A resident bird of Cyprus and the Akamas, with the population being enriched in the winter by incoming birds from more northern regions of Europe. It’s a quite common species, which is observed mainly in open areas with bushes, but also in areas with scattered trees. It’s a very common, typical species in agricultural areas, especially with wheat, cereal and other low crops.
In winter it is usually gregarious in small or larger groups, while in spring and breeding season it is in pairs or small family groups. It’s usually seen on the ground looking for seeds, which it mainly feeds on, while during the chick-rearing period it also feeds a lot on insects. It also often sits on bushes or low trees, power lines, fences and poles, not too high in relation to the ground, singing its characteristic song.
It nests on low bushes close to the ground. It’s a biggish bunting species, noticeably larger than a House Sparrow. The two sexes are similar, without intense coloration and not identifiable in the field. In general, its color is grey-brown with streaks on top, while whitish with dark vertical stripes on the chest and belly.
Probably because of its color, which at first glance resembles a sparrow, but also because of its characteristic song, its Cypriot name ‘Tsakrostrouthos’ (meaning the sparrow with an ‘explosive’ voice) comes from.