Campethera notata (Knysna woodpecker) 

Knysnaspeg [Afrikaans]; Isinqolamthi (also applied to Cardinal woodpecker) [Xhosa]; Knysna-specht [Dutch]; Pic tigré [French]; Natalspecht [German]; Pica-pau de Knysna [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Piciformes > Family: Picidae

Campethera notata (Knysna woodpecker) Campethera notata (Knysna woodpecker) 

Knysna woodpecker male. [photo Stephen Davis ©]

Knysna woodpecker male, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

The Knysna woodpecker is endemic to South Africa, being found in woodlands and thickets along the southern coastline. It mainly forages in trees, searching dead branches for invertebrates and gleaning ants from branch and leaves. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole in the underside of a branch, often reused over multiple breeding seasons. Here it lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for roughly 21-13 days (estimated). The chicks are fed by both parents, and stay in the nest for an estimated 25-27 days.

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to South Africa, occurring around the coast of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and small parts of KwaZulu-Natal. It generally prefers thornveld, euphorbia thickets, riparian woodland, coastal White milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme) thickets and montane forests, rarely venturing into tall protea thickets and alien tree plantations.

Distribution of Knysna woodpecker in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Scaly-throated honeyguide.

Food 

Mainly eats ants and termites, as well as their eggs and pupae, foraging at all levels of the tree canopy. It typically works its way along branches, pecking, gleaning and probing in search of prey.

Breeding

  • Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole in the underside of a branch, often reused over multiple breeding seasons.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-November, peaking in October.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for roughly 13-21 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after approximately 25-27 days.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 
 

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