach at Kalandós: nesting place of the Little Ringed Plover
- Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis): res, common. This species was recently separated from the European Herring Gull. It does not breed on Naxos itself but is very common along the coast and in the inland.
- Audouin’s Gull (Larus auduonii): res, very rare. Can occasionally be observed along the coast; nests in small numbers on outlying rocky islets, such as Antikeros
Audouin’s Gull, photo by Th. Gaitanakis
- Rock Dove (Columba livia): res, nests rather frequently on coastal cliffs
- Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto): res. In 1990 the Collared Dove did not occur Naxos. It arrived during the first decade of the 21st century and has now spread over most of the island. Occurs mainly in the villages and agricultural areas.
- Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur): mig, not very frequent, nests in macchia and woodland
- Little Owl (Athene noctua): res, not rare, in olive groves and in cultivated areas with many trees
Little Owl, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Scops Owl (Otus scops): res, rather common, especially in olive groves and around the villages
- Barn Owl (Tyto alba): res, rare, about 10 pairs nest on the island, mostly in old buildings
From time to time, the Barn Owl nests at Fotodotis Monastery.
- Long-eared Owl (Asio otus): res, very rare, in open landscape with big and scattered trees
- Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus): mig, rather rare, nests in open landscapes and macchia mainly in the southern and the eastern parts of Naxos
Nightjar breeding habitat
- Swift (Apus apus): mig, nests on cliffs along the coast and in the mountains, can be seen regularly
- Alpine Swift (Apus melba): mig, nests on cliffs along the coast and in the mountains (e.g. at Mount Zeus), can be seen regularly
- Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus): mig, only one confirmed nesting record, probably an irregular nester
- Bee-eater (Merops apiaster): mig, regular and conspicuous during migration; in 2010 a first nesting record was made of one pair near Agiassós
- Crested Lark (Galerida christata): r, very common in open cultivated country
- Woodlark (Lullula arborea): res, rather rare, only on Mount Kóronos
The heath on Mount Kóronos is the breeding habitat of the Woodlark.
- Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba): res, rather common on the coast and in the cultivated coastal plains
- Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica): mig, rare, in cultivated areas around villages and farms
- Crag Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris): mig, nests in small numbers on a few cliffs in the mountains
- Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica): mig, rare nesting species, that builds its nests under bridges in the northern and eastern parts of the island. Population seems to be increasing.
The Red-rumped Swallow only builds its nests on the underside of bridges.
- Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes): res, not very abundant, in the high mountains and in wooded areas
- Blackbird (Turdus merula): res, rather abundant, in wooded areas
- Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos): res, rather rare, in wooded areas
- Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti): res, occurs regularly in wooded valleys and along rivers with abundant vegetation
Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Nightingale breed along the lower valley of the Apollonas River. The Wren occurs higher in the mountains.
- Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius): res, rather common on rocky slopes, sometimes also in the villages
- Stonechat (Saxicola torquata): res, not rare in open country, in cultivated areas and shrubland
- Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica): mig, abundant in open country, in cultivated areas as well as on barren hills
Black-eared Wheatear, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe): mig, very rare, restricted to the very highest mountain tops
- Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala): res, the most common bird species on Naxos, occurs all over the island
- Rüppel’s Warbler (Sylvia cantillans): mig, not very common, mainly in macchia groves and in areas with tall shrubs
- Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis): mig, rather rare, mainly in macchia, groves and in cultivated areas with trees
- Olivaceous Warbler (Hippolais pallida): mig, in small numbers in open woodland or olive groves
- European Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus): mig, rare, only at lagoons and estuaries with abundant reed
- Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus): mig, rare, only at lagoons and estuaries with abundant reed
Reed Warblers only breed in ares with abundant reed growth, such as Kalandós.
- Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata): mig, very rare, in wooded valleys and in the Tragaía
- Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator): mig, occurs regularly, mainly in the lower areas of the island
Woodchat Shrike, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- House Sparrow (Passer domesticus): res, very common especially around the villages and in cultivated areas
- Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus): res, very rare. A few pairs breed in a small colony at the Panagía Ypsilotéra monastery near Galíni north of the Chóra. Similar Tree Sparrow colonies exist on Paros and on Crete.
