The Cuban Green Woodpecker has Royal Appeal

November 14, 2012
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Cuba has two endemic species of woodpecker, but the one you're most likely to see on International Expeditions’ people-to-people Cuba travel program has a rather royal look. The Cuban green woodpecker dons a crown of red feathers atop its head, and its eyes are striped with white. The rest of its body is cloaked in green feathers, with bright, vibrant yellow coloring underneath. It's smaller than most species of woodpecker, and has a shorter bill, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in its gorgeous coloring.

This bird is truly one of a kind — no other species in Cuba have green coloring on their underparts. It also has unique vocalizations, including a deep and rough sounding "jhoor jhhorr" and a high-pitched, staccato call that sounds something like "yeh-yeh-yeh." This second call typically means danger, as the Cuban green woodpecker uses it to warn others that predators are nearing their nest.

You may also hear the woodpecker tapping on the bark of trees as it forages for insects. Though not much is known about the bird's diet, some researchers have found that the Cuban green woodpecker dines on bugs that are quite large.