Thursday, 11 July 2013

The malar stripe

The malar is a stripe that runs from the lower edge of the lower mandible below the cheek and down the sides of chin and often towards the throat. It should not to be confused with the moustache which is placed higher on the face and runs from the gape of the bill or slightly above it. The malar is a common plumage feature in woodpeckers and often a key marking in separating the sexes. In those species that have a malar, the male's is often coloured whereas the females is not or is lacking. This Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus is a male as it has a classic broad black malar; the female of this species lacks the malar. Photo taken in Cuba by Gerard Gorman.

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