Monday, February 1, 2010

Pale-billed Woodpecker Foraging on Dead Palm

Originally posted 4/15/10 - backdated to organize posts by topic.

In this video, a male Pale-billed Woodpecker forages on a dead palm.  More and more video is being shot and posted in high-definition, and that is exciting when you think about what's to come in future days.  Watching this video in full-screen mode makes me feel like I am right there with the bird!

Alexander Grimwade captured this video at the Crystal Paradise Resort near the Macal River in the Cayo District of Belize.

I can't say enough good things about Belize to anyone who wants to experience not luxury, but a wonderful time in a place with only 1 or 2 good highways, extensive forests, magnificent Mayan ruins, mysterious caves, the second largest barrier reef in the world and a diverse array of wildlife.  Actun Tunichil Muknal is a cave with 1,000 year old Mayan remains in it that is only accessible with a guide.  It's amazing.  One weekday at the Mayan archealogical site of Caracol, we were the only ones there after a small group left the place.  It's huge, and its renowned for it's AD 562 defeat in war against the now even more famous Mayan site of Tikal in Guatemala.

I saw my first Pale-billed Woodpecker at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest in that same Cayo District of Belize.  

You can see more of Belize at the link below. Beware of the big, hairy spider!

My Belize photos


biologion said...

it's quite impressive how these birds forage! every time I meet them in the wild I stand and watch amazed!

Warren Baker said...

They look quite big Bill, what size are the peckers?

Bill Benish said...

Yes, they are large! They are in the mid-range size within the genus. Campephilus range from Cream-backed Woodpecker at 28-30cm (12 inches) to double that size for the Imperial Woodpecker at 56-60cm (24 inches). From Woodpeckers: A Guide to the Woodpeckers of the World by H. Winkler, D. A. Christie & D. Nurney

Here are the measurements for Pale-billed Woodpecker from the Neotropical Birds site at


Length: 35.5-38 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Wing length (chord) (Short 1982): 172-208 mm

Mass (data from Short 1982): 205-244 g in nominate guatemalensis; 263-282 g in regius

Warren Baker said...

Thanks for that Bill.

Frank said...

What you have to find impressive is the way this woodpecker uses it's tail; not merely to balance, as most Picids do, but as a "force multiplier", in much the same way that a leaf spring can be used to construct a crossbow.


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