About 17,000 birds spend the winter in the wetlands of Cyprus, BirdLife Cyprus and the game and wildlife service on Monday to mark World Wetlands Day, marked globally on February 2.

On January 16 and 17 the survey Mid-winter waterfowl survey conducted by the International Waterbird Census (IWC) included 50 locations in Cyprus, recording 16,745 waterbirds of 68 different species.

The flamingo was the most recorded bird (7,758 birds), followed by the common teal (Anas crecca) with 2,196.

The wetland with the largest concentration of waterbirds and other species was the Larnaca salt lake, with 10,431 birds of 30 different species.

Large numbers of waterbirds were also recorded at the Akrotiri peninsula salt lakes (2,706 birds), Oroklini lake (1,073 birds) and Paralimni lake (906).

In honour of World Wetlands Day, sights and sounds from Oroklini lake will be broadcast live on BirdLife Cyprus’ Facebook page at 4pm on Wednesday. Spectators will be able to enjoy an afternoon with the lake’s many winged visitors from the comfort of their own home.

World Wetlands Day commemorates the signing of the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance. Signed in Iran on February 2, 1971, it is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.

The salt lakes of Larnaca and Akrotiri have been established as Ramsar sites thanks to their important role as a stopover for thousands of migratory birds.