Niue 1971 Triller
Niue 1971 Triller
Niue 1971 Triller

Niue 1993 Triller
Detail of the bird
Niue 2011 Triller
Triller to be issued in 2011
Detail
Detail of the bird

Niue 1993 Triller
Triller issued in 1993


Photograph of Triller on Niue
Photograph of Triller on Niue

I've probably had the 1971 set of 3 birds from Niue for nearly 40 years, but in all that time, I have never questioned the identity of the triller, named "Heahea" on the stamp. Apparently the same species was issued in 1993 as the top value of a definitive series that started in 1992. As it was a high value, and a repeat of the species, I did not collect it at the time. Now, in 2011, Niue is issuing another set of 3 that also includes the "Heahea". Photographs of the Niue subspecies "whitmeei" of the Polynesian Triller (Lalage maculosa) have appeared on the web, and I have cropped one from here. The most recent issue does seem to ressemble the bird on the photograph quite closely. I suspect that the designer of the 1971 issue had never seen the species on Niue, and was probably given a description of what it was supposed to look like. It is too black and white to be the intended species, and looks more like a Pied Triller (Lalage nigra), though its tail is too long, even for Long-tailed Triller (Lalage leucopyga). Even the 1993 issue does not look much like the intended species. One reservation I have about the latest attempt at this species: the legs and feet do not look natural!

I shall amend this stamp in my next update.

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Added 7 July, 2011