Saturday, December 18, 2010

Birdlife International–St. Helena 2007

On year 2007, Saint Helena Post has issued the birdlife stamp series that featured the species Black Noddy, Sooty Tern, Madeiran Storm Petrel, and Masked Booby with different face values.All stamps have logo of Birdlife International.


The Black Noddy or White-capped Noddy (Anous minutus) is a seabird from the tern family.It is smaller than the Common Noddy with darker plumage, a whiter cap, a longer, straighter beak and shorter tail.
The Black Noddy has a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical seas, with colonies widespread in the Pacific Ocean and more scattered across the Caribbean, central Atlantic and in the northeast Indian Ocean. 

The nests of these birds consist on a level platform, often created in the branches of trees by a series of dried leaves covered with bird droppings. It is usually seen close to its breeding colonies within 80 km of shore. Birds return to colonies, or other islands, in order to roost at night. 

The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion.For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

The Madeiran Storm-petrel, Oceanodroma castro, is of the storm-petrel family Hydrobatidae and has distinctive characteristic is mainly black with an extensive white rump with the forked tail, long wings, and flight behaviour.The measured size is 19-21 cm in length with a 43-46 cm wingspan, and weights 44-49g.
The Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro breeds in the eastern Atlantic from the Berlengas Islands and the Azores (Portugal), down to Ascension Island and Saint Helena (St Helena to UK), and in the Pacific off eastern Japan, on Kauai, Hawaii (USA) and on the Galapagos Islands.

It nests in colonies close to the sea in rock crevices and lays a single white egg. It spends the rest of the year at sea.This storm-petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by gulls and skuas, and will even avoid coming to land on clear moonlit nights. Like most petrels, its walking ability is limited to a short shuffle to the burrow.

Recently the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion.For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


The Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra, is a large seabird of the booby family, Sulidae. This species breeds on islands in tropical oceans, except in the eastern Atlantic.The Masked Booby nests in small colonies, laying two chalky white eggs on sandy beaches in shallow depressions, which are incubated by both adults for 45 days.

The Masked Booby is the largest booby, at 81–91 cm long, and with a 152 cm wingspan and 1500 g weight. Adults are white with pointed black wings, a pointed black tail, and a dark grey facemask.Masked Boobies are spectacular divers, plunging diagonally into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish, including flying fish.

The Masked Booby is silent at sea, but has a reedy whistling greeting call at the nesting colonies. While on the breeding grounds, these birds display a wide range of hissing and quacking notes.


The Sooty Tern, Onychoprion fuscatus (formerly Sterna fuscata), is a seabird of the tern family (Sternidae). It is a bird of the tropical oceans, breeding on islands throughout the equatorial zone.The Sooty Tern is migratory and dispersive, wintering more widely through the tropical oceans.The Sooty Terns are generally found inland only after severe storms.

The Sooty Tern is a large tern with  size  of 33–36 cm  long and wing span about  82–94 cm . The wings and deeply forked tail are long, and it has dark black upper-parts and white under-parts. It has black legs and bill. 

Sooty Terns breed in colonies on rocky or coral islands. It nests in a ground scrape or hole and lays one to three eggs.The average life span is 32 years.

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