GR4320016 - ORI ZAKROU

First compilation date
Date site proposed as SCI
Date site confirmed as SCI
Date site designated as SAC
National legal reference of SAC designation



This is an important site for passage migrants and raptors and species associated with cliffs and hills. Species of concern include Falco peregrinus and Emberiza caesia.

Other characteristics

The site lies at the southeastern end of Crete, the area south of Zakros village. Geologically the area consists of upper Cretaceous and Miocene limestones, Triassic dolomites; also of phlysch, neogene and alluvial deposits. The vegetation is mainly phrygana. Maquis vegetation is very rare, mainly in valleys. Regarding the climate, this part of Crete is the driest part of Europe. The rainfall is less than 400mm per year, while the mean annual temperature is more than 20oC. Though the area is the hottest and driest part of Europe, watersprings are found in various places. There are a lot of streams and springs; around them grow the associated plants, such as Oleanders, Plane trees etc. In the ponds one can find freshwater invertebrates, such as molluscs, insects etc. There are very few people living in the area. Most settlements have been abandoned. There are cultivations of olives; here is the only place of Crete where olivegroves are irrigated. There are a lot of deep gorges in the area with a lot of chasmophytes and rapaces. By the village of Xerokambos, at Ziros, there is a wetland (130 ha), with a small lagoon and saltmarsh. West of this village there are sand-dunes.


Heath, M. F. and Evans, M. I., eds. 2000. Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority sites for conservation. 2: Southern Europe. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8, p. 791.

Reference: Natura 2000 data form, database release 7 Feb 2014