Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Great Spotted Woodpecker: races ID

There are strong clinal variations in the plumages and sizes of Great Spotted Woodpecker across its range. This is especially so as regards the colour of under-parts. Northern birds are generally larger with stubbier bills and whiter under-parts and foreheads, whilst southern European birds are smaller with slighter bills and often greyish under-parts. Great Spotteds in the British Isles (sometimes claimed as separate race “anglicus" have a slighter, more slender bill and are overall less stocky than the nominate major and continental pinetorum race. They are also matt black, and sometimes rather brownish, on the upper-parts and white areas maybe more creamy or buff. Adult pinetorum from most of mainland Europe is smaller than major, has white under-parts more grey or buff and a longer, thinner bill. Adult hispanus from Iberia is overall darker than most races. White parts are cream, less white on flight feathers and there is sometimes a faint pink flush or a few red blotches on the chest. The under-tail coverts are pinkish, not as bright red as on major. Adult hartertifound on Sardinia and Corsica is a large race with reduced white spots on the wings, very grey under-parts and with a deep red ventral area. Adult canariensis on Tenerife is also a large, dark race and with rather orange-red under-tail coverts and ventral area. Adult thanneri on Gran Canaria is similar to birds on Tenerife but rather pale brown below.

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