Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snakes of Slovenia

Slovenia Post issued the stamp series depicted snakes, Vipera aspis, Coronella austriaca, Natrix natrix, Vipera ammodytes on September 24, 2009. The stamp set comprised of 3 stamps and one souvenir sheet.


The asp viper (Vipera aspis) is distinguished from our other venomous snakes by its dorsal markings, consisting of two rows of alternating dark transverse stripes. It is smaller than the horned viper and larger than the common European adder. The tip of the snout is slightly upturned. In Slovenia it only lives to the west of the Soča. Until 2001 it was considered extinct in Slovenia but has since been observed several times in the area of Breginjski Kot, on Kobariški Stol and in the area around Sabotin and Korada, at a height above sea level of between 230 and 1,000 metres. It lives in sunny, extensive karst grassland with relatively sparse vegetation, usually by piles of rock, where it finds hiding places. It preys on small mammals (mice, voles) and, more rarely, lizards and birds. It bears live young. For human beings, the bite of an asp viper has painful and unpleasant consequences, but it is not usually fatal. In Slovenia it is considered an endangered species (IUCN: E) and is protected.


The smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is a relatively small non-venomous snake that can grow to a length of up to 75 centimetres. Its appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the common European adder. It is of a similar size and colour and has a dark pattern on its back. Females retain the eggs within their bodies and in late August or early September give birth to live young. As a result, in summer they can be very fat. The behaviour of the smooth snake is also similar to that of the common European adder. They move relatively slowly and hiss loudly when disturbed. People often mistakenly identify them as venomous and kill them mercilessly. Not only that, but the smooth snake is often found in the vicinity of human habitations, while in Slovenia the common European adder is almost exclusively found in the mountains and hills. The smooth snake can be found all over Slovenia at a height above sea level of between 140 and 1,100 metres, except on the coast. It preys above all on lizards (including slowworms) and occasionally on small mammals. In Slovenia it is considered a vulnerable species (IUCN: V) and is protected.


The grass snake (Natrix natrix) is known in Slovene as belouška ('white-eared snake'), a name deriving from the two light patches on its head. It can vary greatly in terms of colour and entirely black specimens are common. It is one of the commonest snakes and is found throughout Slovenia, from the coast to a height of approximately 1,500 metres above sea level. It can grow to up to two metres in length, although specimens this size are rare. The females are larger than the males. It is not dangerous to human beings although its saliva is slightly venomous. It preys mainly on amphibians and their larvae. The grass snake's venom helps it paralyse its prey while it is consuming it. Even so, it is sometimes possible to hear a frog croaking from inside the belly of a grass snake. Grass snakes are quick to flee from human beings. When they are unable to flee, they defend themselves aggressively by raising the front part of the body, flattening the head, hissing and puffing themselves up. But they never bite. Reproduction is oviparous. In Slovenia the species is not considered to be in danger of extinction (IUCN: O1) but is protected.


The horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) is the largest venomous snake found in Slovenia. It can be recognised by the little horn on the tip of its snout and by its distinct and usually contrasting dorsal markings consisting of dark, connected diamond-shaped patches. The underside of the tail is frequently red. Males are usually grey while females are brownish or brownish-red, but different specimens can vary greatly in colour. The horned viper can be found throughout Slovenia except in Prekmurje; it is also very rare on the coast. In the mountains it can be found up to a height of roughly 1,700 metres above sea level. Horned vipers like warm, rocky areas with sparse vegetation. They prey mainly on small mammals (mice, voles) and, more rarely, on lizards, birds and birds' eggs. They are good climbers and like to climb through bushes and shrubs. The female horned viper bears live young. It is mainly active at twilight, basking in the sun during the day. It has a powerful venom which is, however, not usually fatal to human beings. In Slovenia it is considered a vulnerable species (IUCN: V) and is protected.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The ducks of Luxembourg

On year 2000, Luxembourg Post issued the stamp serieds depicted the duck species, The Mallard, The Pochard, and the Tufted Duck.

The Mallard

The Mallard is certainly the most frequently observed waterbird in Luxembourg. The male is easily recognisable with its yellow bill, green head and blue speculum on his wings. Mallards breed almost on every pond and river throughout our regions.

