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Olive woodpecker

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Olive woodpeckers (Dendropicos griseocephalus) inhabit area of evergreen forest, forest edges and adjacent non-forest woodland. They are usually found in pairs, with partners foraging some distance from their partner. Usually they are the only woodpecker in their preferred habitat range. Pairs remain together all year round, roosting at night together in a tree hole. Their presence is given away by their territorial and contact call.

Distribution: Caprivi area around Katima Mulilo.

Diet: Olive woodpeckers forage high up on branches and stems of trees and vines, by hopping along the branches, only stopping to tap, probe and peck, before flying to another site further up to repeat the action. Wood-boring beetles, moths and insects are extracted from the cracks amongst moss and lichen and beneath loose bark, using their barbed tongue.

Description: The scientific name for the Olive woodpecker (Dendropicos griseocephalus) means grey headed woodpecker. They have dark red-brown eyes, greyish black legs and feet and a greyish black bill with a long tongue with a barbed tip.

Breeding: Nests are made in trunk or stem of softwood tree, pecked by both male and female. Between 2 or 3 eggs are laid between August and November with an incubation period of 15 or 16 days. Hatchlings are fed by both parents and the nestling period is 24 to 26 days.

Size: 20cm. Weight: 50g.

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