Hybrid Woodpecker from Tinemaha Reservoir

Observers: Jon Dunn & Tom Heindel
Email: tjheindel@aol.com
Remote Name:
Date: 01/30/04
Time: 01:19 PM


On 30 January, Jon located a hybrid Ladder-backed X Nuttall's Woodpecker at Tinemaha Reservoir. The characteristics: 1) crown was extensive red and forecrown speckled black&white like a Ladder-backed, 2)buff nasal tuffs like a Ladder-back, 3)intermediate face: whiter above the eye and blacker below the eye, 4) buffy underparts like Ladder-backed with spots on sides of breast like Nuttall's, 5)upper mantle black like Nuttall's, 6)four solid outer tail bars like Ladder-backed, 7)vocalizations: call was more Ladder-backed but it did not have the husky quality expected from that species. It never gave the rolling PRRRT of the Nuttall's but it did give sharp, individual notes similar to a Downy. The song was a trill-like descending series that didn't have the quality of Ladder-backed Woodpecker. This illustrates the importance of looking at all the marks of any suspected Ladder-backed away from Joshua trees and known areas of occurrence. This bird had more Ladder-backed characteristics than Nuttall's and is probably a back-cross. Many reports of Ladder-backs from the Owens Valley are probably misidentified hybrids.