Monday, October 29, 2012

Definitive Postage Stamps 1965 National Series (birds)

Malaysia which came into being on the 16th September 1963, comprises of the eleven States forming the previous Federation of Malaya, (viz. Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Trengganu), Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore ceased to be a state of Malaysia from 9th August, 1965.

Malaysia covers an area of about 130,000 square miles. It occupies two distinct regions, the Malay Peninsula which extends south of Thailand from the narrow Kra isthmus to the Straits of Johore, and the north-western coastal area of the island of Borneo. The population of Malaysia numbers just over eight million people according to census and population estimate figures as at the end of 1961. The main sources of income are rubber, tin, timber and iron ore. There are, however, many other industries and crafts of importance to the country's economy. The standard of living in Malaysia and the per capita average income are among the highest in Asia.

The charm and tropical beauty of Malaysia and the variety which pervades her life provide most fascinating subjects for depicting on postage stamps. The first issue of Malaysia definitive postage stamps depicts some of the colourful birds and orchid species of Malaysia. These stamps are in two series.

The National series, which depicts birds, consists of eight denominations, viz. 25c., 30c., 50c., 75c., $1, $2, $5 and $10. These stamps, which do not bear State individuality, are common to all the thirteen States.

The State series, which depicts orchids, consists of seven denominations, viz., 1c., 2c., 5c., 6c., 10c., 15c., and 20c. These stamps bear a portrait of His Highness the Ruler of the State and/or the State Crest and the name of the State in Jawi and Roman characters. The vignette of each denomination is common to every State.

The stamps are printed by Messrs. Harrison and Sons Ltd. in multi-colour by the photogravure process on PTM watermarked paper. They measure 25 mm x 35 mm. The National and State series are in vertical and horizontal format respectively. The artist is Mr. A. Fraser-Brunner.

The birds depicted in the stamps of the National series are described in this brochure. The orchids depicted in the stamps of the State series are described in a separate brochure.

Rollulus roulroul

Small parties of these birds are not uncommon in dry lowland jungle and on well drained slopes in the hills throughout Malaysia. They feed on the ground, rarely flying for more than short distances. The call is a low melodious whistle, which rings through the trees, and gives rise to the common Malay name.

Nest is a thick bed of dry leaves, eggs white, averaging 1.45 by 1.20 ins.

Irena puella malayensis

A common and showy bird of the tree-tops in lowland and hills forest throughout Malaysia, where the brilliant blue of the male in flight, is a memorable sight. The normal call is a melodious double whistle - "wit-wiu". Not gregarious, but usually associated in pairs, whose movement is largely influenced by the seasonal fruiting of the trees on which they feed.

Nests are of untidy cup made of twigs, placed high up in trees.

Oriolus chinensis maculatus

Essentially a bird of the towns and gardens of Western Malaysia, never seen in our native forests, and absent from the Borneo States.

Usually seen in the canopies of trees, where they feed on fruit, rarely descending to the ground. Flight is strong and direct, usually at tree-top level. The familiar call, frequently uttered, is a beautiful whistle - "ta-kee-you" (sometimes omitting the first syllable). The nest is commonly slung in a fork, far out on a slender branch sixty or seventy feet up in a tall tree, in park-land or orchard. It is composed of bark, twiglets, grass and roots. The colour of the egg is white, tinged with violet, sparsely spotted and blotched with purple-brown - measuring 1.27 by 0.8 ins.

Buceros rhinoceros
This magnificent bird is restricted to the tall forest of our lowlands and foothills , and because of its specialized habits is unfortunately severely threatened by expanding rural development. Where it survives it can be seen feeding on the fruits of tall trees, its normal diet. The call rather goose-like, honk. is often uttered antiphonally by a pair of birds in flight. Normally associated in pairs or small family groups, occasionally forming small flocks.

As among all hornbills, the female remains in the nest hole, the entrance to which is partially closed by a plaster of mud, during the process of incubation and for some considerable time after the eggs have hatched, being fed by the male.

Birds abound in folklore and poetry:
"Anak enggang di-kayu tinggi,
Patah ranting terbang-lah dia,
Anak dagang lama di-sini,
Sampai musim terbang-lah dia."

"On top of high tree the Enggang sits,
Away it flies when the branch breaks,
However long a foreigner may stay,
To his home land he will fly away."

Geopelia striata

A common bird of open country and villages, and a favourite pet of Malaysians. Regular contests are held when the singing powers of caged birds are matched, and large side-bets may be placed. In the wild, these doves feed mostly on the ground.

Nests are small and flimsy platforms of stick built in trees. Eggs white, measuring 0.9 by 0.65 ins.

Argusianus argus
An inhabitant of tall forest, preferring the well drained slopes of the foothills, throughout Malaysia. Shy and seldom seen, but usually betrayed by its powerful call, either a double - "wak-wau", or a long series of plaintive single notes, each rising imperceptibly in tone.

The males maintain so-called "dancing-ground", small clearings which are kept scrupulously clean and free from debris, to which they repair to call and display. This habit renders the Argus Pheasant vulnerable to poachers, and already over much of Malaysia, this unique and beautiful bird has disappeared from its ancient haunts.

Terpsiphone paradisi affinis
This beautiful bird is found in the forest of lowlands and foothills throughout the country. In flight the long tail-streamers of the male flutter like a length of still ribbon.

Nests usually are placed about six feet from the ground in a fork of a slender sapling. They are deep cups of moss, lined with dead grass or fibre. The eggs are glossy, the ground colour is faintly pink, sparsely spotted with reddish-brown and blotched with salmon-pink, measuring about 0.8 by 0.6 ins.

Pitta guajana
Pittas are shy birds of the forest floor and undergrowth, disappearing with a flash of brilliant colour at the least sign of danger.

The Banded Pitta is not uncommon locally in the drier lowland jungle of the north. It appears to prefer the vicinity of limestone hills (probably because of the profusions of small snails on which it feeds).

First Day Cover

Date of Issue: 1965-09-09

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