Nigeria: Crowned Cranes
SG 181 issued in 1966
Crown Bird issued in 1966
Black Crowned-Crane (Balearica pavonina)
Black Crowned-Crane (Balearica pavonina)
Black Crowned-Crane (Balearica pavonina)
Black Crowned-Crane (Balearica pavonina)
Grey Crowned-Crane (Balearica regulorum)
Grey Crowned-Crane (Balearica regulorum)

I've always assumed that the birds on this stamp are Black Crowned-Cranes (Balearica pavonina), the national bird of Nigeria, but while examining several other stamps showing this or Grey Crowned-Crane (Balearica regulorum), I soon realised that the major feature on this stamp, the head and neck, have features of both species. The black neck is indicative of pavonina, but the long, red wattle and white cheek with red at the top are features of regulorum. The lower red patch on the cheek is the wrong colour and size for pavonina. The artist has obviously made a mistake with this detailed image.

However, I believe the bottom bird in flight does have sufficient features to call it pavonina. On my stamp, the pink patch on the lower cheek is clearly visible, but on the image on Kjell Scharning's site, the pink patch has shifted to the top of the cheek.

A similar anomaly occurs on the 1991 stamp from Sudan. The bird is intended to be pavonina, but the artist has used cheek and wattle features of regulorum. I shall make this unidentified at my next update.
Sudan 1991 SG 479

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Added 20 March, 2005