Fauna of Parnitha

Fauna of Parnitha

Text and photos: T. Adamakopoulos

Twenty-nine species of mammals have been recorded in Mt. Parnitha. Among them stands out the Red deer, which here maintains its largest population in Greece. The number of deer in Mt. Parnitha is estimated at 500, while is totally unknown for Rhodope, the other part of its distribution in the country.

Parnitha topoguide
Parnitha topoguide: Three male red deers on Mt Parnitha

On steep slopes and gorges roams a healthy population of Cretan wild goats (Capra aegagrus cretica), coming form the animals fed in the old Game Reserve and released during the 2007 forest fires.

Parnitha topoguide
Parnitha topoguide: Cretan wild goat on Mt Parnitha
Recently, Wild boars arrived from the northern mountains of Central Greece and established a healthy population. The wild boars have been dispersed throughout Mt. Parnitha and make their presence felt with the innumerable places where they scrutinize the ground in search of food. There are also mountain hares, foxes, badgers, martens and hedgehogs, as well as the common small mammals such as the Etruscan shrew, the Bicolored shrew and the Mole. The presence of the Squirrel and, recently, the Jackal and the Wolf were reported.
Parnitha topoguide
Parnitha topoguide: Sardinian warbler
The avifauna of Parntha is the most noteworthy in the geographic space of Attica. More than 135 species of resident and migrant birds have been recorded. Scrubland birds are the most numerous, as they have been also favored by the succession of natural vegetation regeneration after 2007 wildfire and have extended their range. Cretzschmar's Buntings and Rüppell's Warblers are the most interesting species breeding here, while other breeding species are the Red-backed shrike, the Common Whitethroat, the Rock Bunting, as well as the common Cirl Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted flycatcher etc.

Some wood passerines, such as Coal Tits and Robins, are rather easily seen in the fir forest, while a bit more attention is required to spot Common Treecreepers, Firecrests, Long-tailed Tits. Flocks of Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Redwings also arrive in the winter. Amog the Raptors, apart form the numerous Common Buzzards, a few pairs of Long-legged Buzzards, Short-toed Eagles and Peregrine Falcons breed in the area, while Golden Eagle is regularly observed in the winter. Close to cliffs and rock faces found scattered in the massif (e.g. Arma, Armeni) one can see Ravens and possibly hear the call of Tawny Owl and Eagle Owl.

More than 30 species of reptiles and amphibians have been recorded on Mt. Parnitha. Among reptiles, the most notable is the presence of the Balkan whip snake, the Javelin sand boa and the Grass snake. The common Balkan green lizard and the Common toad are also interesting findings.

Photos and descriptions of animal species of Mt Parnitha are included in the application Parnitha topoguide, available for both Android and iOS (iPhone και iPad) devices.
The application guides the hiker to locate the habitat-type of each animal species.