Last week, on Boxing Day, I went along with for an outing to Larnaca to see a bird that had been reported there – White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala).
Why is this duck interesting, you might ask. For its rarity, mostly. This species’ population was probably over 100,000 in the early 20th century, falling to an estimated 19,000 birds in 1991, since when numbers have probably declined to less than 10,000 individuals. Concurrently, breeding populations have become extinct in Italy, France, Hungary, Albania, Yugoslavia, Greece, Israel and Egypt, and probably also in the Ukraine and Armenia. [Supporting data is cited on the linked Birdlife Species Factsheet.]
There had been reports of one of these ducks from a few days before our trek, but none that day. We did however see a number of other neat birds that I’d either not yet seen or seen only once before: Black-necked Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mediterranean Gull, Armenian Gull, Northern Lapwing, Water Rail, Mustached Warbler, Common Snipe, Spur-winged Plover, Long-legged Buzzard, and Little Owl.
Image source: Wikipedia