Netherlands: Wrong Woodpecker!
Sheet of 4 showing wildlife of Veluwe
Great Spotted Woodpecker from Winkler's Woodpeckers
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Detail of the Woodpecker
Detail of the Woodpecker
White-backed Woodpecker from Winkler's Woodpeckers
White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos)

The Netherlands issued two sheets of 4 stamps on July 6, 2004, which I assumed showed some of the animals of the Veluwe nature reserve. Each sheet featured a bird, with a Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) on the 39c sheet, and a woodpecker on the 61c sheet, presumably a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major).

However, I recently heard from a Dutch correspondent that there has been some discussion in the Press about the species shown on the stamps. "In Dutch papers an interesting discussion is going on concerning the source of the images. The company which has made the stamps is stating they were taken out of the Brehm's Tierleben from 1920. The designer has given an artist impression of the images, giving rise to the images on the sheets. Some experts did take a good view of the Brehm Encyclopedia and found out that three of the mammals which have acted as a model for the stamps are animals from Asia or South America!" The woodpecker is obviously not quite right for Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), lacking the bold white wing patches. The distinctive neck pattern, and streaks on the flanks both point to this bird being a White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) which unfortunately for my collection has not occurred in the Netherlands. I think this must be embarassing for the Dutch postal authority, and the design company.

If anyone has more news about this set, or alternative views about the woodpecker's identity, please let me know.

Added 24  July, 2004