Monday, November 28, 2011

Australian Kingfishers

On October 26, 2010, Australia  Post released the stamp series depicts Australian Kingfishers, illustrated by wildlife artist Christopher Pope.This issue comprises of 4 postage stamps depicts Sacred Kingfishers, Blue-winged kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfishers, and Red-backed Kingfishers.

Kingfishers comprise a distinctive and spectacular group. There are 95 species worldwide, 10 occurring in Australia. Two species are endemic – the Red-backed Kingfisher and the Laughing Kookaburra – and eight are shared with other countries.

Kingfishers, which include kookaburras, belong to the bird order Coraciiformes, Its vary in size. The smallest species is around 10cm in length, the largest – the Laughing Kookaburra – is around 45cm. 

imageSacred Kingfisher
In Australia, The Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) is primarily a woodland kingfisher that occurs   in eucalypt forests, melaleuca forests, woodland and paperbark forests.It is 19–23 cm  long, and feeds on insects, small crustaceans, fish, small rodents and reptiles but reports of it eating small finches are rare. Sacred Kingfishers lay about five eggs.


The Blue-winged Kookaburra, Dacelo leachii, is a large species of kingfisher native to northern Australia and southern New Guinea​.
Measuring around 40 cm , it is slightly smaller than the more familiar Laughing Kookaburra. It has cream-coloured upper- and under parts barred with brownish markings.
It has blue wings and brown shoulders and blue rump. It is sexually dimorphic, with a blue tail in the male, and a rufous tail with blackish bars in the female.

The Blue-winged Kookaburra hunts and eats a great variety of animals that live on or close to the ground. In the summer wet season, insects, lizards and frogs make up a higher proportion of their diet, while they eat arthropods such as crayfish, scorpions, spiders, fish, earthworms, small birds and rodents at other times.
The Red Goshawk and Rufous Owl prey upon the Blue-winged Kookaburra. Adult birds are also slow flyers and vulnerable to being hit by cars on country roads. Nests are susceptible to raids by Olive Pythons, quolls and goannas.The Blue-winged Kookaburra is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


The Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Syma torotoro) is a medium-sized (length 20 cm, wingspan 29 cm, weight 40 g) tree kingfisher. Its colouring is distinctive; it has an orange head and neck with a black nape patch and white throat.Adult females also have a black crown patch.
The upper mantle is blackish grading to olive green on the back, blue-green on rump and with a blue tail.

The upper-wing is dull green-blue with dark olive-black flight feathers. The under-parts are pale orange-grey. The bill is orange-yellow in adults, dark grey in juveniles.

With a large range and no evidence of significant decline, the conservation status of this species is assessed as being of Least Concern.The kingfisher is known to prey on large insects, earthworms and lizards.


The Red-backed Kingfisher (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) is a species of kingfisher in the Halcyonidae family, .The Red-backed Kingfisher is a predominantly blue-green and white bird with a chestnut rump. It is also known as tree kingfishers.
The Red-backed Kingfisher is native to most of Australia. It inhabits dry forests, mulga and mallee country, to savannah.and  avoids denser forests.

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