Birds Definitives Set
22 May 2020
This is more my type of stamp issue: a new definitive stamp set that will hopefully have postal usage. The Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) has recently issued this set of five definitives for the Marshal Islands. They add to an already comprehensive list of bird stamps from this country.
The five birds featured are:
- $26.25 Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)
- $15.50 Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
- $7.75 Long-tailed Koel (Urodynamis taitensis)
- $0.06 [6c] Crimson Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus)
- $1.45 Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
The Sacred Kingfisher has made a couple of recent appearances on the stamps of the Marshall Islands. This set of four stamps in a souvenir sheet dates from 22 May 2019. Prior to that, there was one stamp issue in March 2019, as part of a set of six stamps on the theme of birds of the Marshall Islands.
Other countries that have issued Sacred Kingfisher stamps include Australia and New Zealand, as well as Guinea. The bird is widely found in Oceania and is classified in the “Least Concern” category.
The Tufted Duck is a truly global bird and features on some 30 stamps from around the world. Interestingly, a few of these issues also show the brown female, including those from Jersey, Maldives, Palau and Romania. The Tufted Duck is also classed as being in the “Least Concern” group.
The Long-tailed Koel is one of six land birds that is a resident of the Marshall Islands. It has a broad distribution across the islands and land masses of the Pacific Ocean. The Birdlife Data zone states that the Long-tailed Koel is in the “Least Concern” category, though the population numbers as a whole are suspected of being in decline, owing to habitat destruction, a message that is too common.
The bird theme website shows that there are ten previous stamps featuring this bird, issued by Tuvalu, Niue, Norfolk Island as well as Micronesia and the Marshall Islands (back in 2002) and Kiribati. One of the Tuvalu issues was for the “Kosovo Relief Fund”. The connection between these two countries doesn’t immediately spring to mind.
The Tongan or Crimson Crowned Fruit Dove is another bird that has featured on a dozen stamp issues from countries in the Pacific, where it is to be found. These issues include ones from Niue, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji and the Marshall Islands (in 199, 2002 and 2008). It is in the “Least Concern” category.
The Arctic Tern is also well represented on stamps reflecting its broad geographical spread. It is another bird classed as being in the “Least Concern” category, notwithstanding that there is likely a decreasing population trend.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any information on the postal rates for the Marshall Islands Post Office. We can only hope that the odd values in this set do correspond to the real postal rates for 2020.