A drumroll, please
HELLO all! Welcome to another edition of the Chirp.
This week we are going to have another drumming session... I think you know where this is going.
The cardinal woodpecker is often said to be one of southern Africa’s commonest woodpeckers. Although that may be true to a large extent, in our immediate area I still come across its olive and Knysna cousins far more frequently.
I usually find the cardinal woodpecker to be more common in exotic stands of trees, such as pines and gum trees, although I still encounter it in gardens and natural bush in some places. It is one of the smaller woodpecker species, being marginally smaller than an olive woodpecker. The male and female are similar, except for the red hindcrown of the male, which is brown on the female. The rest of the features are similar, with the dark malar stripe (“moustache”), streaked underparts, pale face, spotted wings and barred back.
As mentioned above, pairs live in areas with larger trees, especially exotics (at least in our area), where they peck on the bark in search of insects. They will scramble along a branch up the tree or to the edge of the branch before hopping or flying to the next. They have a rather “dipping” flight, with wings beating very rapidly. The usual call, most often heard, is a high-pitched “prree prree prree”, with the alarm being a rapid twittering sound.
Both calls can be heard in my recording at https://www.xenocanto.org/424182
They also give short bursts of very rapid drumming, almost like a “drumroll” on a hollow branch, for territorial purposes. As with other woodpeckers, they nest in holes in trees, excavated by the bird.
So folks, that it for now. I am available for birdwatching tours in and around Port Alfred. You may call me on 072-314-0069.
TOP NOTCH: The cardinal woodpecker can usually be found in exotic stands of trees, such as pines and gum trees