White on the Back of the Flying Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker has an entirely black back (below right). Ivory-billed Woodpecker has white on the back, consisting of two broad white stripes converging from the sides of the neck, coming together as a ‘V’ on the back (below left). This white on the back would be visible on a bird flying away from the viewer if the bird was at an angle such that any part of the back could be seen.

           

                                                                                                   

                    Ivory-billed Woodpecker,
                    N. John Schmitt,
                    ©Cornell Lab of Ornithology
     Pileated Woodpecker,
     N. John Schmitt,
     ©Cornell Lab of Ornithology

As soon as the woodpecker in the Luneau video banks upward and can be viewed from straight behind, an area of white is clearly visible between the wings in a series of consecutive frames. As this video sequence ends (below) note that the nearly closed wings and back come together as a “blob of white.” A Pileated Woodpecker in this same position would be all black (see video clips of Pileated Woodpecker presented earlier, especially clip 11). Note that white on the back is also visible at other points in the Luneau video (e.g. video clip beginning with Field 250, shown earlier.)

Click on the image below to launch the video sequence. You can scroll manually through this clip by moving the round button at the bottom of the QuickTime movie frame with your mouse, or by using the left-arrow and right-arrow keys on your keyboard. 

 

 

 

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