Black Francolin - Francolinus francolinus
Arguably one of the most beautiful partridges in the world! Cyprus is the only European Country to have this species. A member of the Partridge family although unlike other partridges the Black Francolin is a solitary bird although can be observed following females around in Spring. A bird of grasslands and agricultural fields. They are often observed on mounds or small bushes bellowing out their very far carrying calls. Sometimes they can be observed on small trees.
(Island) Chukar Partridge - Alectoris chukar cypriotes
Cyprus is abundant with these smart partridges that prefer high elevation (all the way to Mt Troodos) although can be observed in small groups coastal at certain times of year. Both sexes are very similar in appearance, the females are somewhat smaller and lack the spur. These partridges are extremely vocal, usually taking position on top of cliffs and hills and calling. Males can get incredibly violent around breeding season.
Spur-winged Lapwing - Vanellus spinosus
A favourite among many birders, the Spur-winged Lapwing is an absolutely stunning bird belonging to the Plover/Lapwing family. A large Plover with a lot of attitude. I have witnessed these birds fiercely defend their territories from Hooded Crows. Cyprus is lucky to share one of two European breeding populations (the other being Greece), although Cyprus is unique in Europe in having resident breeders instead of migrant breeders from Africa. Both male and females are alike. The bird gets its name from a concealed spur on the wing.
Red Crossbill - Loxia curvirostra guillemardi
A regional endemic sub-species. In Cyprus they are confined to the Troodos Mountains. They can mostly be observed at the top of pine trees feeding on the cones with their specially adapted bills. They are exceptionally colourful birds with much variation in plumage between ages, starting off greyish with stripes, and gradually turning yellow. Males then proceed to turn orange and then a stunning claret. Crossbills are incredibly social birds often travelling in groups. A full seed diet (mainly Black Pine Tree Nuts) means that they must regularly stop for water and can be observed at puddles, picnic site taps. They are very tame birds, easy to approach and with much dedication will on occasion feed from the hand.
Finsch’s Wheatear - Oenanthe finschii
A very shy and nervous wintering species in Cyprus. They are small wheatears, males black and white, females a greyish colour. Characteristically they are well known for being shy, cocking their (key feature) tails, ground feeding and also vanishing when sitting on rock. Cyprus enjoys small populations of Finsch's Wheatear at specific sites.
Greater Sand Plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
Absolutely stunning plovers in their breeding plumage. Wintering in small numbers in Cyprus but can be observed in early spring. There are only around 6 sites that this species can be observed in Cyprus, and only 2 sites that they winter. Sadly one of these sites is soon to be destroyed for a marina.
Long-legged Buzzard - Buteo rufinus
The Largest Buteo species in Europe and only made Cyprus their home in recent history. Cyprus enjoys a good breeding population of these large raptors in the foothills, mainly Paphos and Limassol. The species shares territories with Bonelli's Eagles and can become engaged in action packed battles. In winter, Long-legged Buzzards move more coastal for hunting. They favour hunting pigeons when no carrion is available.
Demoiselle Crane - Anthropoides virgo
Demoiselle Cranes can be heard almost every night during migration and sometimes stop over for a few days, although some years they travel in bulk within a few days and can easily be missed. They are part of a small (in comparison to the Indian Population) African Population that fly over in great numbers in Autumn and stop over at the Salt Lakes. They are becoming much more frequent in Spring also, although much smaller numbers.
Black-Headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Cyprus enjoys a small population of breeding Black-Headed Buntings which arrive late spring. They do not stay for long though and are quick to return back to India. In Cyprus they are incredibly vocal and can be observed near or in Vine Yards.
Eleonora’s Falcon - Falco eleonorae
All the way from Madagascar and an absolute treat. Cyprus enjoys a fairly large population of breeding pairs... breeding in late summer to take advantage of migrating songbirds which they have been known to de-wing and trap in crevices live for feeding on later. A good population of Dark Morphs occur in Cyprus which are very popular with birders!
Wallcreeper - Tichodroma muraria
Although also present in most of Europe and Asia, Cyprus has 1-3 annual visitors each winter in a relatively small coastal gorge allowing good views and enabling good photo opportunities. This is a species that many birders are looking to add to their life list and quite rightly so as this is a bird that will leave a great impression. Their long ascending whistling calls resonate through the gorge, their vertical movement is awe inspiring .. probing the crevices for insects and their butterfly like flight with their crimson and white dotted, short and wide wings is nothing short of magical!