June 15, 2014

1102 BELIZE - The Keel-Billed Toucan, country's colorful ambassador


Belize is a country with a rich variety of wildlife, because of its unique position between both North and South America, on the Caribbean coast, and a wide range of climates and habitats. Belize's low human population, and approximately 22,970 km2 of undistributed land, provides an ideal home for more than 5000 species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. In other words, Belize occupies a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

By one recent account, Belize supports 543 species of birds, which thrive in all of country's habitats. These include three species of toucans, one of which, the Keel-Billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), is the National Bird. Toucans are near passerine birds from the neotropics, brightly marked and with enormous, colourful bills, which in some species may amount to half their body length. The most obvious characteristic of the Keel-billed Toucan is the huge yellow, orange, red, green and black bill. Its plumage is mainly black, with a yellow neck and chest. It has blue feet and red feathers at the tip of its tail. It is a very social bird and can often be seen in flocks of six or more birds. This bird displays a rapid, heavy flapping of the wings when flying and calls with a creek creek sound, similar to a frog.

About the stamps
Both stamps are from the 2005 definitive series of twelve stamps featuring Ecological and Heritage Sites around the country. The first shows the House of Culture Museum (10 c), housed in the former British governor-general's residence built in 1812. The second depict Nohoch Che'n Archaeological Reserve & Jar, Cayo District (30 c), a Mayan site in a system of underground rivers and caves.

References
Keel-Billed Toucan - Wikipedia
Keel-Billed Toucan - The Belize Zoo

Sender 1: Lando Valencia
sent from Caye Caulker (Belize), on 30.05.2014
photo: McNab Design Ltd.

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