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This image of a male Powerful Woodpecker displays its feature very well. It has a black bill, face black with white stripe, and a red crown. Females lack any red, having entire forehead to hindneck black. Endemic to northwestern South America, this species favors an especially beautiful environment - wet montane and cloud forest, often on steep slopes, at elevations of 4,000 to 12,000 feet in the Andes mountains.
Reference: Short, L. L. 1982:432-433. Woodpeckers of the World. Delaware Museum of Natural History, Greenville, Delaware.
Enjoy this fantastic close-up photo of a female Powerful Woodpecker taken in Colombia by Juan Carlos L. This bird lives in the Andes mountains, from Central Colombia to Peru. Notice the "v" shape the white lines make on the back, a pattern shared by several members of the genus. Male birds have a red forehead and crest. The photo is posted here with permission.
Originally posted 6/17/10 - backdated to organize posts by topic.
The illustration above is Plate V. from Alfred Mahlerbe's Monographie des Picidées. It depicts a family group consisting of a male Powerful Woodpecker in left, foreground, a female in the background and a male juvenile bird.
Here is a nice sample of this bird's commonest call, pee-yáw, pee-yáw!:
Like several others in the Campephilus genus, the Powerful Woodpecker utilizes a loud double rap for signaling purposes. Here's an example:
And finally, here is an excerpt listing various names for the Powerful Woodpecker from the 1868 publication entitled List of the Specimens of Birds in the Collection of the British Museum by George Robert Gray, creator of the Campephilus genus, et al. It is available here at Google books.
The bird image above is within the public domain and it appears here courtesy of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.
The Powerful Woodpecker was named long ago, in 1845 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French naturalist and ornithologist who was the nephew of famed Emperor Napoleon.
These 165 years later, very little is known about the breeding biology of this bird, an uncommon resident of montane regions from Venezuela to Peru (according to the article cited herein). The remarkable photos you see here are two of several within an article entitled First description of the eggs and nestlings of Powerful Woodpecker (Campephilus pollens) by Harold F. Greeney, Jose Simbaña & Lucia A. Salazar-V., and published February 26, 2010 in Boletín SAO in which the authors state:
Here we present the first observations, from north-eastern Ecuador, on the eggs and nestlings of this poorly known species.
The full-text article, including its amazing photos, is freely available online under Creative Commons license. The two photos here were taken by J. Simbaña and are posted here with permission.
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.
Woodpeckers are a spectacular and unique family of birds. Especially intriguing is the resplendent Campephilus genus, found only in the Americas. Having observed a few species in the wild, I felt compelled to create the only online resource dedicated to these beautiful birds. I hope you find this site informative and enjoyable!