- Hooded Crow (Corvus corone): res, abundant all over the island
- Raven (Corvus corax): res, common, but in much smaller numbers than Hooded Crows, mainly in the mountains
- Great Tit (Parus major): res, very common in areas with trees
- Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis): res, very common, all over the island
- Linnet (Carduelis cannabina): res, very common all over the island
- Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris): res, common, but in smaller numbers than Goldfinch and Linnet, mainly in cultivated areas with trees
- Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs): res, common mainly in mountainous wooded areas
- Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus): res, very common especially in cultivated and wooded areas
- Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra): res, regularly in open cultivated country and dry plains near the coast
Fields like these near Pánormos in the Southeast of the island are a suitable habitat for Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Black-eared Wheatear and Woodchat Shrike.
- Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala): mig, regular nester in areas with olive groves or orchards
Black-headed Bunting, photo by Winfried Scharlau
- Cretzschmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia): mig, regular nester on barren mountain slopes
In the winter, the avifauna of Naxos changes radically. The migratory species leave the island and the winter visitors appear. The most common and conspicuous winter visitor is the Robin (Erithacus rubecula), which shows territorial behavior and sings throughout its stay. Other very common winter visitors are the Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Turdus merula), Song Thrush (Turdus philomela), Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Skylark (Alauda arvensis), Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus), Serin (Serinus serinus) and Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita). In smaller numbers occur for example Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis), Fieldfare (Turdus viscivorus), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), Dunnock (Prunella modularis), Firecrest and Goldcrest (Regulus regulus and R. ignicapillus), Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) and Reed Bunting (Emberizia schoeniclus).
The arrival of the Robins announces the beginning of winter. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
During their winter stay on Naxos, Black Redstarts show territorial behaviour and sing regularly. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Among the raptors, Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus) regularly spend the winter in Naxos (they also nest in some years). Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus) also show up in small numbers.
Many species of waterfowl visit Naxos during the winter: Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), Great Crested Grebe (P. cristatus), Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna), Wigeon (Anas penelope), Teal (A. crecca), Shoveler (A. clypeata), Pintail (A. acuta) and Pochard (Aythya ferina), Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Golden and Grey Plover (Pluvialis apicaria and P. squatarola), Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus), Little Gull (L. minutus) and Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis). The Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is another regular winter visitor along the coast.
Little Egrets in Kalandós, photo by Winfried Scharlau
Flamingos at the lagoon near the airport, photo by Winfried Scharlau
The Dunlin does not only visit the island during migration, but also stays during winter. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
The Kingfisher can be seen regularly along the coast in winter. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Situated in the middle of the Aegean Sea, Naxos is an important stop over point for birds during their spring and fall migrations. As the largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos provides a safe haven for many migrating species where they can rest and feed. Of critical importance for migrating waterfowl are the Naxian lagoons, of which the biggest and most important is the one located near the airport. Many interesting and rare species can be seen here during migration. The following part lists some of the most common, conspicuous or interesting migrating birds. Of course also many of the winter visitors mentioned before are present in large numbers during migration.
The most conspicuous birds during migration are the Hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the Bee-eater (Merops apiaster).
Hoopoe, photo by Winfried Scharlau
Bee-eater, photo by Winfried Scharlau
Many species of raptors can be seen on Naxos during migration. All the European species of Harriers occur, especially the Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus). Good numbers of Black Kite (Milvus migrans) and Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) are regularly seen. Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) and Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes) can also be observed. Occasionally Lesser Spotted Eagles (Aquila pomarina) are sighted. Very conspicuous and exciting is the appearance of the beautiful Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) at the end of April and beginning of May.
Red-footed falcon, photo by Winfried Scharlau
The best places for viewing migrating waterfowl are the lagoons, especially the large lagoon at the airport. Many species herons can be found there, such as Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Great Egret (Egretta alba), Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutes), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) and White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). Other migrating species (though much more difficult to see) are Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) and Little Crake (P. parva). Nearly all the species of European waders can be observed on Naxos. Very common along the coast is the Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleuca). Also most of the other Sandpiper species and Stints occur (Tringa and Calidris spec.), as well as the Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) and the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa). Rarities such as the Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis), the Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), the Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus), the Great Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), the Great Snipe (Gallinago media) and the Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) have been observed rather regularly on Naxos. Furthermore all the species of European terns can be observed (Sterna and Chlidonas spec.) as well as many gulls, mainly the Mediterranean Gull (Ichtyaetus melanocephalus). Ducks are present in smaller numbers; worth mentioning is the rare Ferrugineous Duck (Aythya nyroca). Another species that occurs during migration is the Quail (Coturnix coturnix).
