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Falkland Islands Small Birds Definitive






Habitats



The Falkland Islands is an archipelago of some 750 islands located in
the South Atlantic. Landscapes roll from expansive beaches to lowland
heath and acid grasslands, up into craggy windswept hills. This
naturally treeless Falklands landscape still supports a variety of
habitats for many resident birds.






Threats and Conservation



Like many island ecosystems, avifauna in the Falkland Islands evolved
almost entirely in the absence of mammalian predators. Cats Felis catus,
brown rats Rattus norvegicus, black rats Rattus rattus and house mice
Mus musculus all arrived with the early seafarers. Foxes were also
introduced to a number of islands for their fur. Over half of the
islands in the archipelago, including the two main islands, are known to
have suffered from introduced mammalian predators which take the eggs
and young of ground- and burrow-nesting birds, and in some instances
compete for food resources. Both the endemics Cobb’s Wren Troglodytes
cobbi and Tussacbird Cinclodes antarcticus are exceptionally vulnerable
to predation and cannot survive where rats are present. Falklands
Conservation have undertaken a number of rodent eradications on offshore
islands to reduce the impacts of invasive species on the native bird
populations and their habitats.






Taxonomy



In addition to the endemic Cobb’s Wren and Tussacbird (species found
only in the Falkland Islands), another six of the featured birds are
significantly different from their South American conspecifics and are
described as Falklands subspecies. These are the Dark-faced Ground
Tyrant Muscisaxicola maclovianus maclovianus, Falkland Pipit Anthus
correndera grayi, Falkland Grass Wren Cistothorus platensis
falklandicus, Falkland Thrush Turdus falcklandii falcklandii,
White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera melanodera and the Long-tailed
Meadowlark Sturnella loyca falklandica.






1p Tussacbird



The overall dark brown plumage, slightly curved pointed black bill and
black legs have gained this inquisitive endemic species the local name
of ‘black bird’. The endemic Tussacbird is most abundant on offshore
islands at the Falklands, especially those with no rodents, and habitats
that have not been modified by human activities. This has led the
species to be unusually tame and inquisitive, often approaching boats
and people on the rocky beaches backed by tussac-grass where they are
commonly found. These birds feed on a wide variety of food, from marine
invertebrates on beaches, spiders and crickets amongst grasses, spilt
fish at seabird colonies, and household scraps at rural settlements.
They lay 1-3 white eggs, sometimes spotted with red, in grass nests
hidden in holes in banks or underneath loose rocks.






2p Long-tailed Meadowlark



This striking, red-breasted lark with a heavy pointed bill is known
locally as 'robin' or 'military starling' and is particularly evident in
raucous noisy groups in the late summer to winter. Its larger bill,
general body size and whiter tail feathers separate it as a distinct
race from the South American population. It is widespread throughout the
islands and associated with many habitats including grassland, heath and
settlements. Larks feed on a range of invertebrates including worms and
insects, but also take flowers or seedlings in settlement gardens. It
may lay two broods of 2-4 blue white eggs blotched and streaked with
purple and black in a simple grass nest on the ground.






5p Black-chinned Siskin



A pretty, bright-yellow coloured bird in which the males have a black
crown and chin. The females are duller, but share the curving yellow
band from the eye to the throat. The presence of this species is often
noticed by the constant excited twittering of flocks. This species also
occurs in Patagonia; however, numbers here may be declining. In the
Falklands it is widespread, frequenting introduced trees and gorse
shrubs in and around settlements. Preferred nesting is in scrub and
prior to the introduction of shrubs around settlements and for livestock
shelter belts the distribution of this species could have been more
limited to the native boxwood habitat, which has suffered huge declines
due to its vulnerability to livestock grazing. Nests are simply grass
lined with hair in which are laid 3-5 pink-white eggs spotted with brown.






10p Falkland Pipit



An inconspicuous small bird in buff with darker streaked upper parts and
flanks. Its cryptic marking make it difficult to see amongst grassland
habitat except during song-flight when it rises high above the ground in
constant song before dropping to the cover of grass once more. A
behaviour that may have earned it the local name of ‘skylark’. This
endemic subspecies is relatively common and widespread throughout the
Falkland Islands wherever whitegrass habitat is found and is somewhat
larger than its nearest continental relative which occurs in Patagonia.
A ground nesting species, Falklands Pipit is undoubtedly impacted by
widespread feral cats and rats. Feeding mostly on invertebrates, it is
capable of raising at least two broods of 2-4 spotted and blotched
creamy-grey to dirty-white eggs.






20p Cobb’s Wren



This stocky, dark-brown wren with a blackish, decurved bill was first
named as a species from a specimen collected by Arthur Cobb at Carcass
Island in 1908. It is found only in the Falkland Islands. Today Cobb’s
Wren is restricted to approximately 102 offshore islands that are all
free from mammalian predators, with an estimated breeding population of
6,000 pairs. Visits by naturalists in the 19th century made no mention
of this bird and it is possible that it had already been extirpated from
the mainland with the prior arrival of rats, mice and loss of
tussac-grass Poa flabellata due to grazing livestock. The optimal
habitat for the species is boulder beaches fringed with tussac-grass –
the denser the tussac-grass, the denser the territories. Wrens feed
mainly on marine invertebrates along the shoreline, furtively searching
in amongst boulders and beach debris. They nest in vegetation or rock
crevices to the rear of beaches in a small ball-like nest created from
grasses.






