Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker applying plant sap to feathers

“On a recent birding trip to West Bali National Park, Indonesia, I came across yet another woodpecker which seems to be applying tree sap to its feathers.

“This female Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos macei) was interestingly tapping for sap from a dead tree.

“The Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense) was earlier sighted making use of the sap of the Tamalan Tree (Dalbergia oliveri) for the same purpose, see HERE.”

Lena Chow
19th June 2014

4 Responses

  1. Kim Mosabe

    I do not wish to offend sensitive people. My apologies if I have done so. I would like to ask this question: Is it possible for a very dead tree (as shown in the picture) to still produce sap?

  2. Kim Mosabe

    The pictured tree looks long dead, parts broken off, bark long gone, crown gone & round holes probably made by Carpenter bees (Xylocopia spp.). I can understand that a recently died tree will continue to produce sap but this one?

    • YC

      Some dead trees preserve their sap in the form of damar, etc. This may be one of those trees and the woodpecker may be pecking at the crystallised sap to line its feathers. I suppose the word “sap” here is used liberally and does not confine to what we normally term as the free flowing exudate.

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