Sunday, January 31, 2010

Powerful Woodpecker

powerful woodpecker, originally uploaded by WLA.

Many thanks to WLA on Flickr for sharing this photo of a juvenile male Powerful Woodpecker, who also offers this interesting info:

"The bird in question was a pet in an indigenous village. Its pretty young and the sole survivor of a brood of three birds."

This photo displays the classic arrangement of toes in Campephilus woodpeckers.  It is not the zygodactly arrangement typical of so many other woodpeckers, of two pairs of toes arranged opposite each other, pointing top and bottom.  Rather, the third toe of the bird is elongated and extended horizontally to brace the large bird against a tree trunk, as a person on a very narrow cliff face might extend each arm to brace him or herself against the cliff.

Consider this when you see in illustrations of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and other Campephilus species because the illustrators too often go with the incorrect zygodactyl toe arrangement that's typical of many other woodpeckers, but not those in the Campephilus genus.


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