This little golden chatterbox is endemic to Costa Rica and Panama. It is found in the southern Pacific slope from Carara down through the Osa Peninsula. Like most birds it is reliant on the remaining intact forests and begins to disappear where forests become fragmented. This is why large tracks of forest found on the Osa Peninsula and those of Friends of the Osa for example are so important to this species.
In the Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen) the female lacks the red on the head and she has a black stripe on her crown. The young resemble the same sex parent but much duller in color. Golden-napes specialize in foraging for wood-boring beetles and their larvae, but they are also expert flycatchers and enjoy fruit as well. Nests are bored out in large dead trunks and 3 to 4 eggs are layed. Young fledge after about one month and will stay with their parents the entire year until the next breeding season. Interestingly both the male and female will sleep in the nest during breeding and the whole family will sleep together in high holes the rest of the year. This is a bit reminiscent of Riverside Wren behavior. (You can find that here on the blog on as an archive post).
Listen to the Golden-naped Woodpecker:
This weeks photograph comes from Alan Dahl. You can see his photographic galleries at Focused on Nature. He has a wonderful commitment to conservation and allowing us to show off his photographs is one of the ways he has supported Friends of the Osa and our conservation efforts on the peninsula.
We also want to thank the Osa Recording Project which enables us to bring you these sounds. We will keep you posted on the progress of this tremendous undertaking and when the CD will be available. This particular bird was recorded by Luis Vargas along the road between the Osa Biodiversity Center at Cerro Osa and Puerto Jimenez. This individual Golden-nape was traveling with its family in a mixed flock which included Gray-headed Tanagers and Scarlet-rumped Caciques. The Osa Recording Project website should be up soon so keep an eye out. We will let you know.