World Wetlands Day falls on 2 February each year and the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Collection is issued on this day to celebrate. The 2016 issue is the 23rd in the series and features the grey duck.
The grey duck (Anas superciliosa) is a species native to New Zealand, but due to competition and hybridisation with introduced mallard species, there are no definitive population numbers for pure grey ducks. The grey duck, which is also known as the pārera, is commonly found in remote, shallow wetlands and streams with extensive riparian cover. They tend to be found in singles and in pairs in the wild (although can be found in flocks of mallards too) and are easily spooked.
The male and female are similar in appearance, with the male being slightly larger than the female. Both sexes have brown feathers that range from dark brown to light brown; the head is a lighter brown with a black crown and two distinctive black facial stripes. The grey duck has a grey beak, khaki legs and an iridescent green speculum with a pale underwing. Both the male and female can be easily confused with the female mallard due to their similarities in appearance.
The grey duck nests from around September through to December and is seasonally monogamous. The females lay and incubate the eggs and raise the ducklings, while the males tend to defend the territories to protect the females. The females typically lay eight to ten eggs in a season, which incubate for 26 to 29 days. The ducklings accompany the female duck for around seven to nine weeks and can breed in their first year.
The 2016 Game Bird Habitat Collection consists of a stamp, a miniature sheet, a miniature sheet first day cover and a hand-numbered and signed Limited Edition Artist Print. Each print includes two stamps, one of which is signed by the artist, Sandra Whyte.
Sandra is a full-time artist in Whangarei, specialising in realistic oil paintings of landscapes and wildlife. Sandra is self-taught and is known for painting endangered birds and then gifting the works to raise the profile of endangered species as well as raise money. Her paintings can take up to a year to complete and can be seen in galleries across New Zealand. You can find more of her work at sandrawhyteartist.co.nz.
|Date of issue:||2 February 2016|
|Denomination and design:||$10.00, Grey Duck|
|Stamp, miniature sheet and first day cover illustrations by:||Sandra Whyte, Whangarei|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||52mm x 37.5mm (horizontal)|
|Miniature sheet size and format:||110mm x 90mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||104gsm Tullis Russell red phosphor gummed stamp paper.|
|Period of sale:||
Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until close of business 1 February 2017. Prints are available for three years after issue.