Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus

Adult male Pileated Woodpecker D.pileatus. This is the largest picid in North America reaching up to 48cm in length. It is a food specialist that forages mainly on carpenter ants though it also eats wood-boring beetle larva and sometimes even fruit and nuts. Photo: St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana, USA, Bill Benish.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Grey-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus

Grey-capped Woodpecker. Female. This small species (up to 16cm long) ranges from the Himalayas to China, Korea and SE Asia as far south as Borneo and Sumatra where it inhabits a wide range of wooded habitats. It is also variably plumaged with several races (11 currently described). It is sometimes called Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker. Photo: Himalayan foothills, Northern India, Szabolcs Kokay.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Taxonomy: Celeus and Micropternus

Recent studies have concluded, on the basis of molecular evidence, that the Celeus genus comprises 11 species as Rufous Woodpecker (which occurs in SE Asia) is not related to the New World species. It is placed in the monotyopic genus Micropternus and is thus Micropternus brachyurus.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Genus: Sphyrapicus

The genus Sphyrapicus comprises 4 species, commonly named the sapsuckers. They are: Williamson's Sapsucker Sphyrapicus thyroideus, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius, Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis, Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus ruber. As the name suggests, sapsuckers feed primarily on tree-sap. All species breed in North American and are (to varying degrees) migratory, some moving southwards as far as Central American in winter. Photo: Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Central Park, NYC, USA, Bill Benish.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Genus: Celeus

This genus is comprised of 11 species, some stunningly beautiful, often with well-developed crests. They are Neotropical species: Cinnamon Woodpecker Celeus loricatus, Waved Woodpecker Celeus undatus, Scaly-breasted Woodpecker Celeus grammicus, Chestnut-coloured Woodpecker Celeus castaneus, Chestnut Woodpecker Celeus elegans, Pale-crested Woodpecker Celeus lugubris, Blond-crested Woodpecker Celeus flavescens Cream-coloured Woodpecker Celeus flavus, Rufous-headed Woodpecker Celeus spectabilis, Kaempfer's Woodpecker Celeus obrieni, Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus. Photo: Female Blond-crested Woodpecker, Atlantic Forest, Brazil. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Habitats: Atlantic Rainforest

The Atlantic Forest or "Mata Atlantica“ stretches along the Atlantic coast of Brazil and inland to eastern Paraguay, the province of Misiones in northeastern Argentina, and into Uruguay. The biodiversity of the Atlantic Rainforest is very high. However, it is estimated that it is just 7% of the size that it was 500 years ago. It once covered 1.23 million km2, today just 99 thousand km2 remain. Many species of plant and animal are endangered or under threat in the Atlantic Forest. Amongst the Picidae, the often ellusive Helmeted Woodpecker Dryocopus galeatus, which occurs very locally in eastern Paraguay, north-east Argentina and south-east Brazil, is an example. This species has suffered badly from the felling of forests and is now classified as vulnerable

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Genus: Dryocopus

The genus Dryocopus comprises seven species: three in the Old World and four in the New WorldWhite-bellied Woodpecker D.javensis has a fragmented distribution in south-east Asia with many distinct subspecies; Andaman Woodpecker D.hodgei is restricted to the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean; Black Woodpecker D.martius is widespread in Eurasia; Pileated Woodpecker D.pileatus is found in North America; Lineated Woodpecker D.lineatus is fairly widespread in Central and South America; Helmeted Woodpecker D.galeatus occurs locally in eastern Paraguay, north-east Argentina and south-east Brazil and is classified as a vulnerable species; Black-bodied Woodpecker D.schulzi occurs in southern Bolivia, central Paraguay and parts of Argentina, where it is localised. Photo: Male Black Woodpecker, Hungary.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Brown-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos moluccensis

Brown-capped Woodpecker. Female. The taxonomy of this tiny picid is complex. There are two distinct groups of races which are sometimes considered to be separate species: eastern moluccensis and western nanus. Indeed, several vernacular names can be found in the literature including Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker and Indian Pygmy Woodpecker for the nanus group and Sunda Woodpecker and Malaysian Pygmy Woodpecker for the moluccensis group. Photo: nanus, Northern India, Szabolcs Kokay.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus

Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker. Adult male and juvenile male still in the nesting cavity. Formerly regarded as one species "Three-toed Woodpecker" Picoides tridactylus was split into two species, P. tridactylus and P. dorsalis, following the AOU in 2003. P. dorsalis is now called American Three-toed Woodpecker. Photo: Estonia, Mati Kose.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Female. This Eurasian species is one of the smallest woodpeckers in that region. Females are truly "pied woodpeckers" as they are black and white and show no red or other colours at all. Photo: Hungary, Lászlo Nehézy.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Genus: Jynx

The genus Jynx comprises two species: Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla and Red-throated Wryneck Jynx ruficollis. Both are found in the Old World. The former is a migratory Eurasian species and the latter a bird of sub-Saharan Africa. Photo: Bulgaria, Mladen Vasilev. 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus

Magellanic Woodpecker. Male. This large woodpecker can be regarded as a keystone species in the Austral temperate forests of South America. Photo: Tierra del Fuego National Park, Patagonia, Argentina, Doug Kirwin.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus

Magellanic Woodpecker. Female. A monotypic species endemic to the Austral temperate forests of Chile and Argentina. Photo: Lago del Desierto, Patagonia, Argentina, Bill Benish.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Picid in Focus: Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius

Black Woodpecker. Adult female. A Eurasian species. Photo: Danube Delta, Romania, Daniel Petrescu.