African desert warbler sighted for first time in Cyprus

The Akrotiri center operates within the Akrotiri peninsula, where the bird was spotted. The peninsula is an important ecosystem area, which includes marshlands that host several species of local and migratory birds.

A new species of the warbler family of birds, the African desert warbler (Curruca deserti), has been spotted for the first time ever in Cyprus, an environmentalist said here on Tuesday.

Thomas Hadjikyriakou, manager at the Akrotiri Environmental Education and Information Center near the southern city of Limassol, said this bird was not expected to be seen in Cyprus as it is a resident species and its normal habitat is the African desert, 2,000 kilometers away.

He said the bird was first sighted on April 19, 2021, and was officially announced on Tuesday by the Akrotiri center after being confirmed by the Cyprus Rare Birds Committee as the first of its species in Cyprus.

“The African desert warbler was recorded on the west side of the Akrotiri peninsula. The observation lasted for about two hours, during which the species was monitored and photographed,” Hadjikyriakou said.

The bird was seen feeding in the local vegetation, which includes different kinds of juniper trees and thyme shrubs.

“The bird usually prefers sandy deserts sparsely vegetated with low shrubs and grasses, and this is why we did not expect it to be seen at Akrotiri. It feeds mostly on small insects, berries and seeds, foraging mostly on the ground and in low vegetation,” Hadjikyriakou said.

The African warbler is a small desert sand-colored non-migratory bird with a length of just 11.5 cm.




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