North Cyprus  

The Birds of Cyprus

Griffon VultureCyprus is on a north-south migration route and there are many birds in transit, some in vast flocks, some in small clusters. 

These migrating birds may only rest for a few days to a week. March to May is the period of northward migration and August to October the southward.

  • Griffon Vulture: Kizil Akbaba (T); Gyps fulvus (L) Status: Winter visitor; resident breeder.
  • Hirundelle: Kir Kirlangici (T); Hirundo rustica (L) Status: Migrant breeder.
  • Golden Oriole: Sari Asma / Incir Kusu (T); Oriolus oriolus (L) Status: Winter visitor, passage migrant.
  • Pochard: Elmabas Ordek / Bozdalagan (T); Aythya ferina (L) Status: Migrant breeder.
  • Cyprus Pied Wheatear: Kibris Kuyrukkakani (T) Status: Migrant breeder (Endemic); the most distinctive and interesting species of all the endemic birds in Cyprus
  • The Endemic Butterflies of Cyprus.

The list of resident birds has few surprises for those familiar with the general stock of European birds. The Griffon vulture is the largest and the most distinctive in flight sue to its 8 ft wing-span which sometimes en- courages a mistaken identification as an eagle, but there are no eagles now in Cyprus. It can be spotted throughout the island but especially at the eastern edge of the Kyrenia Range, between St. Hilarion and Kantara

Birds of Cyprus Smaller resident raptors include the Scops and Little owl. Game birds are represented by the Francolin, similar to the English partridge, and the Chikor which is similar to the French partridge. They can both be seen throughout the island, but especially in the Kantara area and Karpas peninsula

On the coast you will see the lesser black-backed gull, the herring gull and Audoins gull as well as the common cormorant or shag. The black-headed gull is a winter visitor only. There are several resident warblers and tits, and the island boasts an indigenous species, the Cyprus warbler, found only here in scrub and open woodland. It resembles the more widespread Sardinian warbler but without the red eye and with very strongly marked black and white underpants. 

The most spctacular winter visitors is the flamingo which inhabits in the salt lakes, in South Cyprus, sometimes between October and March. The arrival depends on the lakes water levels and a sufficient food source. A lack of rain may delay their arrival to January. Many types of duck -shelduck, mallard, teal, wigeon, pintails and shovellers- also visit the salt lakes, dams and coasts in winter. 

PochardThe most beautiful summer visitors, between April and September, are small colourful bee-eaters, the larger pale-blue roller, the yellow and black golden oriole, and the unmistakable hoope of pink plumage and black and white barred wings, body and tail. 

Suggested Reading
  • Flint, P., & Stewart, P., (1992), "The Birds of Cyprus", 2nd edition, British Ornithologists Union, Henry Ling Ltd., Dorset Press, Dorchester, Dorset, England.
  Further Reading

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