Friday, 14 September 2007

White-backed Woodpecker: adult male ID

As is the case (though to varying degrees) with other "pied" woodpeckers in Europe, White-backed males are slightly heavier, bigger and have longer bills than females. Bill length is the most significant morphological feature in terms of sexual dimorphism, but is not rarely noticeable in the field and only when a pair is seen together. The all red crown is the main feature distinguishing males from females (which lack red on the head). Sometimes these red feathers have visible dark bases. On some males the pink of the under-tail coverts and vental area reaches as far as the lower belly, lower flanks and leg feathering. On females it is usually less extensive, though this is variable. The photo here is of an adult male leucotos in Estonia, taken on 2.4.2005 (Uku Paal).

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