Thursday, February 4, 2010

Expert Driven Habitat Suitability Modelling for the Magellanic Woodpecker in Karukinka Natural Park, Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Originally posted March 24, 2010 - backdated to organize posts by topic.

Recently, Adrian Hughes completed a masters thesis with the aforementioned title on the Magellanic Woopecker. He set up a related website at Among the objectives of his study is this one: 

To produce a habitat suitability map of Karukinka Park and surrounding area for
  the Magellanic woodpecker using a GIS and Multi Criteria Evaluation to help
facilitate species location within the park.

Magellanic WoodPeckers, originally uploaded by Sergio R. Nuñez C.
Creative Commons licensed photo. 

Some of the most interesting (to me) facts and aspects regarding Magellanic Woodpeckers conveyed in the thesis are:
  • The thesis argues in support of designating the Magellanic Woodpecker as a flagship species in support of protecting wildlife throughout Patagonia, as well as a keystone species and bio-indicator.  Those are three big designations to attach to one of the largest woodpeckers in the world.
  • Magellanic Woodpeckers are sapsuckers!  This thesis mentions that Magellanic Woodpeckers are more prevalent in mixed forests because those forests contain a type of southern beech tree that provides them with "sap which is an energetic foodsource for the woodpecker that supplements the normal food source of wood boring lavae (Cerambycid)."
  • Magellanic Woodpeckers nest in weakened trees >30 cm dbh, but not typically in fully dead trees because such trees are too susceptible to destruction from strong winds in Patagonia.
  • Amazingly, Magellanic Woodpeckers require trees that are very old for nesting for they "found no trees with nest sign younger than 97 years with the mean age of all cavity trees being 187 years old."
  • Magellanic Woodpeckers apparently avoid building nests near ravines where fast moving water in springtime is so loud as to interfere with their spring mating rituals.
  • Magellanic Woodpeckers seem to benefit, in the short-term, from the invasive, introduced North American beaver, but perhaps not in the long-term after trees are fully dead as a result of beaver activity.


PSYL said...

Hi there. I found this blog through CAVNET, it is a very valuable and enjoyable tool to get people interested in the natural world, such as the Campephilus genus.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

They truly are magnificent birds and while we don't have them here we do see a Pileated from time to time.

Warren Baker said...

Every Woodpecker has its niche Bill. They are all special birds. I've got some ''pecker'' photo's on my blog today. :-)

Bill Benish said...

Of course! Thanks all for your comments. Abraham, lucky you. A Pileated passed through Manhattan one day last winter. It's a very rare occurrence. Your Great Spotted Woodpeckers are beautiful Warren. Lucky you too!

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