The Akrotiri Salt Lake was visited by one of its most significant visitors ever on Wednesday morning in the shape of the extremely rare, Black Flamingo, the British bases said.
The Black Flamingo is thought to be the only one of its kind in the world and very few people have ever laid eyes on one, a statement said.
“Experts believe the bird suffers from a highly rare condition known as ‘melanism’, a genetic irregularity that causes it to generate more melanin than usual, turning them a dark brown, or black,” it said.
The bird was last spotted in Israel in 2014 and aside from its colour, it is no different to any other flamingo seen every year within the SBAs.
Alexia Perdiou, the Sovereign Base Area Administration’s Assistant Environment Officer, said this was “an exciting time” for everybody associated with the Ramsar protected Akrotiri Salt Lake.
“Of course we are all very excited because we believe it could be the only Flamingo of its kind in the world and very little is known about it,” she said.
“We are expecting a lot of visitors over the next few days and I would urge people to be very sensible about coming to see it.
“The best possible viewpoint will be through the brand new Akrotiri Environmental and Education Centre where we have a special area designed with incredible views of the salt lake.
“If people walk onto the salt lake itself it could disrupt the birds’ habitat and we absolutely do not want that.”
Every year the Flamingos flock to the salt lake, with many of them staying all year round but according to Perdiou “there is no way of telling how long this latest VIP visitor will stay within the SBAs”.
“It is impossible to say to be honest. Every year thousands of Flamingos come and go so we just don’t know. What I would say is take the opportunity to see it now, because it may never be seen here again.”