Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Social Woodpeckers: Magellanic Woodpecker

Some woodpeckers are, to varying degrees, social in nature. One such species is the Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus of South America which is often seen in foraging family clans of 3-5 individuals. Young Magellanics may remain in contact with their parents for 3-4 years after fledging. These three, one male above and one below a female, were photographed in Argentina in December 2010 (Gerard Gorman).

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Picid in Focus: Yucatan Woodpecker

Yucatan Woodpecker Melanerpes pygmaeus. This is a male, females have less yellow in the face and red only only on the nape. Photographed in Belize by Vaughan Ashby during a Birdfinders tour in March 2015.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Name confusion - an example

Here is a pair of Eastern Grey Woodpeckers (Dendropicus spodocephalus) which I photographed at the SW edge of the Ngoronoro Crater, Northern Tanzania in February 2014. This taxon is also sometimes called Grey-headed Woodpecker, which can create confusion as that English name is also used for the Eurasian species Picus canus (this is also sometimes called Grey-faced Woodpecker). Further more, Dendropicus spodocephalus can also be found under a third name, Mountain Grey Woodpecker. In addition, Eastern Grey is sometimes placed in another genus, Mesopicos, rather than Dendropicus, and it is also sometimes treated as conspecific (lumped) with African Grey Woodpecker Dendropicus goertae or Mesopicos goertae if you prefer (which is also known as Grey Woodpecker). Confused yet ? Clearly, the current situation, where different taxonomic lists and field-guides use different English names (sometimes even scientific names) is far from ideal. Unfortunately, standardisation in the use of names for woodpeckers (and many other groups if birds) does not seem to be on the horizon.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Picid in Focus: Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker

Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker Celeus castaneus. This is a female (males have red on the cheek and malar stripe). Photographed in Belize by Vaughan Ashby during a Birdfinders tour in March 2015.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Picid in Focus: Pale-billed Woodpecker

A wonderful Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis. The biggest picid in Central America. This is a female, note the black throat and central crown. Photographed in Belize by Vaughan Ashby during a Birdfinders tour in March 2015.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

An island endemic: Crimson-backed Flameback

Here is another great image from Sri Lanka by Gehan Rajeev. A female Crimson-backed Flameback Chrysocolaptes stricklandi (males have a crimson crown). This species is endemic to the island of Sri Lanka and was previously considered a race of Greater Flameback.