Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Male Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker



(Click image to enlarge)

The Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens, is the smallest woodpecker in North America. Adults are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above the eye and one below. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head whereas juvenile birds display a red cap.

It is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the much larger Hairy Woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the Hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers. These species are not very closely related, and they are likely to be separated in different genera (Weibel & Moore, 2005; Moore et al., 2006); the outward similarity is a spectacular example of convergent evolution. Why they evolved this way cannot be explained with confidence; it may be relevant that the species exploit rather different-sized foodstuffs and do not compete very much ecologically.

Research from Wiki.


Thanks for stopping by,

Craig Glenn

1 comment:

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I wish I could get pictures of our woodpeckers. :) A lovely comparison Craig, now I know how to tell them apart too.