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07 July 1969
4/1969
Commemorative Issue

Birds of Cyprus

Cyprus
Caracias Garrulus  

Caracias Garrulus

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Roller Coracias is a member of the Coracidae family, and visits Cyprus in spring, coming from Africa. Several of these birds stay in the island and breed. Most of them fly on to Europe and migrate as far as Siberia. In Autumn they leave Cyprus and Europe and sometimes migrate as far as Transvaal. Coracias is a large bird measuring 12 inches. It has beautiful coloured feathers but an ugly voice. In Cyprus it is not a garrulous bird. It builds its nest in holes on rocks or trees or in abandoned houses and lays 3-5 beautiful eggs. It is very useful because it feeds on insects and small serpents. Its folk name is "Kranga" or "Greek Karakaxa".

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Larus Audouini  

Larus Audouini

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Audouin's Gull belongs to the Laridae family and measures 19.5 inches. It is a rare bird and can only be found in the Mediterranean. From searches and studies of ornithologists all over the world in has been proved that the population of this particular species (in 1969) does not exist 2000. It was formerly believed that this gull was a passing visitor of Cyprus, but recent investigations of the Cyprus Ornithological Society have shown that this gull is a permanent resident of Cyprus, inhabiting the Klidhes Islets near the Cape of St. Andreas. Very few countries can boast of entertaining this rare bird, these being the Aegean Islands, Corsica, Sicily and the Tunisian coasts. Like all other gulls it feeds on small fish and rubbish thrown from ships.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Sylvia melanothorax  

Sylvia melanothorax

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The Cyprus Warbler belongs to the Sylvidae family. It may be said that it is the national bird of Cyprus, as it cannot be found in any other country in the world. A small number of these birds migrate to Palestine where they spend a few months and return again to Cyprus. The warbler builds its nest in small bushes and fences, hence its folk name "Trypomazis" or "Trypofraktis". It can be seen everywhere in the island, but in winter it flies to lower altitudes, usually by the seashore where it lives in thick rushes. Its void is melancholic. This small bird feeds on insects and wild fruits.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Garrulus Glandarius  

Garrulus Glandarius

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The Cyprus jay belongs to the Corvidae family and is a resident of Cyprus. It prefers the high altitudes, mainly over 4500 feet. Very seldom is it found in smaller heights, but never below 2500 feet. It always inhabits the Troodos range. This bird, measuring 13 inches, is quite different from that of Europe, and as it cannot be found in any other of the world with the same characteristics, it is known as the Cyprus jay. In spite of its large size it does not make any noise while moving through the thickest trees, and it is only its voice that betrays its presence. It builds its nest in tall trees and lays 5-6 eggs. It feeds on worms, snails and grass. It is however partial to other birds' nests; it swallows the eggs or eats the young birds.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Upupa Epops  

Upupa Epops

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The hoopoe visits Cyprus during the spring, and a small number of these birds stay in Cyprus where they breed. In autumn the hoopoe migrates to Africa. It is well known in western and northern Europe and in countries of the Mediterranean. From the ancient times Aeschylus and Aristotle have referee to this bird as changing colour and behaviour according to the season. The ancients considered it as a symbol of filial love and believed that parts of its body, its heart and liver in particular, if eaten restore the lost memory. The hoopoe is a useful bird to farmers because it feeds on insects. Its folk name in Cyprus is "Poupouxios" and in Greece "Tsalapetinos". It belongs to the Upupidae family and its size is 10-11 inches.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

Falco Eleonorae  

Falco Eleonorae

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This falcon belongs to the Falconidae family. It visits Cyprus in spring and leaves in October, but some of these birds remain in Cyprus all year round. It lays 2 to 3 eggs in July and August. It builds its nest on cliffs mainly by the coast and nestles in groups. The falcon can easily be tamed. In the Middle Ages in was tamed and used for hunting other birds. Its name derives from the Lusignan Queen Eleonora, wife of Peter IV who reigned in Cyprus from 1345 to 1365. During the Turkish rule the Cypriot Pasha sometimes imposed the death penalty on those who failed to deliver captured falcons, as the Sultan had the monopoly of tamed falcons. Eleonora's falcon has beautiful black eyes from which it took its folk name "Mavromatis". During its migrations it can cover thousands of miles. A typical example is that of a falcon which, after being captured at Akrotiri and a ring put round its leg, was recaptured in Madagascar only a few weeks later.

Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.

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