One of the most widely seen videos of Magellanic Woodpeckers is also one of the best! It's this clip from The Eloquent Communicators episode from The Life of Birds series by David Attenborough. Available for a long time on YouTube in poorer quality, this enhanced (in sight and sound) version comes from the BBC's Wildlife Finder site. The BBC recently made it available at their site to viewers outside of the United Kingdom. *UPDATE - unfortunately, the high quality clip is no longer available, as far as I can tell. The video above comes from YouTube.*
The video is fascinating for the several double raps it shows the birds doing in response to Attenborough hitting a tree trunk with two stones. It's also got fantastic flight footage that includes this bird's audible wingbeats and its signature, swooping style of landing on a tree trunk. I prefer the small view version here rather than the full screen view.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Male Magellanic Woodpecker feeding on a fallen Nothofagus pumilio log in Navarino Island, near the southernmost end of the world, in January 2013.
Field researcher Jaime E. Jiménez captured this HD video and wrote these comments:
Years ago I was thrilled by the very nature of the Magellanic Woodpeckers (Campephilus magellanicus) in the deep Nothofagus forests of southern Chile! This was not only by its self-confident appearance, but also by their gracious behavior, complex calls and communication, and by their ways of finding food...
It's my pleasure to share a detailed summary, in English and en Español, of a research project on Magellanic Woodpeckers within their northernmost range in the Alto Huemul Nature Sanctuary, which I received along with several photos from researcher Gloria Vallejos Barra. She is working with Lorenzo Campos Aguirre.
Here is Plate II by C. Delahaye from Alfred Malherbe's Monographie de Picidées, depicting Mégapic de Magellan - the Magellanic Woodpecker of Chile and Argentina that I was lucky enough to observe during my travels in Patagonia.
Clicking on the image above will take you to my online album of plates from Monographie de Picidées where, if you like, you can download a high resolution file of this public domain image. The album is worth a visit to examine the illustration in fine detail (see e.g., the male's yellow eye).
The feathers at the base of the female (behind the tree trunk) bird's bill should appear the same color red as the male's head, but that color has changed to an odd shade of violet during the almost 150 years since it was created. This illustration also seems simplistic compared to the others, and the birds look the most cartoonish to me. Then again, the image grows on me when I recall that this third largest woodpecker of the Americas can often appear cartoonish in life as well as in illustration!
The 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.
For a glimpse at the past, see this interesting, related bit of information from Fieldiana: zoology, Volume 13, Part 2 by Field Museum of Natural History, Field Columbian Museum, Chicago Natural History Museum from March 1918, a catalogue of birds of the Americas and adjacent islands, available here at Google books.
The fact that the winning photos were selected from a total of 1,050 images submitted by 305 professionals from 13 countries is a testament to how attractive and charismatic Magellanic Woodpeckers are as forest ambassadors.
Here's a brief, splendid video of a Magellanic Woodpecker working on a dead tree in Patagonia. You can hear one of this bird's calls if you turn up the sound while you watch this video by robkroenert on YouTube. Change 360p to 1080p on the video to watch it in high definition. The high def version may take a while to load.
If you haven't heard the laughing call of the Magellanic Woodpecker yet, it is most definitely worth a listen, right here:
- The study involved investigating parental care of Magellanic Woodpeckers at 11 nests from dawn to dusk throughout the nesting season
- Only a single young was reared at any nest, even at nests where two hatchlings were produced.
- Feeding rates were similar between parents, but males delivered larger prey to nestlings.
Congratulations to María Laura Chazarreta, Valeria Susana Ojeda and Ana Trejo, the authors of the article.
And many thanks to wizard4all for granting permission to post his super photo here!
Lago del Desierto, Argentina.
Of course, the Magellanic Woodpecker holds far more significance than the many interesting photos you may see of it. Dr. Valeria Ojeda completed her dissertation, Nesting habitat selection and reproductive biology of Magellanic woodpeckers
There is a related, very interesting article available online by Dr. Ojeda entitled Management strategies for keystone bird species: The Magellanic woodpecker in Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina. Here is an excerpt from the article:
It is accompanied by an excellent photo of a female Magellanic Woodpecker in flight. And, if you'd like to see Dr. Ojeda and other woodpecker researchers in action, visit PicidPics for a fine assortment of photos.
