Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) Cyprus - Σταυρομύτης - Cyprus

The red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae, also known as the common crossbill in Eurasia. Crossbills have distinctive mandibles, crossed at the tips, which enable them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits.

Adults are often brightly coloured, with red or orange males and green or yellow females, but there is wide variation in colour, beak size and shape, and call types, leading to different classifications of variants, some of which have been named as subspecies.

Crossbills are characterized by the mandibles crossing at their tips, which gives the group its English name. Using their crossed mandibles for leverage, crossbills are able to efficiently separate the scales of conifer cones and extract the seeds on which they feed. Adult males tend to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation.

In North America, nine distinct red crossbill variants (referred to as call types) differing in vocalizations as well as beak size and shape are recognized. Each call type evolved to specialize on different species of conifer.

The red crossbill breeds in the spruce forests of North America, as well as Europe and Asia. Some populations breed in pine forests in certain areas of all three continents, and in North America, also in Douglas-fir. It nests in conifers, laying 3–5 eggs.

This crossbill is mainly resident, but often irrupts south when its food source fails. These irruptions led in the twentieth century to the establishment of permanent breeding colonies in England, and more recently in Ireland. This species forms flocks outside the breeding season, often mixed with other crossbills.

The first known irruption, recorded in England by the chronicler Matthew Paris, was in 1254; the next, also in England, appears to have been in 1593 (by which time the earlier irruption had apparently been entirely forgotten, since the crossbills were described as "unknown" in England). The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote that "It sometimes is met with in great numbers in this country, but its visits are not regular", adding that many hundreds arrived in 1821. Bewick then cites Matthew Paris as writing "In 1254, in the fruit season, certain wonderful birds, which had never before been seen in England, appeared, chiefly in the orchards. They were a little bigger than Larks, and eat the pippins of the apples [pomorum grana] but no other part of them... They had the parts of the beak crossed [cancellatas] by which they divided the apples as with a forceps or knife. The parts of the apples which they left were as if they had been infected with poison." Bewick further records an account by Sir Roger Twysden for the Additions to the Additamenta of Matt. Paris "that in the apple season of 1593, an immense multitude of unknown birds came into England ... swallowing nothing but the pippins, [granella ipsa sive acinos] and for the purpose of dividing the apple, their beaks were admirably adapted by nature, for they turn back, and strike one point upon the other, so as to show ... the transverse sickles, one turned past the other.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_crossbill

Photos and videos Troodos by George Konstantinou

Monday, 10 July 2017

Axillary seabream - Pagellus acarne - (μουσμούλια ή φατσούκλια) - Cyprus

Pagellus is a genus of porgies in the family Sparidae.

Underwater photos at Akamas by Kostas Aristeidou

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Εκπομπή στον ASTRA " Φίδια της Κύπρου " Με τον Γιώργο Κωνσταντίνου - 29 06 2017


Εκπομπή στον ASTRA 92,8 και 105,3 την Πέμπτη  29 6 2017, λίγο μετά τις 9:00 με την Σόνια Φιλίππου !!! Το θέμα μας θα είναι  " Φίδια της Κύπρου "  που θα μας το αναπτύξει ο φιλοξενούμενος μας Κος Γιώργος Κωνσταντίνου ειδικός Φυσιοδίφης , ερευνητής βιοποικιλότητας και φωτογράφος και κινηματογραφιστής ‘άγριας ζωής και πρόεδρος του συνδέσμου προστασίας φυσικής κληρονομιάς και βιοποικιλότητας της Κύπρου.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Aporia crataegi (Linnaeus, 1758) - The black-veined white - Cyprus

Family Pieridae

Aporia crataegi, the black-veined white, is a large butterfly of the family Pieridae.

Distribution and habitat
It occurs in open forest, grazing land, orchards. lanes, gardens, meadows and thickets throughout most of Europe, temperate Asia, Korea, and Japan. It is normally found at altitudes of 500 to 2,000 metres (1,600 to 6,600 ft). This species is extinct in the British Isles. In Cyprus Aporia crataegi is very rare and can be seen at few localities.

The black-veined white has a wingspan of 51 to 70 mm (2.0 to 2.8 in). Females are commonly larger than males. The upperside of both forewings and hindwings is a translucent white boldly veined with black. The underside is similar in the male but the female has brown veining. Moreover, the female loses most of her scales by rubbing her wings together, resulting almost-transparent.

This butterfly can be distinguished from other members of white butterflies of the genus Pieris by its distinctive veined wings.

The eggs are yellow at first, darkening with age. The caterpillars are greenish grey with transverse banding. The pupa is creamy white, marked with black, attached by a silken girdle to a twig.

The flight period of the black-veined white is between April and July. The adults are quite social and their abundance varies greatly from year to year. The eggs are laid on the food plant, usually a member of the rose family Rosaceae and often on trees and bushes (Malus domestica, Malus micromalus, Pyrus communis, Pyrus serotina, Sorbus intermedia, Sorbus hybrida, Sorbus aucuparia, Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha, Crataegus jozana, Prunus spinosa, Prunus padus, Prunus ssiori, Betula spp., Salix phylicifolia, Chaenomeles lagenaria).

The eggs are laid in groups of 30 to 100. They take about three weeks to hatch. The caterpillars tend to remain in a group with a communal larval web. This species has one generation each year. The caterpillars overwinter communally in a webbing tent with entwined leaves. Caterpillars feed close together on the leaves of the food plant at first, before dispersing in the later developmental stages to other parts of the tree. The pupal stage lasts about three weeks. Info from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aporia_crataegi

Photos by Michael Hadjiconstantis at Troodos, Jun 2017.