Nov 16, 2008

Fiji Stamps Land Birds Of Fiji

Land Birds Of Fiji

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July 25th 1995

Birds are Fiji's most conspicuous wildlife and are a key component of the nation's natural heritage. Although small in number, the avifauna abounds with interesting species. They range from the Kula with cultural significance, to the Silktail which is of special scientific interest.

More important still are those birds which give us joy everyday by their very presence. Who is not inspired by the resonant carol of the Giant Forest Honeyeater, the rare Golden Dove or a flock of Red-headed Parrotfinches on our lawn. Approximately one third of Fiji's land birds are endemic - being found nowhere else in the world.

Some, such as the Ogea Flycatcher have very restricted ranges, just a few square kilometres. Many of the more spectacular birds such as the Blue-crested Broadbill, the Yellow-breasted Musk Parrot and the Orange Dove are rarely seen by casual observers because they are confined to forests and are never seen in open habitats. Fortunately, there are exceptions, a good example being the Kula or Collared Lory. This spectacular little parrot is equally at home in central Suva as in the forested interior.

Overall the survival of Fiji's avifauna, especially the rarer endemic forms, is dependent to a large degree on the wise use and conservation of our forests.

Post Fiji has released a set of eight stamps depicting Land Birds Of Fiji. The designs are as follows:

13 cents - Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus)

The Island Thrush is a shy and secretive inhabitant of Fiji's forests and is confined to the larger islands. It favours forest areas with a tall continuous canopy so that there is little undergrowth at ground level where it feeds on the forest floor. Usually, all one sees of the Island Thrush is a dark flash hurtling low down in the forest, all the time scolding its disturbers with a harsh, chattering alarm call.

23 cents - Many-coloured Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus perousii)

The many-coloured Fruit-dove is one of Fiji's poorly known species, yet it is widespread in the islands and generally common, though local, in distribution. The male Many-coloured Fruit-dove is one of Fiji's most spectacularly colourful birds, yet it is surprisingly difficult to see when sitting motionless on the top of the tree. Flocks of this Fruit-dove used to commonly visit the Botanical Gardens and the Banyan Fig Trees along Suva Point Road but this is now a rare occurrence. It can still sometimes be seen in areas of bush remaining within suburban Suva.

31 cents - Mangrove Heron (Butorides striatus)

Fiji's Mangrove Heron is a shy and generally inconspicuous species. It is restricted to the presence of large stands of mangrove. In their vicinity the Heron may venture out onto adjacent mud flats and fringing reefs where it may be seen in its characteristic hunched-up posture, staying motionless for long periods as it waits for prey to venture close to it before striking with great rapidity. The Mangrove Heron builds a quite bulky nest, several metres above the water, deep in mangrove forests.

44 cents - Purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

The Purple Swamphen is another ground-dwelling bird which has succumbed to the introduced mongoose. Consequently it is only found on some of the small islands and other mongoose-free islands such as Taveuni, Kadavu and Ovalau. Visitors from New Zealand will recognise the Fiji Swamphen as their Pukeko, but in Fiji it is not such an adaptable and common bird.

63 cents - Fiji Goshawk (Accipiter rufitorques)

The Fiji Goshawk is one of Fiji's special birds. It is a well-known and handsome bird of prey which is found nowhere else in the world. Fortunately the Goshawk is a common species and found throughout Fiji, except in the Southern Lau Group. It can be observed even in urban areas where it helps to keep down the population of Mynah birds. In Suva a pair of Goshawks have for several years built their bulky nest in the large Rain Trees on the University campus. Other pairs sometimes nest in the Botanical Gardens.

81 cents - Kadavu Fantail (Rhipidura personata)

The Kadavu Fantail, as its name implies, is found on Kadavu and nowhere else in the world. It is a common and characteristic bird of Kadavu's forests where its inquisitiveness brings it out to meet any visitors in the forest. Frequently such visitors are harangued with drooping wings, a fanned tail and harsh scolding call.

$2 - Peregrine Falcon (Falcon peregrinus)

The Peregrine Falcon is one of the world's best known species After many years of decline caused by indiscriminate use of pesticides, the Falcon is making a welcome return in many parts of the world. Fiji has only a small population of less than a 100 pairs of Peregrine Falcons. To many rural Fijians it is a well known species and the subject of folk-lore and mythology. Fiji's Peregrines are restricted to nesting sites on large cliffs. The stoop of the Peregrine Falcon, as it descends on its intended victim, is believed to be the fastest speed attained by any bird.

$3 - Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The Barn Owl is one of the world's most cosmopolitan birds. It is found on every continent except Antarctica and on many of the smaller oceanic islands. This nocturnal bird of prey is found on all but the smallest islands in Fiji. It is a well known species and the subject of much local folk-lore. In Fiji Barn Owls eat rats and mice almost exclusively and in this manner do much good. During the breeding season they make a wide variety of noises, the best known being a harsh screeching while in flight.

Official First day Cover

Not shown

Technical details

Title Land Birds Of Fiji
Values 13c, 23c, 31c, 44c, 63c, 81c, $2, $3
Designer Andrew Robinson
Printer Joh. Enschede Security of Holland
Process Lithography
Stamp Size 25 x 18 mm
Pane 100 (2 x 50)
Perforation 12.75 x 13.25 per 2cm
Souvenir Sheet None
Paper Crown Agents Watermarked

Period of sale - The stamps of this issue will remain on sale at the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau for an indefinite period or until replaced by a new series.

Online ordering now available for Deposit/Standing order account holders!

Fiji Stamps Land Birds Of Fiji