50p White-bridled Finch



The attractive male finch of this species has a blue-grey head with a
black eye patch and bib surrounded by a white band which gives rise to
its recognised, but locally less-used common name of white-bridled
finch. The more commonly referred to as the ‘black-throated finch’ or
‘canary-winged finch’ which makes reference to its yellow wings and
breast which can be vibrant in the males; however, the female is a much
less flamboyant streaked brown. This race is larger than its South
American equivalent. Common and widely distributed across a range of
habitats, this species may tolerate the presence of introduced mammalian
predators, but previous study suggests that populations on predator free
islands were about three times higher. The finches feed on flowers,
seeds and berries, sometimes feeding in large flocks in late summer
through winter. It lays 3-4 blue-grey or green-grey eggs marked with
purple-brown, probably breeding twice a year.






76p Falkland Thrush



A large thrush with distinctive orange beak, orange legs and dark brown
eyes. Both sexes have a blackish head with olive-brown upperparts and
buffy-brown underparts. It is a resident endemic subspecies and fairly
common occupying a range of habitats from tussac grass, rocky outcrops
and open heath with ferns and diddle-dee. Often seen in settlement
gardens keeping a watchful eye on gardeners for feeding opportunities.
They mainly search for prey on the ground including worms and other
invertebrates, and can forage along seashores. Breeding season runs from
August to December with 2-3 blue-green eggs closely marked with brown
laid in a clutch. Sometimes three, or even occasionally, four broods can
be produced in a season.






£1 Two-banded Plover



The two-banded plover is named for its two dark bands across chest and
neck, which break up the white plumage covering the underside of the
bird from face to tail. The top of the bird dulls from a bright reddish
brown head to dark brown tail. This bird is widely distributed across
the Islands, common in coastal areas comprising of sandy beaches,
coastal greens and muddy creeks. It lays 2-3 dusky green eggs spotted
with dark brown, protected by the female, who will attempt to lure
predators away from her nest by performing an injury-feigning
distraction display. The two-banded plover mostly feeds on small
invertebrates found on the exposed shoreline at low tide, or on short
grass.






1.20 Falkland Grass Wren



One of two wrens that occur at the Falklands, it is the smallest of the
passerines with streaked buff and black upperparts, creamy-buff
underparts and a barred tail. As an endemic subspecies the Grass Wren is
fairly widespread. It favours tall grassland, reed beds and tussac grass
habitats making it fairly inconspicuous but often detected from its
clear calls. Grass wrens feed amongst vegetation on a wide range of
insects. Nests are made above ground in dense vegetation giving it some
protection against mice and rat predators, although abundance of numbers
is often higher on predator-free islands. Between 5 and 7 eggs are laid
during October or November.






£2 Dark-faced Ground Tyrant



This alert little bird is pale grey-brown above and grey-white below
with blackish head, a black tail with narrow white edges and slender
black legs. It can also be identified by its characteristic upright
stance and twitching tail feathers. The ground tyrant is a widespread
endemic subspecies, occurring throughout the Falklands from mountain
crags to lowland cliffs and beaches. Its nests are lined with grass
fibres from late October to late December in stone runs and rock
crevices, laying 2-3 white eggs with red-brown spots. Very agile in
flight when feeding on flies and moths, but still susceptible to
predation of introduced mammals, such as cats. A Falkland Islander’s
favourite for its friendly nature and affectionately referred to as the
‘news bird’.






£3.50 Rufous-chested Dotterel



A smart-looking plover, when in breeding plumage, with chestnut breast
bordered by a black crescent beneath and white belly below. It also has
a notable white band across the forehead which runs back over the eyes.
Non-breeding plumage is a more subtle brown head, neck and breast.
Dotterel occur throughout a range of habitats including coastal areas,
but also inland lowlands on heath and grasslands, as a result they are
widely distributed throughout the Islands. They are a common sight
during the breeding season when travelling off-road, rising and then
gliding short distances across the heath. The species nests in a shallow
scrape, with overhanging vegetation laying two usually olive-brown
heavily-blotched eggs.






£5 Magellanic Snipe



Perhaps considered as the ‘odd one out’ of the featured species, this
small shorebird has a long pale bill and legs, a sandy-buff body with
generous dark brown markings. Its head is striped in dark brown and buff
set off by a large dark eye lending the bird an elegant appearance. The
Magellanic snipe favours a widespread variety of habitats including
wetland, whitegrass and sloping heath, as well as open coastal areas.
Its colouring is well-suited for blending into these surroundings, often
resulting in the snipe being heard before it is seen. The iconic
chipper- chipper-chipper sound made from the ground at nesting time is a
welcome sound in the Falklands on calm evenings at dusk, as it
traditionally signifies spring is on the way. The species has a large
breeding period ranging from July to February, but most frequently
occurring September to January, laying 2-3 pear-shaped olive green eggs
spotted with black, in a nest low on the ground tucked amongst rushes,
whitegrass or heath.






Technical details:-



Designer Andrew Robinson



Printer Cartor Security Printing



Process Lithography



Perforation 13 x 13 ¼ per 2cm



Stamp size 30.6 x 38mm



Sheet Layout 10



Booklet stamp (Local Rate) 31.75 x 31.75mm



Release date 14 August, 2017



Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd






We acknowledge with thanks the text and assistance provided by Falklands
Conservation.






To join Falklands Conservation, adopt a penguin, leave a legacy or find
out more about their work go to www.falklandsconservation.com






Falkland Islands - Head Office



PO Box 26, Jubilee Villas, 41 Ross Road, Stanley. Phone: +500 22247 Fax:
+500 22288 info@conservation.org.fk






UK Office



The Gatehouse, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, UK. Phone: +44
(0) 1767 693710



ukdirector@conservation.org.fk






Falklands Conservation is the Falkland Islands’ Birdlife International
partner.






Falklands Conservation is a charity taking action for nature in the
Falkland Islands.



UK Registered Charity Number: 1073859. Company Registration Number:
03661322. Falklands Conservation is a company limited by guarantee in
England and Wales.





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