Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus)
Introduction This news item, about the new National Bird of Mauritius, is courtesy of the May 2022 edition of Stamp Magazine, supplemented by information from the Mauritius Government website.
On 12 March 2022, the Republic of Mauritius celebrated its 30th anniversary. As part of these celebrations, Mauritius Post issued a single new stamp illustrating the Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) as the new national bird, replacing the extinct Dodo.
The Mauritius Government website says of the new national bird:
“The Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) is unique to Mauritius and is one of the nine endemic bird species still left on the island. The species was saved in-extremis with an increase from just four birds in 1974, including a single breeding female, to a peak of about 600 individuals. However, because of the degradation of the Mauritian native forests, the kestrels are now found only on the eastern and western part of the island – where they continue to face the effects of habitat degradation and predators. The actual population of the Mauritius Kestrel in the wild amounts to some 350 individuals“
Hopefully, the nomination of the Mauritius Kestrel as the new national bird will give greater impetus to conservation efforts both by the public authorities and wildlife and bird protection charities.