Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Picid in Focus: Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

The range of this species occurs almost entirely within the Western Palearctic where it is widespread and locally common. Four races generally accepted. It is the most terrestrial picid in this region. It is also referred to as Eurasian or European Green Woodpecker. Photo: Male (note red in malar stripe), England, David Hosking.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Literature: The Guadeloupe Woodpecker

This excellent monograph is one of the very few books published on a single picid species. It was researched and written by Pascal Villard and published in 1999 by the Societe d'Etudes Ornithologiques de France (S.E.O.F.) but nevertheless is in English. The book is particularly strong on biology and ecology. Besides a detailed "all-you-need-to-know" text on Melanerpes herminieri, there are also many superb colour photos, drawings, maps and graphs. There is also a section on other island dwelling Melanerpes species.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Picid in Focus: Scaly-bellied Woodpecker Picus squamatus

This species has a fragmented range in southern-central Asia, occurring mainly in uplands in Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. Two races are described, nominate: squamatus and flavirostris. Sometimes called Scaly-bellied Green Woodpecker or Large Scaly-bellied Woodpecker. Photo: Female, Himalayan foothills, Northern India, Szabolcs Kokay.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Genus: Colaptes

This genus is composed of 12 species (though taxonomy is debated and 9 is also claimed) all found in the Americas. In English 6 species are known as "flickers": Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus, Gilded Flicker Colaptes chrysoides, Fernandina's Flicker Colaptes fernandinae, Chilean Flicker Colaptes pitius, Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola, Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris. Some, such as fernandinae, pitius, rupicola, are highly terrestrial. Photo: male Northern Flicker by Conservatory Water, Central Park, NYC, USA, Bill Benish.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Picid in Focus: Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus

Syrian Woodpecker. Adult male. This monotypic species occurs from the Middle East northwards into Europe as far as Austria and the Czech Republic in the west, Poland in the north and the Ukraine in the east. In the 20th century the species expanded its range significantly moving into central Europe from the Balkans. Syrian Woodpeckers are not birds of closed forest, rather they inhabit open, lightly wooded secondary habitats such as orchards, vineyards and gardens. Photo: Bogacs, Hungary, Nigel Sprowell.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Genus: Melanerpes

This genus is currently composed of 23 New World species. Many are highly social, even breeding in cooperation. The genus also includes island endemics such as Guadeloupe, Puerto Rican, Jamaican and Hispaniolan Woodpeckers. Photo: Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinas female, taken in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York City, USA, Bill Benish.