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Birds

BIRD COLLECTION

The museum possesses a rich collection of indigenous and migratory birds that live mainly in Greece, Europe and in other continents. Some of them are rare, threatened with extinction and protected, while some others have already disappeared. Due to its geographical position, bordered by three continents, Greece is one of the richest sites in biodiversity. Out of the 475 bird species that are estimated to live in Europe, 436 species thrive in Greece, or they cross it while migrating.

Therefore, the collection of the museum is one of the largest in Greece and will be constantly updated with new exhibits. It has become a magnetic pole, which enriches the knowledge of the dangers that many of the species exhibited face and demonstrates the need to protect them.

Below we present some of our exhibits:

CommonBuzzard (Buteobuteo)

Adult white phase. 

Buzzard is one of the most common predators in Greece. It is found in a variety of habitats but needs at least some clumps of trees for nesting and perching - an ideal habitat is the forest edge or a mosaic of open land and forest. The common buzzard feeds on mice, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Reproduces in forests or trees that are near open land.


Goldeneagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Endangered (in Greece). 

The Golden Eagle is a large eagle in size with long wings and long plumage. It is found in mountainous and semi-mountainous areas of Thrace and Macedonia, in the Pindos Mountains, and in few sitesof Peloponnese and Crete. The Golden Eagle feeds on mammals such as hares and foxes, birds, reptiles and carcasses. In the mainland of Greece, it often throws turtles from above to break their kettle so that it can eat them. It makes a very large nest on cliffs or on large trees and lays 1-2 eggs. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagle is threatened by poaching, illegal use of poisonous baits and over-hunting of its food. It is considered a protected species.


Egyptian vulture

The Egyptian vulture (Neophron Percnopterus) or as it’s called by most Greeks “Asproparis” is a migratory bird, travels from Africa to Southern Europe and Asia. We can find it also in Greece, mainly in hilly areas in Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia and Thrace. It feeds on corpses and small vertebrates such as turtles. It lays 1 to 2 eggs. Egyptian Vulture is a very clever bird, capable of transmitting the knowledge to future generations. It uses tools like stones to break the eggs of ostriches.Ecology: Egyptian Vulture is the symbol of Meteora region. In the 80s, there were around 200-250 pairs in Greece, most of them were nesting to Meteora. Today “Asproparis” is in danger, as no more than 20 pairs are still nesting in Greece. The major threats of its reduced population is the illegal use of poisoned baits and the reduction of rubbish dump.

Slender-billed curlew

The Slender-billed curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) is one of the rarest and most endangered species in Europe. It is an aquatic bird that nests in Taiga, the northern coniferous forests in the world, and migrates every year from Siberia to central and south Europe and the coastal areas of the mediterranean Africa. In Greece, the Slender-billed Curlew has been observed during spring, mainly in the west and north regions, like Evros Delta, Porto Lagos etc, in lagoons, salt marshes, mudflats, sandy shores. It feeds on insects. It is a protected species.

Bald eagle

The Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a typical eagle with dark brown plumage and white head and tail. It is found in North America near large wetlands and big trees for nesting. Feeds mainly on fish which it grasps with large nails through the water. It builds extremely big nests over the trees, up to 4 m deep and 2.5 m wide. Since 1782, it is the national symbol of the United States.

Goldeneye

Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) lives in lakes and rivers of northern coniferous forests of Scandinavia, North Europe, Russia, Canada and USA. During winter, it migrates in southern coastal waters or in open lakes. It can also be found in Greece mainly in the lakes of Macedonia region. It nests in tree hollows and it feeds on aquatic organisms as well as frogs and small fish.Barrow’s goldeneyeBarrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) nests mainly in forested lakes of North America, but it can also be found in colonies in eastern Canada, Greenland and Iceland. It overwinters along the Pacific Ocean, Alaska and Canada. It nests in tree cavities. It feeds on aquatic insects, plants, snails and shellfish.The most caracteristic difference of the Icelandic, to the left, and the common Goldeneye, to the right, is the shape of the white spots between the eyes and the beak.

Snowy Owl

Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a very strong and large owl with characteristic yellow eyes. The adult male is almost pure white, while the adult female is white with dark spots on the head and the body. It nests in open areas of the Arctic tundra in Alaska, Canada and Eurasia. It is a particularly nomadic bird and frequently found further south, following the preys. It feeds mainly on small mammals, especially rodents, and birds. It nests on the ground and lays 3 to 11 eggs.

Eurasian pygmy owl

The Eurasian pygmy owl is found in the forests of northern and central Europe and in Siberia. It prefers to live at the feet of the mountains. It is a rare bird in Greece, and it has been observed mainly in the spruce forest of Rhodopes. The Eurasian pygmy owl is the smallest owl in Europe and it feeds on other birds and small mammals. It nests in tree holes or old woodpecker holes and lays 4-7 eggs.

Andean condor

The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a South American vulture. It can be found in the mountain range of the Andes, the Pacific coastal areas and in South America. It prefers to live in open meadows and alpine areas up to 5,000 m. The male condor has a characteristic dark red caruncle on the top of its head. It lays 1 to 2 eggs. It is the national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and it is very common to read about it to the Andean local tales and mythology.It is almost globally threatened species and its population is endangered mainly by human.

Bateleur

The Bateleur (terathopius ecaudatus) is a medium-sized eagle. It is a natural predator bird that lives in Africa. Its length is 55 to 70 cm and weighs from 2 to 2,6 kg. The wingspan is 170 to 186 cm. It lives in open grasslands and the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of southern Arabia. It took its name because of its short tail. It feeds on mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, carrion and occasionally eggs. It is monogamous and lays only one egg. Threats: The Bateleur eagle is threatened by the habitat degradation, agricultural pesticides and illegal hunting.

White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

Criticallyendangered (Greece) 

The White-tailedeagle is found only in large wetlands (river deltas, lagoons, lakes) of Thrace in northeast Greece, as well as in eastern and central Macedonia. The White-tailed eagle feeds mainly on fish, aquatic birds, mammals and carcasses. It nests on large trees in lowland forests. It is mainly threatened by the degradation of its habitats (wetlands) and poaching, and poisoned baits. It is considered a protected species.


Western Capercaillie

The western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) mates in the northern areas of Europe and in western and central Asia. It lives in mature coniferous forests, with the presence of other plant species and small clearings. In Greece we can find it rarely and locally, in mixed forests mainly in Western Rhodopes. The male is much larger in size than the female and has a long tail which opens like a fan to attract the female during the breeding season. In winter it feeds exclusively on pine needles while during spring and summer it feeds on insects and other plant species. The population in Greece is threatened by illegal hunting, opening of forest roads, uncontrolled logging. It is a protected species.

Lagopus

Lagopus is a bird with characteristically round body and feathered feet. In winter its plumage is pure white and in summer it changes to brown. Resident of cold regions: found in the north woods of birch or pine trees and tundra. It is a herbivorous bird, but the young ones feed on insects.


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