Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Zealand 2015
Game Bird Habitat - Black Swan

ISSUE DATE: 2 February 2015
STAMP SIZE: 52 x 37.5 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Karen Baddock

The black swan (Cygnus atratus), also known as the kakīānau, is one of the most common waterfowl found in New Zealand, with a population of approximately 50,000 across the country. Mainly found on lakes, estuaries, harbours and freshwater ponds, black swans are a legal game bird in most parts of New Zealand.

The black swan is covered in jet black feathers, with striking white feathers visible beneath the wings of adult swans The black swan has a bright red bill with a white band, red eyes and light grey legs. There is little difference between the male and female birds, though the females tend to be smaller. Black swans are slow, yet graceful swimmers on the water and tend to be territorial on land.

The nesting season for black swans generally occurs in the winter months from around July, with colonial nesting beginning around September through to November. Black swans are mostly monogamous and pair for life, usually nesting in the same spot each year, tending and rebuilding their nest as necessary. A typical breeding season will yield between four and eight eggs, with an incubation period of around 40 days. Black swans defend their nests, aggressively attacking any intruder with their wings and beaks.

The black swan takes centre stage on the 2015 Game Bird Habitat Collection, which consists of a stamp, miniature sheet, first day cover and miniature sheet first day cover, and a hand-numbered and signed Limited Edition Artist Print. Each print includes two stamps, of which one is signed by artist Karen Baddock.

Karen Baddock has worked as a self-employed artist for the last twenty years. Her main inspirationcomes from nature, specialising in watercolours and Alkyd paint (fast drying oils). Her works can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks to complete, with most of that time spent focusing on the composition of the piece. Karen Baddock works from Bluegum Gallery in Dunedin and is open for public viewing.

Stamp images and description thanks to New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post