Migrant breeder in Cyprus and the Akamas peninsula. It arrives on the island in mid-March to April and departs from August to September. It overwinters in a rather restricted zone below the Sahara and migrates – breeds in an also restricted area of SW Europe and SW Mediterranean area.
Breeding areas are mainly forested areas but also more open places with plenty of sparse trees and tall bushes. It belongs in the Shrike ‘Laniidae’ family, which are small birds that prey mainly on large insects, but also lizards, even small rodents. They frequently spike their prey on thorns of bushes to feed on them later. It usually perches on bushes or trees, from where it scans its area for prey and when it spots something it strikes and catches it with its beak, mostly on the ground but also on air.
It’s the smallest species of the family in Cyprus and Europe and the only one breeding in good numbers in Cyprus, including the Akamas peninsula area. It’s small but obviously bigger than a sparrow, with a rather big head and long tail. It has a black and white upper side with white belly in the middle and more orangey-rufous sides that almost extend up to the neck.