Saturday, 8 December 2012

Red-bellied woodpecker

Melanerpes carolinus

Photo by Tom Friedel (Wikipedia)

Common name:
red-bellied woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-ventre-vermelho (pt); pic à ventre roux (fr); carpintero de Carolina (es); Carolinaspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species is found throughout the eastern United States, from South Dakota and Michigan to Massachusetts and south to the Gulf coast from Florida to southern Texas. It is also found in southern Ontario, Canada.

These birds are 23-27 cm long and have a wingspan of 38-46 cm. They weigh 55-90 g.

They are mostly found in temperate forested, namely oak-hickory forest, pine-hardwood forest, maple and tulip-poplar stands, and pine flatwoods. They can also be found in swamp forests, tropical forests, dry savannas, plantations and rural gardens, especially along rivers and streams. The red-bellied woodpecker is sometimes found within urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 900 m.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are omnivorous, eating fruits, acorns, seeds, berries and tree sap, but also arboreal arthropods such as ants, flies, grasshoppers, beetle larvae, caterpillars and spiders. They are also known to take small vertebrates such as lizards, frogs, small fishes, nestling birds and eggs.

These birds breed in March-June. Both sexes excavate a hole in a dead tree, usually a hardwood or pine, or sometimes on a dead branch of a live tree or a fence post. There the female lays 2-6 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 11-12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 24-26 days after hatching. They usually raise a single brood, or occasionally 2 broods per season.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the population is estimated at 10 million individuals. The red-bellied woodpecker has undergone a small increase over the last 40 years and it is not threatened at present.
fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and tree sap

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