Rufous Woodpecker chiseling a nesting cavity

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WoodpeckerRuf-chisel cavity [DaniMQuqeddeng]

Dani M Queddeng documented a Rufous Woodpecker (Micropternus brachyurus) vigorously chiseling a nesting cavity on the trunk of a tree at the Chinese Garden in Jurong.

Normally the male constructs the nesting cavity, pecking forcefully on the surface of the tree trunk. Pieces of wood are then torn off and discarded.

WoodpeckerRuf-chisel cavity [DaniMQuqeddeng] 1

Once a circular patch representing the entrance is formed, the woodpecker digs deeper to eventually form a tunnel down the trunk.

WoodpeckerRuf-chisel cavity [DaniMQuqeddeng] 2

Beakfuls of wood chips are then discarded from the nest entrance. A small pile of wood chips is left at the bottom of the cavity to line the nest.

WoodpeckerRuf-chisel cavity [DaniMQuqeddeng] 3

Once the nesting hole is to the satisfaction of the male it would be offered to the female. If she accepts, the pair will mate and the female will begin laying her eggs.

WoodpeckerRuf-chisel cavity [DaniMQuqeddeng] 4

Nest building may take two weeks if it is a live tree and the wood is soft. If the wood is hard, the woodpecker may take up to four weeks. Dead trees take shorter time as the wood is half rotten and soft.

Dani M Queddeng
Singapore
12th February 2017

Reference:
Short, L. L. & J. F. M. Horne, 2002. Family Capitonidae (Barbets). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 140-219.

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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