Guyana's Woodpeckers

Guyana's Woodpeckers

Greg Butcher
Published: 10/06/2009

Girard is a tour leader from Europe who really loves woodpeckers. He has an iPod with bird calls on it--but only for woodpeckers. He has a target list of birds he'd like to see in Guyana--all the woodpeckers there. Like most of us, he likes everything about nature travel in Guyana, but he enjoys it all while looking for woodpeckers.

We got off to a great start in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. We went to the botanical gardens and saw one of the largest and one of the smallest woodpeckers in the country--the Crimson-crested Woodpecker and the White-bellied Piculet, respectively.

After leaving the capital, we flew to the interior forest, where we quickly picked up two medium-sized woodpeckers that are closely related to each other -- Waved Woodpecker and (oh, man I've seen so many new birds this week, I can't remember the name of the other species --where's that bird book again?)
 
Thanks to Girard's close attention, we soon picked up a couple of other medium-sized woodpeckers--Golden-collared Woodpecker in the forest and Golden-green Woodpecker en route from the savannah to the river.

Two of the largest woodpeckers we've seen--Crimson-crested and Red-necked--are closely related to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, while a third, Lineated, is closely related to our Pileated. It is great to see how common all three of these large woodpeckers remain in Guyana--a testament to the amount of good habitat still left in the country.

Girard's at 10 species so far and expects to see at least one new species every day of the trip. Toucans are closely related to woodpeckers, so we are encouraging him to pay more attention to the three big toucans in Guyana. He loves 'em, but they're not woodpeckers.

Woodcreepers are close--they aren't at all related, but they both climb up tree trunks. Guyana has a bunch of woodcreepers, and Girard is enjoying them as well, but what he really wants to see on the last day of our trip (me too!) is Blood-colored Woodpecker--we can't wait!