Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Atypical Great Spotted Woodpecker

This photo taken recently by Szabolcs Kokay in Budapest, Hungary, shows a male Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major with atypical head markings. It can be seen that the post-aurical stripes do not fully join at the nape, they are broken. This may suggest Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus or perhaps a hybrid bird. However, other features such as the red undertail coverts and strong beak indicate Great Spotted. The bird also apparently called like a Great Spotted and had considerable white on the outer tail feathers (though not really visable on this shot). Such birds often cause observers to claim a hybrid Great Spotted-Syrian, however such atypical features are not uncommon on Great Spotted Woodpeckers and I believe that this bird is simply an atypical specimen. Whether the bird has some Syrian influences, that is, a back-cross resultant from previous hybridizations, cannot be determined.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Woodpecker anvil

In this photo a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major is dealing with a pine-cone wedged in an anvil. An anvil like this is sometimes called a "smithy" or "workshop". An anvil is a place, usually a crevice or hole on a tree, but sometimes in a wall, where a woodpecker wedges a food item which it can then open up.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Gallery: Adult female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Adult female Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. The extensive white on the underside of the outer tail feathers (rectrices) is an important feature that separates from Syrian Woodpecker. This is very clear on this photo taken in Suffolk, UK, by Ross Haddow.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Quiz woodpecker 23

Can you name the species ? The age ? The sex ? Of this European woodpecker...

Monday, 15 December 2008

Gallery: Syrian Woodpecker adult female

Adult female Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus. Pink undertail coverts, black outer tail feathers and lack of post-auricular stripe on the cheek indicate Syrian rather than Great Spotted Woodpecker. All black nape, lacking red, indicates a female. This photo taken by Julia Burton in Tiszafured, Hungary in October 2008.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Gallery: Green Woodpecker juvenile male

Juvenile male Green Woodpecker Picus viridis. Photo taken in Germany by Thomas Kraft. Note the touch of red in the rather weak malar stripe.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Black Woodpecker: more feeding site signs

Here is another example of a classic feeding site of Black Woodpecker. Large, long slits and oval-shaped holes, large woodchips on the ground below. Some holes close to the ground, too. The bird has hacked into the heart of the tree to feed on carpenter ants. Photo taken in the Buda Hills, Budapest, Hungary, December 2008.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Gallery: Great Spotted Woodpecker adult male

This snapshot of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was taken in the Royal Lazienki Park, Warsaw, Poland, by Mike Roman. Note how prominent the red nape-patch is. Such areas of bright colour on the heads of adult woodpeckers are "badges" that usually (but not always) indicate gender.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Gallery: Three-toed Woodpecker adult male alpinus race

Adult male (Eurasian) Three-toed Woodpecker alpinus race. Photo taken in Bavaria, Germany by Ralph Martin.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Woodpeckers hiding

This photo of a Black Woodpecker shows the bird in a typical, classic pose. When approached many woodpeckers (if they do not fly off) will simply move to the opposite side of the tree trunk to the observer. From here they will occasionally peep out and assess the situation. This shot was taken by Szabolcs Kokay at Tata, Hungary.