Kythnos nature tour finds rare flowers, birds; to run again in 2023

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Naturalist David Koutsogiannopoulos in a field among pink butterfly orchids.

x Naturalist David Koutsogiannopoulos photographs rare eagles, and sea birds
x Among flowers, David identifies several rare orchids, more fritillary flowers
x Success of tour guarantees a repeat in spring 2023; booking already open

The wildlife tours organised by Kythnos Hiking (  at the end of March found many rare bird species, including the largest eagle of the Aegean, and a raft of exotic and rare flower species such as orchids and frittillaries on the Greek island.

Greek naturalist David Koutsogiannopoulos (, who led the tour has identified 12 of his highlights among a wealth of wildlife he identified during the six-day tour including one-day on a fishing boat around the northern part of the island.

Apart from wildlife, guests enjoyed some of the historic sites of Kythnos and ate around the island in traditional taverna and fish restaurants.

Next year's nature tour will run from Monday 27 March 2023, and if there is sufficient demand we will repeat it the following week. Booking is already live at During 2022 we may add a wildlife-focused tour or just nature days depending on conditions.

Here are David's dozen highlights from this year with his comments:

01Fritillaria obliqua tuntasia BX37 Copy

1. The jewel of the island, the endemic fritillary of Kythnos (Fritillaria obliqua subsp

tuntasia) which grows in small groups throughout the island.

02Aquila fasciata BX2

2. A Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata) above the highest peak of Kythnos. The largest bird of prey of the Aegean Sea still breeds on the island. (Photo taken during our around the island boat trip.)

03Ichthyaetus audouinii BX27

3. One of the world's rarest gulls, the elusive Audouin's gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii). Unlike many large gulls it is a specialist fish eater and is therefore strictly coastal and pelagic. (Photo taken from the boat.)

04Ophrys omegaifera BX10

4. The omega bee-orchid (Ophrys omegaifera) is the rarest of the 20 species of orchids of Kythnos that usually can be found among spiny shrubs, protected by the winds and the livestock.

05Circus macrourus BX10

5. A male pallid harrier (Circus macrourus). During the spring migration, all four species of harriers of Europe use Kythnos as migrating station.

06Podarcis erhardii thermiensis BX2

6. As soon as the temperature rises, the terraces are full of the endemic Kythnos lizard (Podarcis erhardii subsp thermiensis) basking in the sun.

07Circaetus gallicus BX1

7. A short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) hunts close to earth for reptiles. The rich herpetofauna of Kythnos gathers a large number of birds of prey.

08Muscari cycladicum cycladicum BX7

 8. The cycladic endemic grape hyacinth of the species Muscari cycladicum subsp

cycladicum that grows in a few spots close to the sea.

09Puffinus yelkouan BX12

9. A flock of yelkouan shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan) close to the shores of Kythnos. This small seabird breeds in colonies on small islands near Kythnos.

10Iris tuberosa BX10

10. The majestic flower of the widow iris (Iris tuberosa) that can be found in large numbers

in a few abandoned old grain fields of the island.

11Gulosus aristotelis BX15

11. European shags (Gulosus aristotelis) are the commonest seabird around the island which

forms colonies in the most remote cliffs. (Photo from the boat.)

12Ophrys iricolor BX12

12. The rainbow orchid (Ophrys iricolor) with the iridescence speculum can be found in a few

spots in Kythnos.