Henderson Island Birds
            5 December 1990       20c, 90c, $1.30, $1.80                          Mint and CTO        $4.20
                                                                                                             FDC                      $4.70

Technical Details

        Release Date:                    5 December 1990
        Tablet Values:                   20c, 90c, $1.30, $1.80
        Artist:                                Adapted by Norman Harvey from paintings by R A C Byatt
        Printer:                              The House of Questa Limited
        Process:                            Lithography
        Paper:                               CA Watermark
        Stamp Size:                       28.45 x 42.58 mm
        Perforation Gauge:            14 per 2 cm
        Pane Format:                    50 (2 panes of 25)
        Mint and CTO:                 $4.20
        First Day Cover:               $4.70

The Island

    Henderson, roughly rectangular in shape, 7.3 km long and 4.8 km wide, is the largest of the four islands in the Pitcairn Group.  A raised atoll, Henderson consists of a plateau of coral limestone some 15 to 20 metres high covered with dense bush and rough coral outcrops.  Like Ducie and Oeno it is uninhabited.

First discovered in 1606 by Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, the next report we have of a visit to Henderson Island was that made in 1819 by Captain Henderson of the Hercules.

About once a year the Pitcairners visit Henderson Island to cut miro (probably Thespesia populnea) frrom which they carve the wooden artifacts - fish, birds, wheelbarrows, Bounty models, etc - for which they are so well known.
The Birds

        Scientific study of Henderson had been restricted to no more than half a dozen visits of brief duration until the Sir Peter Scott Commemorative Expedition to the Pitcairn Island during 1991/2 (see stamp issue 11 September 1992).

We are indebted to G R Williams for the following information.

20c stamp:  Vini stepheni:  A handsome parrot, not very common.  Local name - Redbreast.

90c stamp:  Pilinopus pupuratus insularis:  An attractive little pigeon, very tame.  The species pupuratus occurs throughout the Society Islands and Tuamotus but this particular sub-species is limited to Henderson.  Local name - Wood Pigeon.

$1.30 stamp:  Acrocephalus vaughani taiti:  The Henderson Island warbler is similar to that on Pitcairn but is an identifiable sub-species.  Local name - Sparrow.

$1.80 stamp:  Nesophylax (Porzana) ater:  A flightless rail considered sufficiently different from others to merit the status of a separate genus.  Able to run very quickly and efficient at concealing itself under scanty ground vegetation.  Local name - Chicken Bird.
The Artist

        Mr R A C  Byatt was Governor of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands from 15 December 1987 to 11 September 1990, when he retired.

During a visit to the Islands in March 1990, when he landed on Ducie and Henderson as well as spending several days on Pitcairn itself, Mr Byatt took the opportunity to sketch the avifauna and subsequently produced a set of water colour paintings featuring four of the birds.  Norman Harvey incorporated these in the designs for the stamps.