Sunday, 23 December 2012

Picid in Focus: Lafresnaye's Piculet

Lafresnaye's Piculet Picumnus lafresnayiPhoto of this female (note lack of red speckles on the forecrown) taken near Moyobamba, northern Peru, in November 2012 by Gerard Gorman.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Picid in Focus: Scarlet-backed Woodpecker male

Scarlet-backed Woodpecker Veniliornis callonotusPhoto of this male (note red on the crown which females lack) taken at Bosque de Pomac, Peru, November 2012 by Gerard Gorman.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Picid in Focus: Speckle-chested Piculet male

Speckle-chested Piculet Picumnus steindachneriEndemic to NW Peru. Photo of this male (note red on the forecrown) taken near Afluentes in November 2012 by Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Picid in Focus: Speckle-chested Piculet

Speckle-chested Piculet Picumnus steindachneri. Endemic to NW Peru. Photo of this female (males have red on the forecrown) taken near Afluentes in November 2012 by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Picid in Focus: Yellow-fronted Woodpecker male

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes flavifrons This is a male, note the red crown and nape. Photo of this stunning species taken by Adam Riley (Rockjumper Tours) in Intervales, Brazil.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Picid in Focus: Syrian Woodpecker

Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus. Female, note lack of red on nape. Ranges from the Middle East to C & E Europe. In many areas it is an urban bird, as this photo illustrates. Photo taken in Hungary by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Genus: Chrysophlegma

This Old World genus contains three species (Banded, Checker-throated, Greater Yellownape). All were formerly placed in the Picus. They are found in forests in SE Asia and are essentially arboreal. This Banded Woodpecker C. miniaceum was photographed by Neil Bowman.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Picid in Focus: White-winged Woodpecker

White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus. This is a female, males have red nape patch. A central Asian species, this photo was taken in Kazakhstan by Sveta Ashby.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Picid in Focus: White-naped Woodpecker

Male White-naped Woodpecker Chrysocolaptes festivus. Male has red crown, female yellow crown. Photo taken in India by Sveta Ashby. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Picid in Focus: Nubian Woodpecker female

Female Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica. Note lack of red malar. Photo by Simon Walkley, Kenya, 2012.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Literature: Smithsonian Field Guide

The Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Ted Floyd (Harper Collins, 2008) has a superb cover photo of a Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus. A total of 22 picid species (woodpeckers, sapsuckers and flickers) are covered in the book with fine photographs and range maps.   

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Photos Needed !

I posted a while ago a request for photos for my forthcoming book on world woodpeckers (see info in the left-hand column here). One change is that sample photos can now be sent directly to me in small jpgs. In particular, woodpecker species from Africa and South & Central America are needed. Both sexes, distinct races, juveniles, interesting poses, behaviour shots, all are needed. Thanks. Gerard Gorman. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Genus: Hemicircus

This genus contains two species that occur in SE Asia: Grey-and-buff Woodpecker H.concretus and Heart-spotted Woodpecker H.canente. They are both small, agile, dainty and have prominent crests. Photo of male Heart-spotted Woodpecker taken in Goa, India, by Peter Basterfield. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Woodpecker Flight

The line 'typical woodpecker flight' is often used in the literature. It is used to describe a bounding, undulating flight style. However, many woodpeckers do not fly in this way. The larger species in particular do not bound but rather move in a fairly straight, steady line, flapping in a manner not unlike that of a crow. Black Woodpecker in flight taken by Colin Brown, Hungary, August 2012. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Picid in Focus: Jamaican Woodpecker

Male (note all-red crown) Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus. Photo of this island endemic taken by Neil Bowman. This species will raise 2 or 3 broods a year and its holes provide cavities for various parrots, martins and other birds.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Picid in Focus: Andean Flicker male

Adult male Andean Flicker Colaptes rupicola rupicola. Photo taken in Chile by Gonzalo Gonzalez.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Literature: Downy Woodpecker - Wild Bird Guides

This excellent monograph on Picoides pubescens by Gary Ritchison includes some great photos of North America's smallest woodpecker species. The book is fact-filled, with just about all the natural history of the species covered, but it is not overly scientific and so is a book for all fans of woodpeckers. Published by Stackpole Books, USA, in 1999. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Picid in Focus: Ochre-collared Piculet

Ochre-collared Piculet Picumnus temminckii.Photo of this male (males have red on the crown) taken in Parana State, Brazil, by Alan Maruchi.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Australopicus nelsonmandelai

A woodpecker species whose remains were unearthed by scientists at the Langebaanweg fossil site on South Africa's south-west coast, have named it Australopicus nelsonmandelai in honour of Nelson Mandela. It is the oldest type ever found on the African continent. See here:

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Picid in Focus: Black-cheeked Woodpecker

Black-cheeked Woodpecker Melanerpes pucherani is a typical, gregariousl, noisy member of the genus. It is monotypic and occurs from southern Mexico through Central America to Colombia and Ecuador. It often visits feeders. Photo of this female (males have all-red crown) taken In Costa Rica by Gerard Gorman.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Picid in Focus: Tullberg's Woodpecker

Female Tullberg's Woodpecker Campethera tullbergi. This canopy forager is often inconspicuous as it works snags and probes in moss, lichen and leaf-clusters for prey. Three races: nominate tullbergi in south-east Nigeria, western Cameroon and Bioko Island in Gulf of Guinea, taeniolaema (as here) from eastern DR Congo to Rwanda, south-western Uganda, Burundi, western Tanzania and western Kenya, and hausburgi in the Kenyan highlands east of Rift Valley, eastern Uganda and northernmost Tanzania. Photo by Gerard Gorman, Uganda, February 2012.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Primary and Secondary Cavity Use

