Huge numbers of greater flamingos can be seen on Larnaca and Akrotiri salt lakes over the winter.
As part of their conservation remit, BirdLife Cyprus observers contribute to the International Waterbird Census by undertaking a count every January. The encouraging news is that the population is on the increase.
1 Where does the name ‘flamingo’ originate, and what is the connection with their colour?
2 Can you name any species of flamingo?
3 What gives flamingos their distinctive pink colouring?
4 Why would it be dangerous for the newly-hatched babies to be pink?
5 How does the whole colony come to breed at the same time?
6 Why are some birds brighter pink than others?
7 Usually mating for life, how do they attract the attention of a potential partner?
8 What is the life-span of the flamingo? You won’t believe the answer to this one!
You can find the mind-boggling answers to these questions in 8 Amazing Flamingo Facts by Sarah McPherson on Discover Wildlife.
Once again these fine creatures have arrived in Cyprus for their winter migration. Making themselves at home in Cyprus’ wetlands, they arrive at Larnaca, Oroklini and Akrotiri salt lakes within days of the water level rising. When you see them in their characteristic heads-down pose they are filter-feeding on brine shrimps and blue-green algae using their rough tongues in their upside-down beaks. And it’s their shrimp-heavy diet that gives adult flamingos their distinctive pink plumage.
Video by George Konstantinou from Cyprus Wildlife Tours
Eco-Friendly Viewing… Please Don’t Do This
To keep the flamingos returning year after year, it’s vital that nothing scares these vulnerable birds away by getting too close. Lessons have been learned, and a recent photography competition will not be repeated. Now the advice to photographers is to stay back and use long lenses. While the birds have over a period of years adapted to the hustle and bustle of Larnaca airport, the temptation to get better shots is encouraging ever-closer drone flying. And visitors are asked not to enter the water near the birds.
The safe way to see these marvellous creatures is to visit the viewing galleries at Oroklini Lake or Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre. Both are equipped with binoculars and telescopes to allow you to get a close-up view from a comfortable distance.
A 38 hectare wetland nature reserve ideal for bird-watching between Ayia Napa and Larnaca. Open year-round (although the lake dries up in summer), with free entry.
Facilities include visitor parking, observation platforms, information kiosk, identification boards, bird hide.
260 bird species have been recorded on the Akrotiri peninsula, of which 200 are migratory – using the area as a staging post. The area’s beaches are one of the few nesting sites on island for endangered Green and Loggerhead turtles. Dozens of nests are identified every year and are protected until hatching. Mammals recorded in the area include seals, dolphins and bats.
Visitor Tips: Open year-round, with a permanent lake, free entry | Monday – Friday 08:00 – 17:00 | Sundays 10:00 – 17:00 | Website