Saturday, February 6, 2010
The magnificent Imperial Woodpecker is depicted in this hand-colored lithograph from French naturalist Alfred Malherbe's four-volume work, Monographie des picidées (1859-1862). There is another illustration and more information about the work available here at this link.
The largest woodpecker in the world, the female Imperial Woodpecker is shown in full with her tongue extended, contrasted with the male whose crest is red and black. In the background, male and female Ivory-billed Woodpeckers are depicted in what certainly appears to be an adaptation of John James Audubon's painting of the birds in 1826.
There is big news today as the only film ever found of an Imperial Woodpecker is released in the form of 85 seconds of stunning color movie footage! The film provides us with a unique look back through time at a species that is presumed to be extinct.
The paper, by lead author Martjan Lammertink along with four Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff members and two Mexican biologists, is entitled Film Documentation of the Probably Extinct Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus Imperialis). It details the remarkable 16-mm color film of an Imperial Woodpecker shot in 1956 by William L. Rhein, a dentist and amateur ornithologist. Rhein shot the film with a hand-held camera from the back of a mule while camping in a remote location in the Sierra Madre Occidental in Durango state, Mexico.
Here is a link where you can view the 85-second color film, download the Auk article, hear Rhein narrate scenes from his 1956 expedition, read about the March 2010 follow up expedition to the film site, and see the painted Imperial Woodpecker cover art that serves as the cover of the current edition of The Auk:
Although Rhein has been widely attributed with the last sighting record of an Imperial Woodpecker, the existence of his film was not known until recently. In the mid-1990s, biologist M. Lammertink discovered a mention of the film at Cornell in letters that Rhein and a colleague sent to ivorybill researcher James Tanner in 1962. He tracked Rhein down and they viewed the film together in 1997. In 2005 Rhein's nephew, R. Thorpe, donated the film to the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Tim Gallagher is editor-in-chief of Living Bird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's quarterly magazine. He's also the author of the book "The Grail Bird: The Search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker" (Houghton Mifflin, July 2005). For more info on the illustration, see the article or click here.
This rather large image befits the Imperial Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in the world. According to Wikimedia Commons, this chromolithograph appeared in The Auk in 1898, and the artist was John Livzey Ridgway (1859-1947) an American illustrator and brother of ornithologist Robert Ridgway. Public domain image.
Here's a link to a related article from 2003 about a search for the Imperial Woodpecker by BirdLife International that's an interesting read:
This is an image of male and female Imperial Woodpecker specimens from the Museum Wiesbaden in Germany. The photographer was Fitz-Geller Grimm, shared with us here by Creative Commons license.
El carpintero Imperial, el zorro Guará, el Tilacino, el pájaro Dodó, el Sapo Dorado de Monteverde, el Bilby Menor, el ciervo de Schomburgk, el Alca Gigante, el Tigre de Java, el Baiji o delfín de río chino, el Barbus Microbarbis y la orquídea extinta.
Llegaron los humanos y los mataron a todos!!!!!
The Imperial Woodpecker, Fox Den, the Thylacine, Dodo bird, the Golden Toad of Monteverde, the Bilby Minor Schomburgk Deer, the Great Auk, the Tiger of Java, the Baiji or Chinese River Dolphin, the Barbus Microbarbis and orchid extinct.
humans came and killed them all !!!!!
I was pleasantly surprised to find this illustration of the head and foot of an Imperial Woodpecker, accompanied by the same for the Black Woodpecker of Europe (Dryocopus martius) for comparative purposes in the preface of Alfred Malherbe's Monographie des Picidées. 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.
The Imperial Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in the world, is the subject of an earlier post here at Campephilus Woodpeckers and, appropriately, the subject of the first plate within Monographie des Picidées:
Naturalis is the website of the National Museum of Natural History in the Netherlands. At Naturalis, you can find 3D images of specimens from the Zoological Museum of the University of Amsterdam including an Imperial Woodpecker, a Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker and a US Ivory-billed Woodpecker . See this one, for example: