December 1st, 2014

Birds of Antarctica – gorgeous penguins

According to info received by the Ross Dependency Post released stamp issue featuring the five unique breeds of penguin that choose to call this cold, dry continent home.

Truly flightless birds, penguins have evolved traits that make them perfect for icy conditions such as those of Antarctica. While many different colonies of penguins live in Antarctica, the majority of the world's penguins prefer to inhabit other cooler waters in the Southern Hemisphere. A layer of fat under their feathers keeps them warm and a white belly acts as a camouflage keeping them safe from predators when swimming under ice.

The unique round stamps in this issue depict the emperor, Adelie, macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguins in their natural habitats, and feature an over-gloss of a compass design.

80c - Emperor

Endemic to Antarctica, the emperor penguin is the largest and heaviest of all living penguin species. They can grow to approximately 115cm tall (3 foot 7 inches tall) and weigh as much as 40kg. Emperor penguins are the only species of penguin to breed during the Antarctic winter.

$1.40 - Adélie

An efficient and sleek swimmer, the Adélie penguin is the smallest and most abundant Antarctic species. With over three million breeding pairs, the Adélie penguin has experienced a population boom, with more than a 50 per cent increase in numbers over the last twenty years.

$2.00 - Macaroni

The large, crested macaroni penguin is named for its distinctive yellow/orange crest feathers on its forehead, characteristic of the 'macaroni' hat worn by 18th century men.It has an unusual breeding habit of laying two eggs, the first being much smaller than the second. For unknown reasons, the smaller egg only hatches if the larger egg fails to produce a chick.

$2.50 - Gentoo

The gentoo penguin has the most prominent tail of the penguin species. As the gentoo penguin waddles on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side. It is amongst several species of penguin that chooses its mate based on the nest. Some gentoo penguins will try to steal larger stones from other nests, resulting in noisy disputes.

$3.00 - Chinstrap

Chinstrap penguins live in some of the largest colonies, with over 100,000 breeding pairs at some locations. Unlike other penguin species, mating partners form a strong bond. They share the parenting duties and make sure their chicks are fed equally. They tend to return to the same nest site with the same partner to breed year after year.

2014 Ross Dependency - Penguins of Antarctica First Day Cover

2014 Ross Dependency - Penguins of Antarctica Miniature Sheet First Day Cover

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