During wintertime, our resident populations are joined by those of more northern countries. The Mallard is a dabbling duck, that means that he never completely dives under water when feeding.

The Pochard

There is no breeding record for the Pochard so far, although several of those birds summer in the Remerschen gravelpits each year. Pochards are diving ducks that spend much time diving for food. The male is attractive and distinctive: The rounded head is reddish-orange, the breast black contrasting with the greyish upperparts. The female has a uniform grey-brown plumage and is not so distinctive.

In winter time, the Pochards spend their time on the rivers, such as the Moselle river between Luxembourg and Germany.

The Tufted duck

The male of the Tufted duck is very distinctive, looking black and white at a distance. In good light, the dark feathering shows sheen and the yellow eye and the small crest feathers may be seen. The Tufted duck first bred in 1988 in Luxembourg in the Remerschen gravelpits. During winter, some large groups of these diving ducks are observed on the Moselle river.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Endangered Fishes of Macedonia

On Febraury 28, 2007, Macedonia Post issued the stamp series depicts the endangered fishes of Macedonia, Cobitis vardarensis, Chondrostoma vardarense, Barbus macedonicus, Zingel balcanicus, and Leuciscus cephalus-Chub .


Cobitis vardarensis is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cobitidae family.The range of distribution is Aegean Sea basin, from Pinios to Gallikos drainages(Greece, Macedonia).

Their habitat are still waters of lakes, oxbows and backwaters, rarely in flowing water. On mud to silt bottom.The population is very abundant.


Chondrostoma vardarense is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family. It is found in Bulgaria,FYROM, Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey. Its natural habitat is rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.

It is restricted to eastern Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. It inhabits the following river basins: Aoos, Pinios, Aliakmon, Axios (Vardar), Strymon, Nestos and Evros.

It lives in all sized rivers in fast to strong currents. It is, however, declining and it is suspected that the future impact of dams and sedimentation may result in close to a 30% decline in the next 10 years. On this basis of suspected future population decline the species is assessed as Near Threatened.


Barbus macedonicus is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family. It is found only in rivers in northern Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.

Its status is insufficiently known.Although this species has a small range living in rivers where there is habitat destruction, water extraction and pollution there are currently insufficient data to determine the impacts of the known threat to the species.

Range of distribution are restricted to the Axios and Pinios river basins in Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the Loudias and Aliakmon river basins in Greece.


Zingel balcanicus is a species of fish in the Percidae family. It is found in Greece and Macedonia. Its natural habitat is rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Leuciscus cephalus-Chub

The European chub (Squalius cephalus), sometimes called the round chub, fat chub, chevin, pollard or simply "the" chub, is a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae. It frequents both slow and moderate rivers as well as canals and still waters of various kinds in Europe.This species synonym with Leuciscus cephalus-Chub

European chub are popular with anglers due to their readiness to feed, and thus to be caught, in almost any conditions.Small chub are freely-biting fish which even inexperienced anglers find easy to catch.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Birds of Israel

