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Birds of Latvia on new stamps

Birds of Latvia on new stamps
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Latvijas Pasts issued two stamps within the series "Birds of Latvia" featuring Long-tailed Duck and European Bee-eater.

Long-tailed Duck (Clangulahyemalis L.) is a medium-sized sea duck. Adults have white underparts, though the rest of the plumage goes through a complex moulting process.

The male has a long pointed tail (10 to 15 cm) and a dark grey bill crossed by a pink band. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail. In winter, the female's head and neck are white with a dark crown.Their breeding habitat is in tundra pools and marshes, but also along sea coasts and in large mountain lakes in the North Atlantic region, Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe and Russia. The nest is located on the ground near water; it is built using vegetation and lined with down. They are migratory and winter along the eastern and western coasts of North America, on the Great Lakes, coastal northern Europe and Asia, with stragglers to the Black Sea. The most important wintering area is the Baltic Sea, where a total of about 4.5 million gather.

European Bee-eater (Meropsapiaster L.) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa, India and Sri Lanka. This species occurs as a spring overshoot north of its range, with occasional breeding in northwest Europe. This species is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It has brown and yellow upper parts, whilst the wings are green and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 27–29 cm (10.6–11.4 in), including the two elongated central tail feathers.

Sexes are alike. This is a bird which breeds in open country in warmer climates. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.

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