Monday, February 21, 2011

The smallest woodpecker in Singapore

The Sunda Woodpecker is very common in our gardens but not many will notice them as they are the smallest woodpecker in Singapore. Like all woodpeckers, they are noisy birds but you need to know your birds before you can spot them out. Like all woodpeckers, the Sunda has strong bills for drilling and drumming on trees to seek out the juiciest grubs hiding in tree trunks. Woodpeckers are able to drill and drum on trees because they have evolved in a number of ways to prevent brain damage. These include small brain size, the orientation of the brain within the skull (which maximises the area of contact between the brain and the skull) and making sure that the duration of drumming is short.

The short video below shows you how the woodpecker chips away at the wood to excavate its nest cavity. It performs the same activity while foraging for grubs but with short spurts and it moves up and down a tree trunk. 

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