Female Downy Woodpecker
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Today I’m featuring an image of another woodpecker that inhabits the mountaintops near Tucson.
This is a female Downy Woodpecker.
She is a member of a common woodpecker species, one that can be found throughout the United States. This species is the smallest of all North American woodpeckers. Downy Woodpeckers are forest dwellers. The habitat atop Mt. Lemmon, where I photographed this bird, is perfect for the species: mature oak and pine forest. The desert below, is inhospitable for this bird and one never finds it there.
She is another example of how elevation determines habitat in southern Arizona and how dramatically things can change as one drives up or down this states’ mountains. She also is an example of the incredible diversity of species that one can find around here — desert dwellers, forest dwellers, even riparian species — one just has to take a short drive to experience a total change in ecosystems and flora and fauna.
Notice the tiny beak on this bird. It is a defining characteristic for this species. Downy Woodpeckers closely resemble another species, the Hairy Woodpecker. The two species have virtually identical plumage, but Hairy Woodpeckers are considerably larger than are Downy Woodpeckers and have beaks that are proportionately much bigger in relationship to their bodies than are the Downy Woodpeckers’ beaks. Tomorrow, I’ll post an image of a young Hairy Woodpecker, a bird that I also found at the summit of Mt. Lemmon.
Image made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 1000, f5.6 @ 1/1000.