Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Syrian Woodpecker: adult male ID

Adult male Syrian Woodpecker has an all red nape patch and this is the only plumage feature that reliably separates adult males from adult females. Though sometimes difficult to judge in the field, this patch is also slightly larger than that of male Great Spotted Woodpecker as it extends further up the hind-crown and downwards towards the hind-neck. The front of the red patch is also closer to the eye than in Great Spotted. The red of the nape patch contrasts with the pink of the vent and under-tail coverts. This photo of an adult male was taken in Austria, in July 2004 (Göran Ekström). Note that on this bird the ventral area seems red rather than pink. Most Syrians show pink here but variation in colour tone is not uncommon and some birds show almost as deep a red as Great Spotted Woodpeckers. But the bird is clearly a full Syrian, not a hybrid (which do occur with Great Spotteds) as all the other ID features are clearly typical of Syrian.

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