Evros Delta is situated on the borders of two regions that have different characteristics. Mediterranean and southern European characteristics are obvious in the region as well as the influence of the Black sea and Kaspia regions especially concerning the existing vegetation. For this reason, the habitats of the Evros Delta are special in the Mediterranean due to their unique flora and fauna species.
The Delta’s vegetation characteristics are not only influenced by climate but also by soil characteristics, such as the composition, the water content and the salinity. The vegetation types of the area are characteristic types of the coasts of the northern Aegean. Because of the Delta’s geographical location, its vegetation is dominated by species that are usually found in Eastern regions, e.g. the Black sea.
The flora of the Evros Delta area includes approximately 350 plant species according to studies conducted in the area.
The Evros Delta is very important because of the numbers of birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and fishes that it hosts. From a total of 28 species of amphibians and reptiles that can be found in Evros Delta, 8 species are included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive. Forty-six fish species have been recorded in the entire delta area. Five of these fish species are included in Annex II of 92/43/EEC as well as 2 species of mammals out of the total of 40 mammal species that have been recorded in the wetland.
In the 1960’s, Evros Delta became widely known as a wetland that hosts many rare avifauna species when Bauer and Muller (1969) published the first scientific study about Evros Delta. Evros Delta is characterized by a rich variety of habitats where as many as 316 bird species live. It is probably the most important wetland site for migratory waders in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The number of breeding bird species in Evros Delta is fewer than in the past since the drainage system has decreased the existing breeding habitats as well as the available fresh water. Bird species that are regularly reproduced in Evros Delta are the following: Shelduck, Spur-winged Plover, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Harrier, Little Tern, Common Tern, etc. Other important species that are frequently reproduced are the White-tailed Eagle, Mediterranean Gull, Pratincole and Purple Heron.
During wintertime, a considerably high number of waders (more than 145 species) winter in the Delta. The total number of birds that winter in the Delta varies from year to year and depends upon several factors, among which are the breeding success of the previous year and the harshness of the weather in Northern Europe and the Balkans. In spite of the decrease of bird species populations that has recently been observed, Evros Delta continues to host a significant number of individuals and species during the winter.
Furthermore, the number of birds that use the wetland during their migration routes between Europe and Africa as a stopover for feeding and rest is still important. Included among the species that have been observed visiting the Evros Delta during migration are: White Pelican, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Dalmatian Pelican, Little Gull, Black Tern etc. One of the rarest bird species in Europe and the world, the Slender-billed Curlew, is observed here while it visits the delta during its migration.
Moreover, Evros Delta is one of the most important wetlands in Greece and Europe for the following observed species of raptors: Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, and Black Kite. Many of the raptors also breed in the delta area as well as the neighbouring hills and use the wetland for feeding.