In this segment from his 1998 series, The Life of Birds, David Attenborough summons a male Magellanic Woodpecker by mimicking it's signature double knock on a tree in Patagonia. In addition to this clip, the BBC maintains an entire page of information on the Magellanic Woodpecker here at this link. Notes that accompany the Intro clip on that page describe different foraging behavior of females and males when raising nestlings to strategically maximize food resources. Males have been known to catch lizards and even the chicks of other birds!
Campephilus double knocks vary in volume and are not necessarily always loud. But, consider the loud double knock of the Magellanic Woodpecker that occurs at 1:33 min into this clip. The power behind that double knock is illustrative, I think, of how very loud the double knocks of its northern relative, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, could be, as often described in historical literature, given its substantially larger dimensions. BAM-Bam!
- length 48-53cm/19-21in (approximate)
- 450 - 570 grams (approximate)
- length 36-38cm/14-15in
- male 312-363 grams; female 276 - 312 grams
A male Magellanic Woodpecker brings an insect to a nestling in this excellent photo by Roberto Simonitti from Ushuaia, Argentina which is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. The photo is posted here with his kind permission.
And now for something entirely different:
Happy Yodel by Ho Lan - Mandala Studio Music Video
This video is off-topic. However, it made me feel so very good this morning that I want to share it with you. Best wishes to all by way of this Happy Chinese New Year video celebrating the Year of the Rabbit! Musical production is by a talented friend of mine, Hsi-Ling Chang.
Thanks to Jorge Oyarce Kruger for sharing such a striking photo here!
He writes, I also organize photo-safaris to watch birds in my my house and my terrains and find this awesome bird in my backyard, where there is a nesting place. And from his site: Ballenas.cl is an ongoing project that seeks to promote the protection of our natural resources and in particular the biodiversity of our country, particularly in the region of Los Lagos and Aysen.
Check out Jorge OK's site here:
UPDATE: I recently received a copy of this marvelous book, and it's available now. The included Yahgan story on the origin of the Magellanic Woodpecker tells an amazing tale of a brother who fell in love with his own sister "in ancestral times when birds were still humans." Back in March 2010, I posted the information below about this book with its uniquely diverse content and beautiful photography.
Here's the description from the publisher, and you can find a few more details there at:
University of North Texas Press
The subantarctic forests of South America are the world’s southernmost forested ecosystems. The birds have sung in these austral forests for millions of years; the Yahgan and Mapuche peoples have handed down their bird stories from generation to generation for hundreds of years.
In Multi-ethnic Bird Guide of the Subantarctic Forests of South America, Ricardo Rozzi and his collaborators present a unique combination of bird guide and cultural ethnography. The book includes entries on fifty bird species of southern Chile and Argentina, among them the Magellanic Woodpecker, Rufous-Legged Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Buff-Necked Ibis, Giant Hummingbird, and Andean Condor. Each bird is named in Yahgan, Mapudungun, Spanish, English, and scientific nomenclature, followed by a description, full color photographs, the bird’s distribution map, habitat and lifestyle, and its history in the region.
Here is a photo I took at el Museo Maritimo de Ushuaia. For a fascinating piece about the extraordinary Yahgan people:
Expert Driven Habitat Suitability Modelling for the Magellanic Woodpecker in Karukinka Natural Park, Tierra del Fuego, Chile
Recently, Adrian Hughes completed a masters thesis with the aforementioned title on the Magellanic Woopecker. He set up a related website at https://sites.google.com/site/campephilusgis/. Among the objectives of his study is this one:
the Magellanic woodpecker using a GIS and Multi Criteria Evaluation to help
facilitate species location within the park.
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.
- The study area was the Karukinka Natural Park that represents an area of 272,000 hectares or 672,126 acres.
- 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.
Female Magellanic Woodpecker photo in the Parque Nacional Puyehue. Creative Commons licensed photo.