One of the many heron and egret species that visit Naxos during migration is the Purple Heron. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
The Common Sandpiper is very abundant along the coast during migration. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
A very rare wader that on can see with some luck on Naxos is the Marsh Sandpiper. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Another rarity: the beautiful Collared Pratincole. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Diurnal migrants, such as the swifts (Apus spec.) and Swallows (Hirundo rustica, Delichon urbica, Riparia riparia and Ptyonoprogne rupestris) can be seen in large numbers. Also very abundant are Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) and Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis). One of the most common species during mirgation is the Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus).
Yellow Wagtails migrate in large numbers. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
The Whinchat is also very common during migration. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Less frequently one can encounter species such as Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla), Mistle Thrush (Turdus pillaris) and Redwing (T. iliacus), Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus), all Flycatchers (Ficedula spec.), Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina), Willow (Phylloscopus trochilus) and Wood Warbler (P. sibilatrix), Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin), Common (S. communis) and the Lesser Whitethroat (S. curruca) and Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), furthermore the Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), the rare European Roller (Coracias garrulus), and many more species such as Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus), Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina), Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), Ortolan (Emberizia hortulana) and Rock Bunting (E. cia).
The Red-throated Pipit is one of the rarer species that one can observe on Naxos. Photo by Winfried Scharlau
Biotopes of Naxos
Birds found in the agricultural landscape around the Chóra include the following common species: Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Cirl Bunting, Great Tit, House Sparrow and Hooded Crow, and more rarely the Barn Swallow.
In cultivated tree-rich landscapes such as that pictured above, nesting species include: Common and Long-legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Hooded Crow, Woodchat Shrike, Sardinian, Subalpine and Orphean Warbler, Cirl Bunting, the finches (Chaffinch only in the higher regions), Great Tit, Stonechat and the rare Olivaceous Warbler.
Open macchia and shrubs are inhabited by Black-headed Buntings, Stonechats, Subalpine Warblers and the rarer Orphean Warbler. Furthermore Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Great Tit, Cirl Bunting, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Turtle Dove and Nightjar can be found.
On dry cultivated plains live Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Black-eared Wheatear and Woodchat Shrike.
Typical breeding birds on dry slopes with low vegetation are Linnet, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Chukar, Nightjar and Black-eared Wheatear. In the rocky areas Blue Rock Thrushes and Kestrels can also be found.
Only on the highest mountains can Northern Wheatear, Wrens, Crag Martins and Woodlarks be found, as well as Bonelli’s Eagles and Ravens. About 20 years ago Griffon Vultures nested in this quiet valley West of Mount Kóronos.
In wooded mountain valleys one can observe the species Blackbird, Nightingale and Cetti’s Warbler in addition to the abundant finch species, Cirl Buntings, Great Tits and warblers.
In the typical green cultivated valleys of Naxos occur nearly all the breeding songbirds found on the Island.
Spotted Flycatchers, rare in the Aegean Sea islands, nest in the olive groves of the Tragaía. Common species of the olive groves, apart from the usual songbirds are several species of nesting owls, most commonly Little and Scops Owls, more rarely one can find a Long-eared Owl. Collared Doves nest in villages and Barn Owls will also nest in old churches or other uninhabited buildings.
At the lagoon near to the airport nest several waterfowl species as Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. During migration many species of waders and herons,and some duck, tern and gull species can also be observed. Peregrine Falcons can be seen harassing the waders and waterfowl in this area.
In the Juniperus stands on the sand dunes of the Southwest coast of Naxos, many songbirds, such as thrushes, finches and warblers, can be observed during migration and in winter.
Nesting birds of the rocky coasts of Naxos are Peregrine Falcon, Common and Alpine Swift, Rock Dove and Shag. Yellow-legged and Audouin’s Gulls and shearwaters can often be observed flying along the coast or further off shore. Another species typical for these rocky coasts is the Pied Wagtail.
On the uninhabited Makares Islands just east of Naxos nest the Yellow-legged Gull, Cory’s and Yelkouan Shearwater, Shag and Eleonora’s Falcon.
further reading: Greek Ornithological Society