Monday, 2 June 2014

Knysna woodpecker

Campethera notata

Photo by Trevor Hardaker (Trevor and Margaret Hardaker)

Common name:
Knysna woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-Knysna (pt); pic tigré (fr); pito de Knysna (es); Knysnaspecht (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Picidae

This species is endemic to South Africa, occurring around the coast of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and small parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

These birds are 22 cm long and weigh about 60 g.

The Knysna woodpecker is found in coastal forests, woodlands and scrublands, namely thornveld, Euphorbia thickets, riparian woodland, coastal white milkwood Sideroxylon inerme thickets and mountain forests, occasionally also using Protea thickets and alien tree plantations.

They forage in the forest canopy, hunting adult and larval ants, termites and wood-boring beetles by gleaning, pecking and probing the branches.

Knysna woodpeckers breed in August-November. Both sexes excavate the nest, a hole usually located on the underside of a branch. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated for 13-21 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 25-27 days after hatching.

IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and although locally common, the population is thinly dispersed over this range, being estimated at just 1.000-3.300 individuals. There is no evidence that the population is currently in decline but past range contractions in KwaZulu-Natal have been attributed to the clearance of coastal scrublands for sugar-cane farming and township development.

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