The Woodpecker, the dark creeper living in Hispaniola
According to some religions, cultures and epic traditions, birds are bound up with human soul. They are considered to be the mediators between two worlds due to their constant flag between earth and sky.
A great number of specimens of more than 300 species can be found in the Dominican Republic. Among them, 31 are endemic species and 50 exclusively live in the island or near the Caribbean region. This fact shows the potential for ornithological tourism in this area, that is to say, the enjoyment of birdwatching as an option to visit a natural environment.
The Dominican Republic has 21 important areas for bird conservation covering 721.264 hectares that represent a 13 % of all protected areas in the country. Due to the amount and distribution, the more common endemic birds are woodpeckers, palmchat, black-crowned tanager, Cuban emerald, parrot, tropical bird, parakeet, broadbilled tody. It has a considerable importance for biodiversity conservation in the island because all these birds are very helpful in the reforestation by seed dispersal. Besides, some species are used for measuring the ecosystem health while acting as an indicator to obtain an environmental quality.
Their fascinating beauty that also acts as a thermal insulation mechanism, the seduction costume for mating, strategies for survival and adaptation to the environment, their bright and colorful plumage striped in black and yellow and the redcrowned head in males and red and black in females, set this specie apart the rest. We are talking about the carpintero de La Española or Hispaniolan woodpecker a native species that lives in the forest of the Dominican Republic.
Its scientific classification is Melanerpes striatus which means “trepador oscuro extraído” in Spanish. This bird performs a useful service for farmers by their removal of worms and insects pests. For this, woodpecker has a powerful beak and a tongue that can protrude up to four inches.
Woodpeckers is 8.6 and 9.8 inches long, a size that allows their vivid colours to be admired. The bird has dark olivecream underparts, grayish face and intense yellow iris. The tail, which allows the bird to keep balance while drumming, is brilliantly red in its base while the tail itself is black.
Unlike most woodpeckers, the Hispaniolan woodpecker, with its characterized and sickening sound while drumming, is considered a social specie. They are grouped in colonies of 20 pairs to protect a nesting bank or tree. They prefer to live in palm trees because their bark is softer and perfect for digging a hole.
They breed in February and July and lay up to 6 white eggs. The nests are built by both members, male and female, that dig holes in palm trees or telephone poles. The rest of birds make the most of this skill –to build their home in trunks of live trees- when they reuse discarded holes for turning them into their home.
Tags: Fauna and Flora