Cyprus Mail

Rare black flamingo returns to base

The black flamingo pictured at Akrotiri salt lake

A rare black flamingo has returned to the Akrotiri Salt Lake for the third time in four years, the British bases said on Wednesday.

The flamingo, which is believed to suffer from ‘melanism’, a genetic irregularity which turns it a dark brown or black, had caused a media storm all over the world when it first arrived in 2015.

Pantelis Charilaou, the SBAA environmental officer, said he was thrilled to see the flamingo return again this year.

“Very few people had ever been fortunate enough to lay eyes on it prior to its arrival four years ago, so for it to return again is wonderful,” he said.

“Its return means that more people can enjoy this wonderful site and, 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.”

Charilaou warned however, that people should not try to go near the bird or walk into the lake as it could disrupt its habitat.

Every year the flamingos flock to the salt lake to feed off of brine shrimps, with many of them staying all-year round if the conditions remain perfect.

“The flamingos usually stay between November and April but there is no way of telling how long the black flamingo will stay for. My advice would be to take the opportunity to see it now, because we cannot be sure it will be back again next year, although it does seem to like it here.”

The bases are exceptionally attractive for birds with more than three hundred species recorded and the cliff faces in Episkopi are home to the only nesting pairs of Griffin vultures found on the island.


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