Monday, February 8, 2010

Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Drumming

Originally posted 3/20/12 - backdated to organize posts by topic. 

Carpintero real pico amarillo [Crimson-crested Woodpecker] (Campephilus melanoleucos melanoleucos) (♀) by barloventomagico
Photo of female Crimson-crested Woodpecker by barloventomagico posted here
 under Creative Commons license.

This post originally included a video showing a male Crimson-crested Woodpecker engaged in drumming behavior.   Unfortunately, the video was removed from YouTube by the person who posted it. Although you can find auditory clips of Crimson-crested Woodpeckers drumming at the Macaulay Library and at Xeno Canto, I'm was not aware of any other videos, to date, that show this behavior when I created this post.

Here is an excerpt on drumming from an article entitled Habits of the Crimson-crested Woodpecker in Panama (1972) by Lawrence Kilham who spent much time observing these and other birds, especially woodpeckers:

Instrumental Expressions

Drumming is typically a strong blow followed by short, weak, vibratory roll, “DA-drrr.” Such bursts usually come at a rate of one to two per minute, three per minute being a fast rate. This drumming serves a number of functions. Single “DA-drrs,” given occasionally throughout the day, enable members of a pair to keep in touch as they travel through woods together; duets of them continuing for periods of up to 20 minutes may occur at the height of courtship and just prior to copulation; while louder drumming, delivered against a resonating stub, is usually related to territorial disputes and assertions of dominance. This abbreviated drumming of C. melanoleucos, which at times can be no more than a single “DA,” appears to be the same as that described by Tanner (1942) for the Ivory-billed and by Short (1970a and b) for the Magellanic (C. magellanicus) and other Campephilus woodpeckers in South America. Although both sexes of C. melanoleucos drum, males drum far more than females during the nesting season.

You can find the full-text of Kilham's article here:


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