This is one of four high-definition videos on YouTube of a male Magellanic Woodpecker foraging in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares near El Calafate in Patagonia, Argentina. The Magellanic Woodpecker has a wide range. It inhabits the Andes in southern Chile and forested areas of southwest Argentina.
Patagonia is a paradise to hikers, photographers and to anyone who cherishes wildlife and wilderness. The bird in this video lives in close proximity to the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. Perhaps you've been there to see and hear humongous chunks of ice falling off the edge of the glacier and plunging into Lago Argentino!
If you visit Patagonia, you can arrange to have the amazing experience of taking a walking tour on the Perito Moreno Glacier. I cannot recommend this excursion strongly enough. It is not always easy to arrange, nor is it inexpensive. Never mind. Just find a way to do it! Start here with a Google search and browse the results: big ice perito moreno
Video and photo footage of Campephilus woodpeckers in flight is relatively rare, so I'm always interested whenever I come across something new. This clip by Felipe Cabello, posted here with permission, shows a male Magellanic Woodpecker exploring a bit then flying off near the end of the video. It was taken in the Nahuelbuta area in Chile. Look closely, and you will see a lizard scurrying across the lower right side of the tree trunk! Upon watching the video, I hope you'll agree with the sentiment of it's title, translated here as "Woodpecker, be delighted."
Many readers will recall the video obtained by David Luneau that he obtained at Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas, on April 25, 2004. Is the bird in the video an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a Pileated Woodpecker, or something else? A quick search on Google will retrieve links to extensive discussion on this video. Some offer up pileateds in flight examples for comparison. But none that I am aware of take a good look at videos and photos of the North American ivorybill's Campephilus relatives in flight for comparison, material that may be informative (if not definitive) toward the true identity of the bird in the Luneau video.
As you will see here, most footage of these birds in flight is exceedingly brief!
1. Watch the Luneau video at 1/2 speed and 4x magnification.
2. One of the best flight videos is BBC's clip of Magellanic Woodpeckers: Find the BBC's clip here.
4. A male Ivory-billed Woodpecker leaves its nest hole at the 15:20 mark in this video: Rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
6. A female Cream-backed Woodpecker alighting on tree at end of video: Cream-backed Woodpecker alights on tree
8. Red-necked Woodpecker launches off tree snag here: Red-necked Woodpecker launch
9. A male Pale-billed Woodpecker takes off very quickly, at the end of this video: Fly away
I plan to do a separate post on flight photos.
Male Magellanic Woodpecker in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Photo taken in Lago/Laguna del Desierto, Argentina.
To hear what this female Magellanic Woodpecker sounded like, check out this link at xeno-canto and select the first sound file on that page! I took this photo in Lago del Desierto, Argentina.
Crimson-bellied Woodpecker: Usually encountered in pairs or familiesCrimson-crested Woodpecker: Observed in pairs or small groups
Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker: No notes on it
Guayaquil Woodpecker: Often met with in pairs
Imperial Woodpecker: Lives in pairs and in family groups of 3 - 5 (10?) birds
Ivory-billed Woodpecker: No notes, though other sources mention travel in pairs and groups
Magellanic Woodpecker: Met with singly, in pairs or in groups of 3 - 4
Pale-billed Woodpecker: Found singly or in pairs
Powerful Woodpecker: Often encountered in pairs
Red-necked Woodpecker: Found in pairs or small family parties
Robust Woodpecker: No notes
Source: Woodpeckers: A Guide to the Woodpeckers of the World by H. Winkler, D. A. Christie & D. Nurney
another party of five or six [imperials] was found in the hills a mile or so
away, and the Indians told us of other places where they were common.
Black, white and red. The elegant color patterns of a male Magellanic Woodpecker make for a striking portrait against a stark, dead tree trunk! This excellent photo by jomme is posted here under Creative Commons license.
Magellanic Woodpecker captured in Patagonia, Argentina by Leandro Herrainz. The photo is posted here with his permission.
This new article may be of interest to you:
Photo is posted here with permission from L. Herrainz.