Banded Woodpecker – advertising call and posture

posted in: birds, Vocalisation | 0

The Banded Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma miniaceum malaccense) has a ‘classical’ advertising call. This is often heard in wooded neighbourhoods (mine in the past) or locations with some secondary growth. I often hear these advertising calls in the early mornings or late evenings. The bird will climb up a tree and then with the beak pointed skyward utter a loud scream; rendered “kwier” (Wells 1999) (above). This is repeated, in my experience/from recordings, 12-16 seconds later. Often a number of these screams are made, 5-7 times is not uncommon. In between the calls the bird adopts a listening posture (above), similar to the call posture.

Occasionally there is an answering call, often faint. It is unsure if the male is trying to connect with the mate or establishing territorial space. The sonogram of these brief 0.4-0.5 second calls (above) is highly unusual and complex. Notice the layers (ignore the horizontal lines which are background noise) – they suggest that there are a number of levels/frequencies at which the bird is communicating. I slowed down the calls to listen and it sounded like the deep calls of a whale. Birds definitely hear differently from us and more may be communicated than just a “scream”.


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Semi-urban environment

Date: 13th February 2019

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld



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