Saturday, August 29, 2009

How Woodpeckers Walk Vertically Up Trees

Woodpeckers inhabit wooded ecosystems. If you see a solitary bird moving up a vertical trunk with its tail pressed against the bark and its beak busy pecking at the wood is probably a woodpecker.
Woodies such as the Common Flameback can be seen and heard in the forest each morning. If you're quiet enough you will also hear the pneumatic drill on wood of the Laced Woodpecker. I for one love to watch the woodies at work. Have you wondered how these birds can climb vertically up trees? Well they have four-toed feet with two toes pointing forward and two pointing back, or slightly sideways with sharp claws that allow them to dig into the tree trunk. Their feet enable them to cling to vertical tree trunks of various sizes. See how the bird below splays its feet for maximum grip. It also uses the tail feathers that are wedge shaped and have very strong shafts to hold the woody’s body away from the trunk and provides support.If you happen to spot a woodpecker stop and observe how it scales the tree picking off its food.


Shawn said...

I never have thougt about that! Well, in Singapore I've only seen several banded and pygmy sunda woodpeckers. In India there would be flamebacks every morning- very often you can see them pecking the barks of coconut trees. It's usually very easy to find them- their very irritating call! So Noisy!

Shirls said...

haha! flamebacks and banded woodies are noisy but always entertaining to watch.