During a break from the rain on the last day of 2011, we spotted this woodpecker hiding in the orange tree, pecking at the last of the oranges we couldn’t reach. He’s a common sight around Lower Dover, but he’s been elusive, using his speed to escape from our lens.
We quietly walked over to the orange tree to move into position, and as soon as we got close enough for a shot, he darted for the adjacent coconut tree. He scaled this tree using his legs, and it took no longer than a few seconds, but luckily we were able to fire off a few shots, and get some decent pictures.
The Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Melanerpes aurifrons, has a pale grayish buff face and underparts, all black central tail feathers, and fine white bars in otherwise black underparts. It’s distinguished between similar looking woodpeckers by its longer bill and tail. The populations in Belize have red, not golden, tuft at base of bill.
They can be found in the midlevels to the sub-canopy at the forests edge, and most open areas with trees. They frequent mango trees, and coconut palms, and is the common woodpecker around towns. It’s a common sight in Belize away from the forest, especially in the Cayes. This little bird travels quite a bit, and can be found all the way from Oklahoma in the United States all the way down to Nicaragua.
As with almost all the birds we identify here at Lower Dover, we used Birds of Belize by H. Lee Jones to identify this bird, and referenced it for its description.