Niue:Stamps on Birds

\"\"By Datta Dharmadhikari

Niue  is a small island located  in the South Pacific   Ocean. With almost a quarter of Niue made up of virgin rainforest, it’s no surprise that this beautiful nation is full of impressive birdlife.  Flying in the tropical landscape, these exotic creatures are a stunning addition to this island paradise.

The Niue Birds 2011 stamps to be released on 6th July, 2011,  is a fitting tribute to the fascinating birds that call Niue home.  These bird-themed stamps feature three of Niue’s favourite species.  Also included in this stunning collection is an innovatively shaped miniature sheet that truly captures the spirit of this vibrant stamp issue.

With its stubby bill and mainly brown feathering, the MITI (Aplonis tabuensis) is a sociable bird that moves about as part of a family group. Niue has its own endemic subspecies of this charming bird, known as Aplonis tabuensis brunnescens. This bird has been depicted on $1.70  stamp.

The HEAHEA (Lalage maculosa) is a medium-sized black-and-white bird has been featured on $2.00 stamp. The bird has got distinguishing black eye-stripe and a narrow white tail tip. An active and noisy animal, it is a fast flyer with a variety of calls and is one of the more approachable birds in Niue.

S2.40 stamp shows the Kulukulu(Pritinopus porphyraceus) bird which is highly distinctive owing to its tropical colouring.  Much of its body is green and grey, but what truly makes it stand out is its crimson crown.  This vibrant dove tends to be solitary or live in a pair, and feeds mainly on berries.

All three birds are celebrated together on the innovative miniature sheet with a tropical touch.  The sheet is produced in the shape of two hega (Vini australis). This small parrot is bright green in colour with a blue/purple crown and a red chin, throat, cheeks and upper belly. The hega is found throughout south-central Polynesia, including the tropical rainforest of Niue.

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