Hairy woodpecker

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Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides-villosus-001.jpg
Male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picoides
Species: P. villosus
Binomial name
Picoides villosus
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Synonyms

Dryobates villosus

The Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) is a medium-sized woodpecker.

Habitat

Their breeding habitat is forested areas with large trees across most of North America to Central America. They nest in a tree cavity, excavated by the nesting pair.

Description

Female

Adults are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above and below the eye. They have a black tail with white outer feathers. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head.

It is virtually identical in plumage pattern and coloration to the much smaller Downy Woodpecker, which also has a shorter bill relative to the size of its head. These two species are not at all closely related, however, and are likely to be separated in different genera (Weibel & Moore, 2005; Moore et al., 2006). Their outward similarity is a spectacular example of convergent evolution. As to why this convergence has evolved, only tentative hypotheses have been advanced; it is interesting to note in any case that due to the considerable size difference, ecological competition between the two species is rather slight.


These birds are mostly permanent residents. Birds in the extreme north may migrate further south; birds in mountainous areas may move to lower elevations.

These birds forage on trees, often turning over bark or excavating to uncover insects. They mainly eat insects, also fruits, berries and nuts, sometimes tree sap.

References

  • BirdLife International (2004). "Picoides villosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Moore, William S.; Weibel, Amy C. & Agius, Andrea (2006): Mitochondrial DNA phylogeny of the woodpecker genus Veniliornis (Picidae, Picinae) and related genera implies convergent evolution of plumage patterns. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 87: 611–624. PDF fulltext
  • Weibel, Amy C. & Moore, William S. (2005): Plumage convergence in Picoides woodpeckers based on a molecular phylogeny, with emphasis on convergence in downy and hairy woodpeckers. Condor 107(4): 797–809. doi:10.1650/7858.1 (HTML abstract)

External links

Photo gallery