A Closer Look: the Magellanic Woodpecker

A female Magellanic Woodpecker.

A female Magellanic Woodpecker perched on a lenga tree. The lichen draping the tree is Old Man’s Beard (Usnea barbata). Photo by Ross Donihue & Marty Schnure.

Near the top of the Avilés Valley, the new trail bends away from the river and points up into a montane lenga forest. Ducking into the forest for some shade, we saw a flash of scarlet and heard a short kee-OW! We froze. For the next half hour, two Magellanic Woodpeckers, a male and a female, put on a colorful show for us.

A large male forages for food in the trees. Photo by Ross Donihue & Marty Schnure.

The male in this monogamous pair. Photo by Ross Donihue & Marty Schnure.

Known locally as Carpinteros, Magellanic Woodpeckers (Campephilus magellanicus) find their food by pecking for grub in live and dead trees. They also use more deliberate, patterned pecking to communicate with each other.

Check out this video of BBC’s David Attenborough interacting with a pair of Magellanic Woodpeckers in Patagonia. We’re going to try his stone trick next time we’re out!

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7 responses to “A Closer Look: the Magellanic Woodpecker

  1. Great pictures. What you are seeing is so wonderful. Are you able to do your job with all the exciting distractions?
    Cary

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