Saturday, 26 January 2013

Genus: Sasia

This genus hosts three Old World species, one in Africa, two in Asia. Though geographically separated, these species are similar in many aspects of behaviour and share some distinct morphological features such as an obvious orbital ring of flesh and round cross-section of the upper mandible. Yet, some unusual morphological differences also exist: the two Asian species have 10 tail feathers and 3 toes, lacking the first toe, while the African has 8 tail feathers and 4 toes, with first digit thin and reduced. Photo of this African Piculet Sasia africana taken in Ghana, January 2013, by Gerard Gorman. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Social Woodpeckers

Many species of woodpecker are rather solitary, foraging and roosting alone and only interacting with others of their kind when breeding or when in dispute. However, some are social species, foraging in pairs or family parties, roosting together and even having cooperative breeding systems. Several species of Melanerpes and Colaptes in the Americas, Ground Woodpecker in South Africa and Great Slaty Woodpecker in SE Asia, for example, can all be regarded as social species. This picture shows Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers Melanerpes cruentatus a species that is always seen in noisy, gregarious groups. Pairs nest in close proximity to each other and nestlings are fed by the several members of the group. Photo: Peru, November 2012, Gerard Gorman.