Dendropicos namaquus (Bearded woodpecker) 

[= Thripias namaquus

Baardspeg [Afrikaans]; Mbangura (generic term for woodpecker and also applied to Crested barbet) [Kwangali]; Hohodza (generic name for woodpecker) [Shona]; Ghongoswana (generic term for woodpecker) [Tsonga]; Kôkômere, Phaphadikôta [Tswana]; baardspecht woodpecker [Dutch]; Pic barbu [French]; Namaspecht [German]; Pica-pau-de-bigodes [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

Dendropicos namaquus (Bearded woodpecker)  Dendropicos namaquus (Bearded woodpecker) 
Dendropicos namaquus (Bearded woodpecker) 

Bearded woodpecker male. [photo Lorinda Steenkamp ©]

Top right: Bearded woodpecker male, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bottom right: Bearded woodpecker female. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

The Bearded woodpecker occurs from central Africa to southern Africa, absent largely from the DRC. It dislikes dense forest, preferring deciduous woodland and savanna. It mainly forages in trees, tapping and probing branches in search of insects, licking them up with its barbed tongue. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a oval-shaped hole in the trunk of a tree, although it has been recorded nesting in fence posts. Here It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for roughly 13 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents, leaving the nest at about 27 days old. The juveniles become fully independent roughly 1-2 months after fledging.

Distribution and habitat

It occurs from the Central African Republic to Senegal to South Africa, mostly absent from the DRC. In southern Africa it is fairly common in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, northern Namibia and north-eastern South Africa. It dislikes dense forest, preferring deciduous woodland, thornveld, broad-leaved woodland, being most common in miombo (Brachystegia) and mopane (Colosphermum mopane).

Distribution of Bearded 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.  

Food 

It mainly forages in trees, tapping and probing branches in search of insects, licking them up with its barbed tongue. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually an oval-shaped hole in the trunk of a tree, although it has been recorded nesting in fence posts.
Dendropicos namaquus (Bearded woodpecker)  

Bearded woodpecker at its nest to feed chick, Nylsvley area, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

 
  • Egg-laying season is from April-December, peaking from May-August.
  • It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for roughly 13 days.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents, leaving the nest at about 27 days old. The juveniles become fully independent roughly 1-2 months after fledging.

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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