Smokybrown woodpecker

Veniliornis fumigatus

SUBFAMILY

Picinae

TAXONOMY

Picus fumigatus d'Orbigny, 1840, Corrientes Province, Argentina, and Yungas, Bolivia. Five races recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Brown woodpecker; French: Pic enfumé German: Russpecht; Spanish: Carpintero Pardo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm); 1.1-1.8 oz (31-50 g). A very plain woodpecker with no color pattern evident in its plumage and no crest; smoky brown overall; adult male has dark gray nape feathers tipped with red, back and scapular feathers are tawny-olivaceous with a golden, sometimes orange-red wash; adult female similar to male, but with nape feathers tipped with brown; juveniles similar to adult, but plumage duller.

DISTRIBUTION

Found from Nayarit and southeastern San Luis Potosi in Mexico, through Central America to Colombia and northern

Venezuela, south along the west slope of the Andes to north central Peru and along the east slope of the Andes to northwestern Argentina. V. f. oleaginous, eastern Mexico; V. f. san-guinolentus, central Mexico to western Panama; V. f. reichenbachi, eastern Panama, northern Venezuela, Colombia to eastern Ecuador; V. f. fumigatus, upper Amazonia; V. f. obscura-tus, northwestern Peru to northwestern Argentina.

HABITAT

Evergreen forests of mountains and lowlands, including secondary forests of tropical and subtropical areas; seems to prefer smaller tree trunks to larger ones.

BEHAVIOR

A resident species that often travels in pairs and, after nesting, in family groups, often in mixed species flocks; a rather inconspicuous species that moves about the forest canopy as well as tangled vines of the understory.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages high in broken canopy and lower at edges on small branches or vines; seems to prefer edges in lowland forest where it may forage low, but as with many species, this "preference" could be a function of where birders can most easily see them and careful study is needed. Often uses second growth. Diet seems to favor small wood-boring beetles and their larvae.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nesting occurs February-May. Nest excavated in a fence post, utility pole, or tree trunk, 5-25 feet (1.5-7.6 m) up. Reported clutch size of 4 eggs; no information on young or parental care.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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