The beauty and expressiveness of nocturnal birds of prey on the Romanian postage stamps

July 1st, 2013

Approaching a topic highly appreciated internationally, Romfilatelia continues the series of postage stamps issues dedicated to fauna and brings to the attention of all collectors a new postage stamps issue, entitled Nocturnal birds of prey. Dedicated to some impressive birds, to which numerous myths, legends, stories or superstitions have been associated ever since antiquity, the issue presents 4 different species of owls, illustrated on the postage stamps, as follows:

The Little owl (Athene noctua): it is a small bird whose length measures between 23 and 27 cm. It may be seen in Central and Western Europe. It mainly lives in rocky areas and localities, often finding shelter in abandoned buildings or in the attics of household outbuildings. It feeds on rodents to which we may add big insects, birds, small snakes and lizards that it hunts at night. The Romanian popular name of the little owl comes from the sounds produced at a high tonality. Their eyes are very expressive and large as compared to the size of their body and have an intense yellow colour.

The Long-eared owl (Asio otus): this is a bird of prey of medium size, its body measures between 30 and 40 cm and it may be seen in North America, Eurasia and Northern Africa. It lives on alpine meadows covered with juniper, in coniferae and leaf woods, coming down to agricultural cultures, in orchards and urban parks. It is a nocturnal bird of prey that hunts small animals, mainly rodents. The name of this bird derives from the tufts of feathers on its head resembling some ears. Depending on the environment, the situation or its potential adversaries, the long-eared owl may change its look by adapting its position and colour for camouflage.

The Ural owl (Strix uralensis): as its name suggests, this is a big owl with its body measuring about 60 cm, which may be seen from Western Europe up to Correa and Japan. It lives in thick forests on hills and mountains preferring the coniferae woods, and it has the qualities of a very good night hunter feeding on birds and small mammals.

The particularity of the species is represented by the two grey facial disks around the eyes, which are luminous, clean and spotless.

The Great grey owl (Strix nebulosa): this is a big owl that measures between 65-70 cm and lives in Northern Europe (Poland, Finlandand, Sweden) reaching as far as Siberia and Northern America, Canada and Alaska, in thick coniferae forests. It migrates not depending on season, but depending on the presence of food, which mainly consists of water rats and small birds and animals. It hunts at nightfall and night, only occasionally during the day. Its plumage gives it a very good camouflage and it is hard to be seen on the tree trunks. Its favourite hunting grounds are fields, swamps and glades.

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