The evolution of terrestrial woodpeckers. American Museum novitates ; no. 2467

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New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"Woodpeckers are very specialized for arboreal life. Despite their specializations for climbing, nesting, and foraging in trees, more than 12 species forage regularly on the ground and three are essentially terrestrial. Terrestriality has evolved as a secondary feature, and aspects of terrestrial adaptation, as well as of possible preadaptive ancestral woodpecker features that have benefited ground woodpeckers, are discussed. The evolution of walking from hopping, the adoption of ground nesting, the trends toward brown color and dorsal barring, the reduced massiveness of the skull, the development of a curved, long, thin bill, and other morphological adaptations are also discussed. Behavioral adaptations include the evolution of voices that are louder and carry farther, 'flash' color patterns, greater sociality, reduction of sexual regonition markings, and other adaptations. Preadaptations include ant-eating habits, and the ability of the woodpeckers to excavate cavities for nesting. Ground-foraging but arboreally nesting woodpeckers are variously intermediate between arborally specialized woodpeckers and the fully terrestrial Geocolaptes olivaceus of Africa, and Colaptes rupicola and C. campestris of South America. The arboreal specializations of the ancestors of ground woodpeckers have benefited them in adapting to terrestrial life"--P. [1].
23 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 22-23).