Guernsey Definitives: Guernsey Birds

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We are delighted to release a new set of definitive stamps that showcase some of the wonderful birds found regularly in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Guernsey’s southerly location, proximity to Europe and range of diverse habitats provide a haven for visiting and resident birds. Despite its small size, over 200 species are recorded in the Bailiwick each year and the islands see around 80 breeding bird species including quite a few rarities.

The stamps: -

 The House Sparrow is a noisy and sociable bird which feeds and breeds near people, whilst the colourful Greenfinch, another regular garden visitor, is distinctive for its twittering, wheezing song and flash of yellow and green as it flies.

Another garden bird is the Great Tit, which is probably best known for its piercing song and can often be heard in the spring and summer. The high-pitched twittering contact calls of the fluffy pink Long-tailed Tit gets it noticed; the Song Thrush is both resident and migratory with some heading off to sunnier climes to winter there.

The most distinctive feature of a Pied Wagtail, which can be spotted in gardens and on sea walls, is its constantly wagging tail. It is now a rare breeding bird but remains a common passage migrant and winter visitor to Guernsey.

Waders are often spotted on Guernsey’s beaches, including the tall Grey Heron with its long neck and legs and heavy dagger-like bill, poised as it stands still for long periods stalking its prey.

From mid-February until the end of September, the Northern Gannet flocks to Les Etacs and Ortac – rocks off the coastline of Alderney, which are home to a colony of nearly 6,000 pairs.

During the winter migrant blackbirds arrive from Northern Europe to join Guernsey’s resident birds. They can often be heard singing to themselves in the undergrowth. Swallows are also migratory birds that fly several thousand kilometres each year after wintering in southern Africa.

The stamps also depict the Magpie and Common Tern, the latter having earned itself the nickname ‘sea swallow’, since it can be found hovering over water before plunging down to catch a fish.

The Lapwing is one of the largest waders and is also known as the Green Plover or Peewit (after its “pee-wit” call); the Lesser Black-backed Gulls were once a summer visitor, but an increasing number remain in the Bailiwick during the colder months too; and the Cormorant is a large water bird with an almost primitive appearance, its long neck making it look almost reptilian.

Birds of prey are breeding successfully in the Bailiwick. It is common to see Buzzards soaring over the islands: they have an impressive wingspan of around 120cm and weigh up to 1kg.

Definitive stamps are produced for the retail post offices and are usually in circulation between 5-10 years.


Date of Issue 17 February 2021
Designer Bridget Yabsley
Photographer Rod Ferbrache, Chris Bale
Printer bpost
Values 1p -10p, 20p, 30p, 40p 50p, £1, £2, £4
Process Offset Lithography
Stamp Size 30mm deep x 30mm wide
Sheet A
Perforation 46 Gummed FSC Securpost 110 GPW
Cylinder 1.1 x 1.667

Guernsey Definitives: Guernsey Birds