Return of Bird of the Week: Red-stained Woodpecker


Red-stained Woodpecker Male, Amazonian Ecuador

WC will start 2021’s Birds of the Week with a spectacular bird: the Red-stained Woodpecker. The male, in particular, is a beautiful bird, with a golden-brown back, a heavily barred chest, a red head and the signature red-staining on primary and secondary feathers in the wings. The female lacks the red staining and red head, and is amazingly cryptic and hard to find.

This is a bird of the middle and upper zones of mature trees in the Amazonian basin. It’s uncommon in lower parts of the jungle forest. The first two photos were taken from a tower 120 feet up in Amazonian Ecuador. It does sometimes descend to follow army ant swarms, and is known to forage in mixed flocks. But most of the time it is in the upper two-thirds of the canopy, usually in comparatively undisturbed forest.

Red-stained Woodpecker Male, Amazonian Ecuador

There are three subspecies; this one is Hilaris, found on the easterly lower slopes of the Andeas in Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. While this species primarily eats insects, unusually for a woodpecker it will also eat fruit.

Red-stained Woodpecker Female, Brazil

This species, like many Neotropic birds, is poorly studied. It has a fairly extensive range, but prefers undisturbed habitat. It is classified as a species of Least Concern, but, really, no one knows.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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