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Woodpecker, Olive

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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pnm
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Woodpecker, Olive

Unread postby pnm » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:48 pm

I watched an Olive Woodpecker start excavating a nest in an Oak tree about ten days ago. Yesterday it was still building bit was pretty deep - I couldn't see the pair but could hear them (both male and female are excavating). Occasionally the one digging would appear with chips in the beak and toss them out the hole. I could get within about 5m of the hole without disturbing their activities.

Now my question - will they return year after year to the same hole or will they make a new one each year? Roberts doesn't say anything on the matter. (The hole is pretty near for photography but they have cunningly put it so that sunlight never gets near it!)

I must say I was astonished at how fast they make a hole.

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Pete
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Re: Olive Woodpecker nesting habit

Unread postby pnm » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:32 pm

Image

I have now added pictures of the Olive Woodpeckers at the nest. Does anyone have any answer to my query? I am very curious. ]

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Micetta
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Re: Olive Woodpecker nesting habit

Unread postby Micetta » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:39 pm

Hi pnm! Strange that nobody has answered you :? If you have not received an answer within the next couple of days, put the question on the "Identification Help - General Birds", that is visited regularly by the experts :thumbs_up:

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wildtuinman
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Re: Olive Woodpecker nesting habit

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:39 am

It is not an easy question to answer.

I think one can correlate this nesting behavior with some other hole nesting species. I take for instance my Black-collared Barbets in my garden. They excavated earlier this year, moved in briefly and then left again. A Crested Barbet took up residence for a while and now I've noticed that the Black-collared Barbets are back.

Woodpeckers can and do breed right throughout the year, except during the coldest months, so their "return in the next year" could be highly erratic and should not be compared to some of the breeding migrants to our region such as Wahlberg's Eagle and Striped Swallows for instance who would return to the same nest every season.

My personal experience with Olive Woodpeckers in the Wilderness National Park where I have recorded nesting sites of them reveal highly erratic appearances at the various nesting sites. Which pointed to them having a number of nesting sites in the area which they use randomly.

So I guess their return depends on 3 factors really. They may find or already have found some other suitable place to nest. This particular nest in your garden might be taken up by some other hole nesting species which will render it unavailable and then lastly, the availability of food and external interference in the area of the nest would also impact their usage of one specific nest.
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pnm
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 2:33 pm
Location: Paarl

Re: Olive Woodpecker nesting habit

Unread postby pnm » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:46 pm

Thanks for a very full answer, wildtuinman

I went to the nest this afternoon (it is on a farm very close to my house) but no woodpeckers to be seen. I have hopes they are still around as it was a very brief visit. I hope to see (and photograph) some fledglings sometime soon. I spoke to the farmer today and he had found the nest the same way I had - followed the hammering!

Pete
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