Saturday, May 8, 2010

White-backed Woody

Today's weather was incredibly fine! I went birding around Beppu Ropeway for the whole day and got lots of new species to add up for my Beppu list. I walked from the Ropeway station up along the road deep into the forest and this flock of White-backed Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos leucotos) came in as one of the biggest surprises of the day. I've never seen the species before but for some reason there were lots of them today. Two male birds even flew closer to me and gave me a couple of seconds to get some good shots of them in close range. Others were just mainly shy and always hid behind dense leaves.
Subspecies D.l. namiyei of southern Japan has reddish underparts,
unlike the Taiwanese race which I have seen before.

At first I thought this one was a female, but it turns out to be a very young male bird that hasn't fully developed the red feathers on the crown.


Stu said...

Nice shots, they look very different from the Hokkaido subspecies..........

Unravel said...

Thanks Stu!
I did a bit of research and found that there are 4 different subspecies in Japan! Yours probably be D.l. subcirris which is the main subspecies of Hokkaido. The one in this post should be D.l. namiyei of Kyushu and southern Honshu, instead of D.l. stejnegeri of northern Honshu. Another subspecies, D.l. owstoni, is the one for Okinawa. This is so interesting. The total number of the subspecies of this woodpecker is 12! Maybe they'll split in the future.