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Version 1.0

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Magellanic Woodpecker Campephilus magellanicus

M. L. Chazarreta and V. Ojeda
Version: 1.0 — Published March 28, 2011

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Several vocalizations are emitted by both sexes. Further information is needed to ascertain the function and role of these sounds. One frequent vocalizations is an explosive, nasal call (“tsie-yaa”or "pi-caa") given single or in a series (up to 7, sometimes more, XC52601). Another loud call, usually from pairs, is a gargling call, which normally is emitted in series: "prrr-prr-prrr" or "weeerr-weeeeerr" (XC969). This call probably serves to communicate movements between pairs. There is also a short toot call that is rather soft (XC34963). Birds also give a vocalization that sounds like a cackling, with descending sequence of notes ("cray-cra-cra-cra-cra-cra-cra", at 0:07 in XC50124), emitted while flying or landing on a tree, and also in the presence of potential predators. In the last situation, the cackling sounds nervous.

Individuals also give subtle notes, like whines, to keep in touch with members of the family or pairs when they are in close proximity. Juveniles have a distinct strong and sharp cry when begging for food in a foraging family group (Audio #164281). Three types of vocalizations can be heard in the following link: Audio #164282, which starts with juvenile begging calls, followed by a series of “tsie-yaa” (at 0:12), and ending with a series of “prrr” calls (at 0:17).

Nonvocal Sounds

The loud double drum “ta-dap!” sound is used for marking the territory and as a signal towards intruders, and sometimes also as a location note for members of a pair. Double knocks are a common and distinct drumming of Campephilus species. In Magellanic Woodpecker this signal is produced by usually double (and occasionally single) knocks against a tree, mainly on high dead branches (XC67467). At the beginning of the breeding season, breeding pairs frequently make double knocks as a way of marking their territory. Double knocks can be made throughout the day, by both sexes and also by juveniles and subadults, especially when an intruder enters a territory or when neighboring groups hear each other in close proximity.

In the nesting season or during nest cavity excavation, pair members can use a rhytmic tapping during releases at the hole. No recording of this sound has been published yet.

Foraging Magellanic Woodpeckers almost incessantly tap, hammer, and excavate throughout the day, and observers often first detect these birds by their foraging sounds. Double knock drums and foraging hammering can be heard in Audio #164279. Foraging hammering could be confused with that of the Striped Woodpecker (Picoides lignarius) but that species has a softer, faster, and more rhythmic tapping.

Recommended Citation

Chazarreta, M. L. and V. Ojeda (2011). Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.magwoo1.01