Friday, 29 January 2016

Picid in Focus: Yellow-tufted Woodpecker

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus, male (note the red on the forecrown), yellow-tufted morph. Peru, November 2012, Gerard Gorman.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Woodpeckers in cartoons!

Check out the wonderful work of Finnish cartoonist Seppo Leinonen. His cartoons highlight, with humour, some of the key issues facing forests (and other habitats). He is also big fan of woodpeckers!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - a good woodpecker year

So the end of the year 2015 is upon us. It was a great year for me in my quest to observe, hear and learn more about woodpeckers and the places where they live. I saw several species I had not encounted before, and got many photos and sound recordings, for example in the Philippines and Vietnam. Here is one of my favourites Luzon Flameback Chrysocolaptes haematribon, taken near Subic Bay, Philippines, in January. Many thanks to all of you who contributed images to this blog. And here is to 2016 and more even woodpeckers (Gerard Gorman).

Monday, 30 November 2015

Vietnam - Woodpeckers

I have just returned from Vietnam where, along with two friends, I explored three forested national parks: Cuc Phuong, Phong Nha-Ke Bang and Cat Tien. We observed a range of birds and other wildlife, including some rare primates, but our main objective was to find and study woodpeckers. There are 18 species of picid in Vietnam, and we observed 10 of them: White-browed Piculet Sasia ochracea, Grey-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus, White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis, Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus, Red-collared Woodpecker Picus rabieri, Laced Woodpecker Picus vittatus, Common Flameback Dinopium javanense, Pale-headed Woodpecker Gecinulus grantia, Bay Woodpecker Blythipicus pyrrhotis, Black-and-buff Woodpecker Meiglyptes jugularis. However, most of our time was concentrated on searching for and observing 2 species: the rare 'Near-Threatened' Red-headed, and the bamboo-dwelling Pale-headed. Both of these woodpeckers are rather shy, and often difficult to observe, the former inhabiting thick rainforest and the latter dense stands of mature bamboo, I was particularly pleased to obtain sound recordings of the call of Red-headed and drumming of Pale-headed. Adjacent photo: male Lesser Yellownape race annamensis, Cat Tien NP, November 2015 (Gerard Gorman).

Friday, 13 November 2015

Ivory-billed Woodpecker

This is as close as I have ever been to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Campephilus principalis. Female (left) and male (right) specimens in the Vienna Museum of National History, Austria. The debate over whether this species still exists or not goes on, although it does not rage as much as it did in the years following reports of sightings in the USA in 2005 and 2005. The IUCN class this bird as Critically Endangered. It is, sadly, probably but not officially extinct.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Urban Picids: Syrian Woodpecker

The Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus is often seen in wooded urban habitats: in gardens, parks, orchards and the like. This male was in roadside trees and on utility poles in a village in Hungary. Photo by Gerard Gorman.