JERDONíS COURSER

SG # 1332 (1988), Jerdon's Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus)

This year the Department of Posts is issuing a single stamp on the Jerdon's Courser (Cursorius bitorquatus) one of the rarest birds in the world.

Before its rediscovery by the Bombay Natural History Society in January 1986, this bird had been last recorded in 1900. Since then it was not seen despite several expeditions from 1930 onwards which led to the presumption that the species may be extinct. It is known only in Anantapur, Cuddapah and Nellore in the Pennar river valley and Bhadrachalam and Sironcha in the Godavari river valley of Andhra Pradesh.

An obvious close relation of the Indian Courser, the crown and the hind neck are dark brown with broad whitish supercilia looping around the nape, the rest of the upper plumage being a pinkish sandy brown. Below the chin and the throat, it is whitish, the foreneck rufous, separated from the brown breast by a white band. A second white band runs across the lower breast and the rest of the underparts are whitish, with the tail white and black. A white wingbar is prominent while the bird is in flight.

The species is found in the thorn scrub country, crepuscular and nocturnal in habit. Nothing is known yet about its behaviour and nesting habits. It receives its name from Dr. T. C. Jerdon who discovered it in 1848. The Jerdon's Courser is almost a symbol of Nature's generous returns if we persist with conserving what was so carelessly allowed to come so close to extinction.

The Department also wishes to honour Dr.Salim Ali, lndia's most distinguished ornithologist, naturalist and conservationist. He pursued ornithology with determination, and was responsible for a number of books on this subject.. His outstanding contribution to conservation received recognition in India and abroad. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan, the IUCN's 'John C Philips Gold Medal', the 'Golden Oak' from Prince Bernhard of the World Wildlife Fund, India's National Award for Conservation (1983), nomination to the Rajya Sabha (1986) and the J.Paul Getty International Prize for Wild life Conservation (1976) by the WWF, an award which he converted into the Salim Ali Fund for Conservation.

Material for text, Courtesy: Bombay Natural History Society & WWF.

Description of Designs:

The stamp showing the Jerdon's Courser is prepared by India Security Press on the basis of a design provided by the Bombay Natural History Society. The first day cover shows a well known photograph of Dr. Salim Ali obtained by courtesy of the Oxford University Press. We are also carrying the WWF logo on the FDC. .

Date of Issue : 7.10.1988