Monday, February 26, 2007

Red bellied woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus

We saw a red bellied woodpecker early yesterday morning. It landed on a bamboo support pole for a small pine tree and was pecking in the hole at the top of the bamboo. Before I could get my camera it flew away. I have seen this bird maybe one or two times before. It is rather striking with the brilliant red cap and ladderback of black and white feathers.

Here's a Cornell University website that has photographs and pictures of the bird with some interesting information. By looking at their map of sightings I can see that it is a rare bird for us to see. Interesting that they would give it such a descriptive name whose characteristic is difficult to see at best. A better name would be red capped woodpecker in my opinion.


Blogger OldRoses said...

I love these woodpeckers! I've managed to get a few fuzzy photos of them on my feeder by hiding behind the curtains in my kitchen. I believe they are called red-bellied because there is already a woodpecker called red-headed (see this page.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi oldroses,
Thanks for the explanation and link of why the bird is called red bellied. I think a more descriptive name would have been buff bellied as you can barely see color on the belly - which is definitely not red. :)

7:20 AM  

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