Israel Post issued the stamp series depicts the small passerine bird found in their country. The issuance consisted of three stamps features Carduelis carduelis, Upupa epops, Prinia Gracilis.
Carduelis carduelis
The European Goldfinch or Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) is a small passerine bird in the finch family.The goldfinch breeds across Europe, North Africa, and western and central Asia, in open, partially wooded lowlands. It is resident in the milder west of its range, but migrates from colder regions.
The average Goldfinch is 12–13 cm long with a wingspan of 21–25 cm and a weight of 14 to 19 grams. The sexes are broadly similar, with a red face, black and white head, warm brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings.Goldfinches in breeding condition have a white bill, with a greyish or blackish mark at the tip for the rest of the year.
Juveniles have a plain head and a greyer back but are unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe.
The goldfinch's preferred food is small seeds such as those from thistles (the Latin name is from Carduus, a genus of thistles) and teasels, but insects are also taken when feeding young. It also regularly visits bird feeders in winter.
They nest in the outer twigs of tall leafy trees, or even in bamboo, laying four to six eggs which hatch in 11–14 days.
Upupa epops
The Hoopoe ,Upupa epops, is a colourful bird that is found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae. The English name is derived from Latin upupa, which imitates the cry of the bird.
The Hoopoe is a medium sized bird, 25–32 cm long, with a 44–48 cm wingspan weighing 46-89 g.The species is highly distinctive, with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base. The strengthened musculature of the head allows the bill to be opened when probing inside the soil. The hoopoe has broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight; these are larger in the northern migratory subspecies.
The Hoopoe has a characteristic undulating flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.
Prinia gracilis
The Graceful Prinia, Prinia gracilis, is a small warbler (in some older works it is referred to as Graceful Warbler). This prinia is a resident breeder in Northeast Africa and Southwest Asia, from Egypt and Somalia east to Pakistan and North India, where it is sometimes called Streaked Wren-Warbler.
This active passerine bird is typically found in shrub or tall grass in a variety of habitats with thick undergrowth, tamarisks or similar cover. Graceful Prinia builds its nest in a bush or grass and lays 3-5 eggs.
These 10-11 cm long warblers have short rounded wings, and a long tapering tail with each feather tipped with black and white. In breeding plumage, adults are grey-brown above, with dark streaking.
The underparts are whitish with buff flanks, and the bill is short and black.
The sexes are similar. In winter, adults are brighter sandy brown above with weaker streaking, there is more buff on the sides, and the bill is paler.The long tail is often cocked, and the flight of this species is weak. Like most warblers, Graceful Prinia is insectivorous. The call is a rolling trilled breep, and the song is a hard rolling repletion of zerlip.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Domestic Animal–Horses

On April 15, 2009 Macedonia Post issued the stamp set features domestic animal – Horses. The issuance only consisted of two stamps.


The horse (Equus ferus caballus) is a hooved (ungulate) mammal, a subspecies of the family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began to domesticate horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC.

Although most horses today are domesticated, there are still endangered populations of the Przewalski's Horse, the only remaining true wild horse, as well as more common populations of feral horses which live in the wild but are descended from domesticated ancestors.


Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight instinct.

Depending on breed, management and environment, the domestic horse today has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years.

Horse breeds are loosely divided into three categories based on general temperament: spirited "hot bloods" with speed and endurance; "cold bloods", such as draft horses and some ponies, suitable for slow, heavy work; and "warmbloods", developed from crosses between hot bloods and cold bloods, often focusing on creating breeds for specific riding purposes, particularly in Europe. There are over 300 breeds of horses in the world today, developed for many different uses.

Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sport competitions and non-competitive recreational pursuits, as well as in working activities such as police work, agriculture, entertainment, and therapy. Horses were historically used in warfare, from which a wide variety of riding and driving techniques developed, using many different styles of equipment and methods of control.

Many products are derived from horses, including meat, milk, hide, hair, bone, and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. Humans provide domesticated horses with food, water and shelter, as well as attention from specialists such as veterinarians and farriers.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Armenia Post issued the fifth series of flora fauna stamp wihich depicted Armenian Gampr and Van Cat ( The Turkish Van). The set consist of two stamps.


Armenian Gampr is a breed of livestock guardian dog that originated at Armenian Highlands, including the territories of modern Eastern Anatolia of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, and bred by local people by primitive selection.

Height in withers in male dogs is 65 cm or more, and female dogs is 62 cm or more. Weight shall correspond to the total size of the dog, and usually varies from 45–50 kg to 60 kg.

Gamprs differ by their vital capacity, independence, mind, strong self-preservation instinct, ability of the trustworthy defence and protection of livestock, and exclusive friendliness to humans.


The Turkish Van, or simply just Van, is a recognized cat breed that is known for its unusual love of water and swimming. They were created from the cats native to the Lake Van area. The cats of this type are named in Turkish Van Kedisi , in Armenian vana katu and in Kurdish (Pisîka Wanê).

Originally called in the West the Turkish Cat, the name was changed in 1979 in the U.S. (1985 in the U.K.) to Turkish Van.Turkish Vans are recognized as patterned cats with colour restricted to the head and tail with the body of the cat being white.

