Bird of Prey on Surinam stamp issued in 1998
225F issued in 1998
"aka"
  Detail of hawk on 225F issued in 1998
Accipiter bicolor Harpagus diodon
Bicolored Hawk
(Accipiter bicolor)
Rufous-thighed Kite
(Harpagus diodon)

This stamp was issued 12 March, 1998, with two others and represented a fine continuation of a series which started in 1985. In common with previous stamps, the names given on this trio were in the local language. The two other stamps showed a woodpecker and a parrot: both well marked and easily identified. The name of this bird, "aka", is commonly used in the names of birds of prey in Surinam, and is probably the equivalent of "hawk".

My first impression of this bird was that it was a "kite" and with rufous thighs, I soon found in Dunning's "South American Land Birds" a bird with the name "Rufous-thighed Kite" - Harpagus diodon. This became my first tentative identification. A few days later, I purchased de la Pena's "Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica" which showed this species and it looked rather different (see illustration above right).

Soon after this, I had correspondence with Jan Ribot who specialises in the Birds of Surinam. He suggested the bird on the stamp more resembled Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor), though both species are rare in the country. An illustration of this species from the same book is shown above left.

In both species, the long tail is a major feature, but the bird on the stamp is not showing a tail. Perhaps the tail was left out to make the bird fit the stamp!

In my opinion, the bird shown on this stamp is Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor).

Does anyone have any further views on this?

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Added 10th  September, 2000