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7 June 2014

Songbirds of Tunisia

Goldfinch (紅額金翅雀)
Tunisia (1992)
25th March, 2014. Avenue Farhat Hached, Carthage

Finally I got first one example of bird cover from Tunisia, which is a unforgotten place to me. Although it issued on 1992, it looks beautiful and attractive, this Goldfinch is one of 4 in the set, others are European Bee-eater (黃喉蜂虎), Serin (金絲雀) and Greenfinch (金翅雀). The average Goldfinch is 12–13 cm long with a wingspan of 21–25 cm and a weight of 14 to 19 grams. The sexes are broadly similar, with a red face, black and white head, warm brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings.

On closer inspection male Goldfinches can often be distinguished by a larger, darker red mask that extends just behind the eye. In females, the red face does not reach the eye. The ivory-coloured bill is long and pointed, and the tail is forked. Goldfinches in breeding condition have a white bill, with a greyish or blackish mark at the tip for the rest of the year. Juveniles have a plain head and a greyer back but are unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe. Birds in central Asia (caniceps group) have a plain grey head behind the red face, lacking the black and white head pattern of European and western Asian birds.
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