Sunday, 20 March 2011

Atypical/first winter female Great Spotted Woodpecker

This photo shows a female Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major with atypical head markings, that is, the black post-aurical stripe does not touch the nape. It is incomplete. This might suggest that the bird is a Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus (see photos in previous 2 posts) but other plumage features, such as red rather than pink under-tail coverts, white outer-tail feathers and a sturdy bill indicate Great Spotted. Could this bird be a hybrid Great Spotted X Syrian? Perhaps, but I think not as such atypical features are not uncommon on Great Spotted Woodpeckers, especially first winter birds. I believe this bird to be an atypical specimen rather than a hybrid. The photo was taken recently by Mladen Vasilev in Bulgaria.

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