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Tropical Birds

(27 June 2002)

 

Tropical Birds Tropical Birds

Click on covers above to enlarge.

Malaysia's rainforests house over 400 species of birds, which are highly dependent on the ecosystem of the equatorial rainforest. Most species are colorful with bright plumages while some are rather dull with patterns of brown and grey which are often difficult to identify. Many species inhibit the forest canopy and are very seldom seen but their attractive calls, which are the characteristic sounds of the rainforest, serve to announce their presence. many have also adapted to habitat change and live in wooded areas in towns and cities throughout Malaysia and Singapore. Tourists from abroad visit Malaysia and Singapore in great numbers to watch and appreciate the beauty of the tropical birds found here.

Tropical birds are most active at dawn when they go about the serious business of foraging for food. They feed on a variety of items from worms and termites to berries, seeds and nectar. During the breeding season, the intensity of feeding increases in order to provide food for newly hatched chicks.

Observing tropical birds in their natural environment is a very rewarding experience. Besides the rainforest, most Malaysian towns or cities hold green patches of woodland which attract birds. These birds can be comfortably viewed from your sitting room or verandah, allowing you to appreciate yet one of the many facets of nature at your very own doorstep. This stamp series is the first joint issue between Malaysia and Singapore.

Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

This attractive bird is a familiar garden bird in both Malaysia and Singapore. Approximately 27 cm in length, it is largely saffron yellow with a prominent black band running from the eye around the back of the neck. Its melodious fluty song is a characteristic sound of both urban and rural environments here. This bird is principally a fruit eater, feeding largely on berries from fruiting trees or shrubs. It is fairly tame and may be viewed at relatively close range.

White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis)

This large woodpecker, measuring 43 cm, frequents the canopy and middle storey of the rainforest. It is largely black above, contrasting with a white belly below. Both the male and female have a prominent red crest, which is more prominent and erect in the male. It moves around singly or in pairs, probing the bark and branches of trees for food. In Malaysia, it is fairly common but in Singapore, it is rare, confined to the last few patches of rainforest there.

Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella)

A fairly robust bird measuring 25 cm in length, the male is principally shining blue above and black below while the female is mainly verditer blue. This bird also frequents the forest canopy in small parties, feeding mainly on fruit. It frequently visits fruiting fig trees in the forest to feed on ripe fruit together with other fruit-eating birds. A good songster with loud flowing songs, it sometimes hawks for insects at the forest edge. In Singapore, it is confined to the remaining patches of rainforest.

Red-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes rhodolaema)

Measuring 13 cm in length, this sunbird resembles the much more common Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malaccensis) except that the male has a light brick red throat and dark maroon sides of head and upper wing coverts. It frequents the forest canopy, feeding largely amongst the flowers of forest trees. In Malaysia, it is found mainly at low altitudes up to 790 m above sea level. It has been extinct in Singapore since 1897. Its call consists mainly of metallic trills and chirps.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)

This tiny bird is found in the forest edge, scrub, mature plantations and wooded gardens. An active bird, it frequently gathers in trees and shrubs, feeding on ripe berries. The male often sings from an exposed perch.



Technical Details

Date of Issue 27 June 2002
Denomination 30 sen (2 designs), RM1.00 (2 designs)
Stamp Size 30mm X 40mm
Miniature Sheet Denomination RM5.00
Miniature Sheet Size 100mm X 70mm
Stamp Size in Miniature Sheet 40mm X 60mm
Perforation 14
Sheet Content 20 stamps
Paper SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process Lithography

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