The Game and Fauna Service (GFS), along with Birdlife Cyprus, placed a number of bird nesting boxes for Rollers in the area of Polis Chrysochous. This activity took place in the framework of the Pandoteira project in April, 2023.
The area around the villages of Adrolikou and Fasli, is one of the most important nesting areas for Rollers (Coracias garrulus) in Cyprus. In this area, many of the establishments where Rollers used to nest, have collapsed and a number of old trees have been cut down. That’s where Pandoteira comes in, to place artificial nests, which will help with the increase of the species’ population on the island.
But instead of building new nests, we decided to follow the alternative option of reuse! The nesting boxes are actually built from old ammunition boxes, which have been adjusted in order to be suitable for the specific species to nest in. This way we lower the production cost, while at the same time save valuable resources, like wood and energy resources.
This ‘refurbishment’ was made possible with the contribution of old ammunition boxes from the Cypriot National Guard to the GFS. This is actually not the first time the GFS builds such nests, as this has previously been done for Rollers, Barn owls and Scops owls.
What’s so special about European rollers?
Rollers are summer visitors to Cyprus. They come to the island in order to nest in April, while in many cases they are also migratory. Many individuals of the species use Cyprus as a resting stop en route to Europe, where they will nest, or Africa where they will overwinter.
It is a species that nests in cavities of large trees, on riverbanks and walls of old houses. In Cyprus, it nests in lowland and semi-mountainous areas, mainly with mild agriculture and animal husbandry. It feeds on large insects and small reptiles, which the species usually hunts from perches such as wires, trees or tall bushes.
The European roller population on our island has decreased due to the intensification of agriculture, monocultures, use of pesticides, felling of old trees (mostly Carob trees) and the destruction of natural hedges. Also, the population of the species is negatively affected by the building of roads near river bottoms and the destruction of old buildings.
The Pandoteira project
The Roller nests were placed within the framework of the Pandoteira project. Pandoteira focuses on managing the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus and its purpose is to make the Natura 2000 network more effective and functional, as well as sustainable. The project is co-funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme, the coordinating beneficiary is the Department of Environment, while the consortium also includes 13 associated beneficiaries from public bodies, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and private companies.