Extinct Birds on 1974 Cuban Stamps

Fauna Extinguida - Cuban Postage Stamps
Fauna Extinguida – Cuban Postage Stamps

This 1974 set of Cuban Postage Stamps featured five notable examples of extinct bird species – namely the Dodo (1c), Macaw (3c), Passenger Pigeon (8c), Moa (10c) and Great Auk (13c).

The Dodo – This meter-high flightless bird was found on Mauritius. It is one of the world’s most infamous examples of how man’s impact on the natural habitat of a species can rapidly drive it to the point of extinction. The last specimen was killed in 1681, only 80 years after the arrival of Dutch settlers on the island.

Cuban Red Macaw – This small species of parrot was native to Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud. Unconfirmed records note the continued existence of the birds until 1885.

Passenger Pigeon – The passenger pigeon was once probably the most common bird in the world, with single flocks numbering up to several billion birds. However, it was hunted close to extinction for food and sport in the late 19th century and the last living example died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Moa – This giant flightless and wingless bird was native to New Zealand. Although some cryptozoologists claim the moa still exists it is thought to have become extinct in around 1500.

Great Auk – This flightless bird used its wings to swim underwater. The only species in the genus Pinguinus to have survived into modern times, the great auk was hunted extensively for both food and eggs, as well as down, with the last example of the great auk seen in the British Isles in July, 1840.