Woodpeckers are almost unique in that they are primary cavity users. That is, they create their own holes for use as nesting and roosting sites.  But not all woodpeckers do this, some are secondary cavity users. The two species in the genus Jynx, the wrynecks, do not excavate holes. For example, the Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla in this photo used the old nesting cavity of a Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius in which to breed. The Middle Spotted had created and bred in the cavity the previous year. Some species also re-use their holes and those made by others. Photo: Bukk Hills, Hungary, June 2012, Gerard Gorman. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Picid in Focus: preening Pale-billed Woodpecker

A female Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis preening. Photo by Gerard Gorman, Costa Rica, 2012. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Picid in Focus: Pale-billed Woodpecker female

Pale-billed Woodpecker Campephilus guatemalensis in its nesting cavity in a dead palm tree. This is a female, note the black just visible of the forehead, males have all-red heads. Photo by Gerard Gorman, Costa Rica, 2012. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Picid in Focus: Cardinal Woodpecker female

Female Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens. One of Africa's most common woodpeckers. Photo taken in Uganda, March 2012, Gerard Gorman. 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Picid in Focus: Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus is a stunningly plumaged woodpecker. It occurs from the western USA to Colombia. Some populations are migratory. Often found in oak and pine-oak woods. Known for its habit of storing acorns in larders, each acorn in one specially made hole. Photo taken In Costa Rica, Gerard Gorman: 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Picid in Focus: Bearded Woodpecker - female

Dendropicos namaquus female. Note the black crown. Male has red crown. Photo taken at Lake Mburo NP, Uganda, March 2012, by Gerard Gorman

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Picid in Focus: Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker

Female (note the grey, not yellow crown) Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus. Alpinus race. Photo taken in Lower Austria by Thomas Hochebner, April 2012.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Habitats: Dying Spruce Forest

This photo shows a dying mixed spruce-beech-fir forest. After a fire or an avalanche (as in this case), most beech trees fall and the damaged, broken standing spruces become infested with bark-beetles, especially Ips species. Such forests are major feeding habitat for woodpeckers, especially Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers which subsequently invade and breed in high densities. Photo taken in the Austrian Alps, April 2012, Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Picid in Focus: Andaman Woodpecker female

Female Andaman Woodpecker. Male has red malar stripe and red fore-crown. Photo taken by Simon Walkley, Havelock. Andaman Islands, India, November 2011.  

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Picid in Focus: Buff-spotted Woodpecker male

Male Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa. Note red nape, which females lack. At 14-16cm long this is a small member of the genus. Occurs in central-western Africa. Photo taken in Lake Mburo NP, Uganda, March 2012, Gerard Gorman. 

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Genus: Dendropicos

This genus is currently composed of 15 (taxonomy in dispute) small to medium sized, typically green and grey coloured species. All are found in woodlands and forests in Africa. Sexual dimorphism is shown in males having red or yellow on the crown, which females lack. This male Grey Woodpecker Dendropicos goertae was photographed in Uganda in March 2012, Gerard Gorman. 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Picid in Focus: Nubian Woodpecker

Male Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica. A locally common picid in wooded savanna and bush country in east-central Africa. Note the all-red crown and malar. Female has fore-crown and malar black flecked with white. Photo by Gerard Gorman, Uganda, March 2012.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Picid in Focus: Bearded Woodpecker

Male Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus. Note the red crown which the female lacks. This is one of the largest African woodpeckers. Photo taken at Lake Mburo NP, Uganda, March 2012, by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Picid in Focus: Chilean Flicker

Chilean Flicker Colaptes pitius. This rather terrestrial woodpecker (though it does nest and forage in trees) is restricted to south-west South America, from central Chile to Patagonia in Argentina. Photo taken by Pete Ferrera in southern Chile, 2012.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sounds: Black Woodpecker

This species ranges across much of Eurasia. It is often vocal.

Call of a territorial male Dryocopus martius

Recorded in Budapest, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Literature: Remarkable Woodpeckers

The full title of this book by Stan Tekiela is Remarkable Woodpeckers: Incredible Images and Characteristics. The book does indeed contain some stunning photographs of 22 picid species from Canada and the USA, mostly by Stan Tekiela himself. Though the photography dominates, there are also many short paragraphs on various aspects of woodpecker natural history. Published by Adventure Publications Inc. Cambridge, MN, USA. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Picid in Focus: Green-barred Woodpecker

Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros occurs in South America, south of the equator, in parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina. There is some variety in plumage among the five currently recognized races. This photo of a female (lacks red malar) taken in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karel Zajicek.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Literature: The Red-cockaded Woodpecker

This full title of this important book by Richard N. Conner, D. Craig Rudolph and Jeffrey R. Walters is The Red-cockaded Woodpecker: Surviving in a Fire-maintained Ecosystem. The authors document the story of this endangered picid, covering just about every angle there is in great detail, from history, evolution, behaviour, ecology, forestry, conservation and the associated politics. All in all, essential reading. Published by University of Texas Press, Austin, USA, in 2001. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Picid In Focus: Buff-necked Woodpecker male

A nice shot of a male Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki. Note the red malar area, females lack red. Photographed in Peninsula Malaysia by Tan Choo Eng.  

Monday, 2 January 2012

Literature: Woodpeckers of Eastern North America

This book by the late Lawrence Kilham was first published in 1983 by the Nuttall Ornithological Club, then later re-issued by Dover Publications, New York, in 1992. It is out-of-print but still fairly easy to find. It is a great book by a great observer of woodpeckers. It mainly covers Downy, Hairy, Black-backed, Pileated, Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Northern Flicker, and to a lesser extent Crimson-crested and Pale-billed Woodpeckers. It is fact-filled, the facts mostly established by the author himself over years of devoted observation and study of both wild and captive picids.