Thursday, 31 March 2011

Picid in Focus: White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos

This species ranges from continental Europe eastwards to Japan. There are 10 races, some very distinct. It is uncommon, if not rare, in western Europe but more common and widespread in the east. White-backed Woodpecker is a specialist, inhabiting mature forests with much dead and decaying wood and feeding mainly on wood-boring beetles. This photo of a male nominate race was taken in Austria by Thomas Hochebner.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Picid in Focus: Levaillant's Woodpecker Picus vaillantii

This monotypic species is resident in mainly mature montane forests of pine, oak and cedar in north Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia). It was formally considered a race of Eurasian Green Woodpecker. In plumage it is most like Iberian race of that species. This male (note all-red crown, both sexes have black malar stripes) photographed in Morocco in February 2011 by Vaughan Ashby.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Picid in Focus: Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni

This typical Campethera species inhabits a wide variety of woodlands in sub-saharan Africa, mainly south of the equator. It occurs in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, with isolated populations elsewhere including Senegambia. Six races are recognised. This bird photographed in the Gambia in 2010 by Vaughan Ashby.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Habitats: Taiga Forest

The Taiga is a belt of forest that runs across the boreal (sub-Arctic) latitudes of the northern Hemisphere. Coniferous trees dominate in the Taiga with various spruce, larch, fir and pine typical. Deciduous trees, which are more common in the primary and secondary succession stages of growth, are alder, aspen and birch. In Eurasia typical woodpeckers of this habitat include Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker. In North America Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers are typical. 

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Genus: Campethera

This genus is composed of 12 species, all found in sub-Saharan Africa. All are greenish on the upperparts. Though not truly terrestrial the Campethera readily forage on the ground for termites and the like and their bodily structure and bill reflects this. This female Bennett's Woodpecker C.bennettii was photographed in the Kruger NP, South Africa, by Gill Marven.