Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: wood pecker id needed

  1. #1

    Default wood pecker id needed

    I thought this was going to be a run of the mill downy woodpecker. But now that I am at home looking at my field guide, it does not look at all like a downy. And it does not look like a juvenile. Doesn't look like a ladder backed either?






  2. #2

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Great shots showing the markings quite clearly. And you got the nest hole, I have never found the nests, they just use my yard for their food source.

    The black stripes on the outer tail feathers say it is indeed a downy, a hairy would have all white feathers there, among other differences. The fact that the red is on the top of the head, rather than the nape of the neck says it is a juvenile male downy. I have the juveniles in my yard every year, with the parents feeding it so very familiar with how they look. And regarding your feeling that it does not look like a juvenile, it is funny but when I have a juvenile being fed by daddy, the youngster actually looks bigger and in better shape than the parent. I think this is because the parent is running itself ragged feeding babies and also the parent is going into molt time of the year while the juvenile is sleek, well fed with brand new beautiful feathers so looks bigger and better than the parent.

    This is a photo from my yard of daddy downy feeding juvenile male downy. This dad is in relatively good shape but you can see how the red is on the nape of the dad and top of the head of the juvenile. And the youngster looks bigger.


    This is a shot of a youngster visiting my suet by himself, a bit older now, feeding himself. Looks like your bird?
    Last edited by Kaptured by Kala; 07-23-2017 at 05:48 AM.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptured by Kala View Post
    Great shots showing the markings quite clearly. And you got the nest hole, I have never found the nests, they just use my yard for their food source.

    The black stripes on the outer tail feathers say it is indeed a downy, a hairy would have all white feathers there, among other differences. The fact that the red is on the top of the head, rather than the nape of the neck says it is a juvenile male downy. I have the juveniles in my yard every year, with the parents feeding it so very familiar with how they look. And regarding your feeling that it does not look like a juvenile, it is funny but when I have a juvenile being fed by daddy, the youngster actually looks bigger and in better shape than the parent. I think this is because the parent is running itself ragged feeding babies and also the parent is going into molt time of the year while the juvenile is sleek, well fed with brand new beautiful feathers so looks bigger and better than the parent.

    This is a photo from my yard of daddy downy feeding juvenile male downy. This dad is in relatively good shape but you can see how the red is on the nape of the dad and top of the head of the juvenile. And the youngster looks bigger.


    This is a shot of a youngster visiting my suet by himself, a bit older now, feeding himself. Looks like your bird?
    your explanation fits. I think maybe I have a lousy field guide. It does not mention juvenile birds. My guide is National Geographic Field Guide To Birds of North America. Second Edition.

    In my book it shows the downy having a very tiny beak. But the bird in my photo does not look that way. So that threw me. And I did not expect the red on its head to extend across
    the top like that.

    Today I was out at the same tree (photographing scissor-tailed flycatchers) and these woodpeckers came by as a bonus.

    I made a few more record shots today. I have no way of knowing if these birds today, are the exact individuals from yesterday. What I can say is, today these are two birds because they were on the tree
    at the same time. These birds look raggety compared with yesterday.



    This 'might' be the same one from yesterday. If it is a juvenile, I wonder why it has come back to the nest hole.





    This one is a different bird a bit higher up the tree. This one does not have the 'white back' like the other one. And this one looks like its beak
    is even longer still.

    Here is another shot showing the top of the head :



  4. #4

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    The bird in the last pair of photos is a juvenile male Ladder-backed Woodpecker. The black and white barred pattern on the back sets them apart from Downy Woodpeckers pretty sharply. Notice how the white stripes above and below his eye are much longer too? Looks like you have both species at this spot.

    They both look ragged because they're molting right now. It's the end of summer and most birds are either starting or well into their annual molt. Juveniles have to replace their fluffy juvenile plumage with better-quality body plumage and adults need to replace their feathers because they've taken a year's worth of sun bleaching and other wear.

    As for the bill size, Downy Woodpecker bills are only tiny in comparison to Hairy Woodpecker bills. On a Downy, the bill is shorter than their already small head. Hairy Woodpeckers have a large head with a bill that's almost equal in length to the rest of it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Wow, you are having some fun with the woodpeckers. Your first one today, the ratty one at the whole is another downy juvenile male but younger, those feathers have not come all the way in, hence the ratty effect.

    Now your second bird does not look like a downy. The patterning on the back and sides looks like a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Males, both juvenile and adult would have red both on the top of the head and under the chin. Females would only have the red on the top of the head. I believe what you have here is a really young female fledgling yellow-bellied sapsucker. I don't have a shot of that but I do have both an adult female and a juvenile male.
    This is the adult female at my home, note red on top of head:


    And this is a juvenile male at WRL, red on top of head and hint of red under chin, same bird, two different weeks




    I believe your sapsucker juvenile is younger, shorter tail.
    With all that said.....there is a chance your second bird is actually a ladderback, they are pretty rare for here and I have not seen one yet. Juveniles of both sexes of ladderback have the red on the top and so do the adult males, with the speckles towards the front. Do you have a shot of the breast? The markings differ between sapsuckers and ladderback, hard to tell for sure with these two shots. If it is a ladderback, you have a rare sighting, you should put it in ebird. Hopefully someone more familiar with ladderbacks will chime in now.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  6. #6

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    How funny, while I was typing my reply and researching, Blaine jumped in. yay, you got a ladder-backed, very nice find. I have a question for Blaine, how do you know it is a male juvenile? I looked it up and it said both males and females juveniles have the red on top of the head? Not disputing you, would like to learn. Not a bird I've seen yet.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  7. #7

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Juveniles of both sexes can have some color in the crown for all the woodpeckers in the Picoides genus (yellow for Three-toed and Black-backed, red for all the other species). In general males have more color, with a more extensive pattern than females. In some species, like Downy, there can be overlap in the amount of red in juvenile males and females, but it's more clear-cut in Ladder-backed. Female juveniles in Ladder-backed should max out at about 20 red-tipped feathers, and they shouldn't come forward of the eye. This bird has a lot more than 20 red feathers and they cover his entire crown, rather than being in a small patch.

  8. #8

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Thank you Blaine, that indeed answers my question. Now, hopefully I will see one.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

  9. #9

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptured by Kala View Post
    Thank you Blaine, that indeed answers my question. Now, hopefully I will see one.
    Here is another shot that just barely shows the breast feathers...



    and here is a ladder back that I photographer in Bosque del Apache New Mexico...

  10. #10

    Default Re: wood pecker id needed

    Yep, your juvenile shows more black dots for the markings on side and breast rather than the arrow head markings of the sapsuckers. Thanks for the photos, I can see the difference between your current juvenile and your older adult ladder-back.
    Kaptured by Kala

    http://kapturedbykala.com

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •