January 13, 2011

White-backed Woodpecker
foraging on bone marrow

White-backed Woodpecker, March 2007. Photo K. Schleicher

In 2007 Konrad Schleicher documented an unusual behaviour of White-backed Woodpecker, see his entry on Birding Mongolia. Now he published a note about it. Here’s the abstract:

Schleicher, K. 2010. Weißrückenspecht Dendrocopos leucotos nutzt Knochen als Nahrungsquelle. Vogelwelt 131: 213–215.

“White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotus foraging on bone marrow.

A previously undescribed kind of foraging has been documented for the White-backed Woodpecker in the Mongolian forest steppe. Pecking in bone fragments was observed at three occasions in the Central Mongolian village of Tsetserleg. The behaviour was documented by a series of photos. It can be interpreted as foraging on bones or components of bone fragments. This assumption is supported by traces of the White-backed Woodpecker’s bill found in the marrow of bones which had been pecked by the individuals observed. The repeated observation of this kind of foraging, as well as the targeted approaching of the bones and their intensive examination, leads to the assumption that it is a common behaviour. Thus, it may be concluded that one or several individuals of the White-backed Woodpecker have specialised on marrow or other components of bone fragments as food source.”

1 comment:

egor_13 said...

Interesting observation!

A time ago my colleagues saw Greater Spotted Woodpecker feeding on (sorry) a dead dog at winter.