Taiwan: Mystery Finch
Stamp issued in 1997
Stamp issued in 1997

Illustration of Przevalski's Rosefinch  (Urocynchramus pylzowi)
Przevalski's Rosefinch (Urocynchramus pylzowi)
Stamp issued in 2000
Stamp issued in 2000

Illustration of Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

A correspondent recently pointed out that I am showing two stamps from Taiwan that have been designed from the same original painting from the National Palace Museum as two different species! The first stamp issued in 1997 was identified in Collecting Birds on Stamps (CBoS) as Przevalski's Rosefinch (Urocynchramus pylzowi). This identification remains in the latest edition of CBoS, but the newly listed stamp issued in 2000 is named as Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla).

Clearly, one or both of these identifications must be wrong. The bird on the stamp shows some characteristics of both species, but the forked end of the tail rules out the Rosefinch, looking much more like that of the Brambling. The orange colour on the breast extending to the shoulders also points more to Brambling, but the streaks on the crown are wrong for this species.

If anyone has any views about this identification problem, or even has local knowledge of the original illustration, e-mail me!

Update 3 September: A Chinese correspondent has confirmed that the name for this bird and others in the series is on the stamp, and in this case is "Swallow-tailed Finch or Sparrow" which he thinks should be Brambling. I shall change these stamps to this on my next update.

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