Woodpeckers on Stamps -Croatia -Kyrgyzstan 2021.

About Croatia – Kyrgyzstan Joint Issue – Protected Bird Species

Motifs: the middle-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius), the white-winged woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus). The stamps were issued in a common 8-stamp sheetlet and Croatian Post has also issued a First Day Cover (FDC).

Ten species of woodpeckers (Piciformes, Aves) live in Croatia. These are all European species of woodpeckers. Only one species – the Eurasian wryneck, differs significantly from the other nine species: in appearance, nesting method, migratory habits, etc. The other nine species with their appearance, life habits and anatomy form a fairly uniform group of birds.

Middle-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius)

The middle-spotted woodpecker is widespread in Europe and in the westernmost parts of Asia. In this area, woodpeckers inhabit almost exclusively the deciduous forests of warm continental areas, and its distribution is associated with the presence of oak or other deciduous trees with rough bark. It is extremely dependent on old forest stands that are gradually disappearing. It is similar to the Great Spotted Woodpecker, but slightly (10%) smaller. Unlike the great spotted woodpecker, its head is mostly red and white, the spots on the shoulder blades are smaller, the hips are clearly striped, and the lower abdomen and buttocks are pink. The feathers on the scalp are often raised in a crest. It often stays high in the treetops so it is harder to spot. Like other woodpecker species, the middle-spotted woodpecker is a resident forest bird that can be spotted throughout the year, and for survival it is dependent on the availability of food in a relatively small space. With its relatively weak, pointed beak and short tongue, it mainly collects insects from the surface of the tree and rarely looks for them under the bark. Due to such anatomy of the beak, it prefers old, diseased and dead trees and branches in which it is easier to get food below the surface. Their diet is almost entirely made up of insects. When moving around the tree it often hangs upside down, which the great spotted woodpecker does not do. Unlike the rest of our woodpeckers, the middle spotted woodpecker generally does not communicate by drumming, so vocal communication in these species is much more important than mechanical beeps. During the nesting season, it is often voiced by an inherent squeak reminiscent of the squeak of an ungreased wheel. Like other woodpecker species, the middle-spotted woodpecker nests in cavities it creates most often in dead standing trees. The ability of woodpeckers to create their own cavities is unique, and they are extremely important for the survival of a large number of other birds, mammals and other animals. Across the area of distribution, the number of middle spotted woodpeckers has dropped significantly, and in some Scandinavian countries it became extinct during the 20th century. The cause of population decline in almost the entire area of distribution is the large impact of forest management on the reduction of (old) forest area. The population in Croatia, estimated at 20,000-24,000 pairs, is one of the richest populations of this species, so its conservation is of great importance for the general protection of the species.

White-winged woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus)

The white-winged woodpecker is a relatively little-known species of Central Asian woodpecker. It extends from the western shores of the Aral Sea to the east along northern Kyrgyzstan and southern Kazakhstan to western China, south to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. It is one of the relatively numerous species of woodpeckers, predominantly black and white. It is closely related to the widespread great spotted woodpecker, which is the most common woodpecker in Croatia and Europe and to which it physically resembles. It comes into contact with the great spotted woodpecker only on the eastern edge of the distribution where hybridization of these two species occasionally occurs. Characteristic of the white-winged woodpecker is the large white winged surface by which it is most easily distinguished from related species. The white-winged woodpecker is a resident forest bird, like most other woodpeckers, so it mostly lives in the same habitat, where it guards and defends its own territory from other individuals. It marks the territory by the characteristic drumming – rapidly pecking on a tree trunk that can be heard far away. This mode of communication is especially common in early spring, before the nesting season. It inhabits lowland, deciduous forests rich in soft tree species, such as willows and poplars, but also gardens and orchards of the human settlements as well as hilly deciduous forests at lower altitudes. It occurs even in semi-desert habitats in the south, if they contain larger shrubs (Haloxylon ammodendron). It nests in cavities it creates most often in poplars or fruit trees. Its ability to create cavities in trees is extremely important for the survival of a large number of other birds, mammals and other groups of animals that use these cavities secondarily after the woodpeckers. The white-winged woodpeckers start nesting relatively early in the year, in March and April, they usually lay four to six eggs in the nest, and the young leave the cavities in May and June. Due to the importance of cavities for other animal species, as well as insect nutrition that are inaccessible to most other animals, woodpeckers are considered key species in forest ecosystems – species that, given their abundance, have a disproportionate importance and impact on the structure and functioning of ecosystems.

Two stamps of 3.30 HRK were issued on 22 Sep 2021.