Taiwan has an abundance of bird species. To encourage greater interest in birds among the nation’s people and to raise awareness about the importance of ecological conservation, Chunghwa Post has specially released a set of four stamps on the following birds of prey that are targets of conservation efforts: the Butastur indicus, the Accipiter soloensis, the Pernis ptilorhynchus, and the Spilornis cheela. The stamps are described below:
1. Butastur indicus (NT$8): A medium-sized bird of prey, 47-51 cm in length, it has long wings and a short tail. When perched, the tips of its wings often extend past its tail, and the white streak above its eyes is clearly visible. Among Taiwan’s migratory birds of prey, it is the second most numerous. Because these migrating birds of prey arrive in peak numbers around the Republic of China’s (Taiwan’s) National Day on October 10, it has been bestowed with the nickname: “the bird of national celebration.”
2. Accipiter soloensis (NT$10): A small bird of prey, 25-30 cm in length, it has orange-suffused underparts and black-tipped wings. The males have dark irises, whereas the females have yellow irises. It is the most numerous of all of Taiwan’s migratory birds of prey, and in the autumn it can be found throughout Taiwan. In flight as they migrate, they impress people with their majestic “hawk columns” and “hawk rivers.”
3. Pernis ptilorhynchus (NT$12): The bird typically has a length of 57-61 cm, and bees are its main source of food. Its face is covered with fine, scale-like hairs that offer protection against bee stings. Its tail and wings are relatively slender, and its feathers are multicolored with varying patterns. It is widely spread throughout mid- and low-elevation forests.
4. Spilornis cheela (NT$15): A large bird of prey, measuring 65-74 cm in length, it has largely dark brown plumage with a spotted white crest and yellow lores and irises. In flight, it has long, extended wings and a short tail, with obvious white bands on its wings’ back edge and under its tail. It often sings in flight. It is the most common large bird of prey in low-elevation mountainous areas.