The Turkish Van is a large, semi-longhaired cat with a swimmer's body. The cat is moderately long and its back legs are slightly longer than its front legs These cats are large and muscular and feature short necks. Male Vans grow to about 7 kg, while females tend to be a bit lighter in weight, 5 to 6 kg. A Van will take up to 3 years to reach full maturity. Vans have been known to reach 1 m long from nose to tip of tail.

The Turkish Vans love to play in the water and will join you in the tub for a dip or help you in the sink and are known as "the swimming cat." Many Vans are dedicated to fetching their particular object of interest, and many owners describe them as "dogs in a cat suit" because of their unusual personalities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Animals of India–Indipex 2011

St. Vincent & The Grenadine has participated at the International Stamp Exhibition Indipex 2011 and issued the sheetlet composed of 7 stamps depicted animals of India, like as: Indian Peafowl, Indian Elephant, Red Panda, Blackbuck, King Cobra, Indian Leopard, and Indian Rhinoceros.


Indian Peafowl

The Indian Peafowl or Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a large and brightly coloured bird of the pheasant family native to South Asia, but introduced and semi-feral in many other parts of the world.They are found mainly on the ground in open forest or cultivation where they forage for berries, grains but will also prey on snakes, lizards, and small rodents. Their loud calls make them easy to detect, and in forest areas, often indicate the presence of a predator such as a tiger. They forage on the ground, moving in small groups and will usually try to escape on foot through undergrowth and avoid flying.

Indian Elephant

The Indian Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus, is one of four subspecies of the Asian Elephant, the largest population of which is found in India. This subspecies is also found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Burma/Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Indian Elephants live in or near the forest jungle, although their habitat may vary.They usually are found in hot and tropical region. They tend to be nomadic and roaming in nature and do not stay in one place for more than a few days. They can live in jungles but gravitate towards areas that contain open space and grass.
The WWF considers the Indian Elephant widely distributed, but endangered. The current population of the Indian Elephant is in the range of 20,000-25,000

Red Panda

The red panda (Ailurus fulgens, or shining cat), is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn, and is largely sedentary during the day. It is only distantly related to the giant panda.
The red panda has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN because its population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Butterflies of Dominica


Banded Orange Heliconian,

Banded Orange Heliconian or Dryadula phaetusa, also known as the Banded Orange Heliconian is a species of butterfly native from Brazil to central Mexico, and in summer it can be found rarely as far north as central Kansas. Its wingspan ranges from 86 to 89 mm, and it is coloured a bright orange with thick black stripes in males, and a duller orange with fuzzier black stripes in females.
It feeds primarily on the nectar of flowers and bird droppings, and its caterpillar feeds on passion vines including Passiflora tetrastylis. It is generally found in lowland tropical fields and valleys. This species is somewhat unpalatable to birds and belongs to the "orange" Batesian mimicry complex.

Gulf Fritillary

The Gulf Fritillary or  Agraulis vanillae, is a striking, bright orange butterfly of the family Nymphalidae, subfamily Heliconiinae. These were formerly classified in a separate family, the Heliconiidae or longwing butterflies, and like other longwings this species does have long, rather narrow wings in comparison with other butterflies. It is not closely related to the true fritillaries. It is a medium to large butterfly, with a wingspan of 6–9.5 cm.Its underwings are buff, with large silvery spots.It takes its name from migrating flights of the butterflies sometimes seen over the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Animals under protection - European Bison

The Polish Post issued a stamp set series feature the European Bison (Bison bonasus) on December 4th, 1996. The stamp set was designed by  J.Wysocki and composed of 4 stamps with same value.


The European bison  or Bison bonasus , is a species of Eurasian bison.The European bison  is the heaviest surviving land animal in Europe. A typical European bison  is about 2.8 to 3 m  long and 1.8 to 2.2 m tall, and weighs 300 to 920 kg .It is typically lighter than the related American Bison (Bison bison), and has shorter hair on the neck, head and forequarters, but longer tail and horns.

Wisent , also called for the European Bison,  were once hunted to extinction in the wild, but they have since been reintroduced from captivity into several countries in Eastern Europe. They are now forest-dwelling.
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