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The Wisdom of Owls

The Wisdom of Owls

Mysterious, associated with wisdom and knowledge, curious and extraordinarily beautiful, Owls are the subject of this new series of coins from Tokelau.

Owls are birds from the order Strigiformes, which includes about 200 species of mostly solitary and nocturnal birds of prey typified by an upright stance, a large, broad head, binocular vision, binaural hearing, sharp talons, and feathers adapted for silent flight. Exceptions include the diurnal northern hawk-owl and the gregarious burrowing owl.

Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica and some remote islands.  Owls can rotate their necks as much as 270° due to their 14 neck vertebrae compared to 7 in humans.  Owls vary greatly in size; the smallest weighing as little as 31g (1oz) up to the large eagle-owls which can weigh as much as 4.5kgs (10lbs). 

Scops Owls

Tokelau has pre-approved 16 stylised owl designs, the first of which, the Scops Owl, pictured below, will be released in 2018.  Scops owls mostly belong to the genus Otus, the largest genus of owls in terms of the number of species.  Scops owls are coloured in various brownish hues, sometimes with a lighter underside and/or face, which helps to camouflage them against the bark of trees.

Scops owls hunt from perches in semi-open landscapes.  They prefer areas which contain old trees with hollows as these are home to their prey which includes insects, reptiles, small mammals such as bats and mice and other small birds.  Scops owls have a good sense of hearing which helps them locate their prey in any habitat.  They also possess well-developed raptorial claws and a curved bill, both of which are used for tearing their prey into small pieces.  Scops owls are primarily solitary birds.  Most species lay and incubate their eggs in a cavity nest that was originally made by another animal.  During the incubation period, the male will feed the female.  These birds are monogamous, with biparental care, and only fledge one young per year.  Scops owls have only a single type of call which consists of a series of whistles or high-pitched hoots, given with a frequency of 4 calls per second or less, or of a single, drawn-out whistle.

Tokelau Legal Tender

Tokelau is a group of three coral atolls in the South Pacific.  It is part of the Realm of New Zealand. 

The currency is New Zealand Dollars.  All Tokelau coins have a three-tier approval process; the Tokelau Government, New Zealand Government and ultimately Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The symbol under the portrait of Her Majesty is a ‘ Taluma’, a traditional fishing tackle box which is the national emblem of Tokelau.

The coins are presented in an attractive case beautifully printed outer cardboard sleeve.  Each coin will be accompanied by a serially numbered certificate of authenticity. 

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