This is one of the first wildlife videos that have been filmed and sent in by readers, and in this case it shows two showy woodpeckers from South America. It’s a lovely video and comes from reader Pablo Flores, who writes:
I’m just back from a trip to southern Patagonia and caught [he means on camera] some species which you can’t see anywhere else.
This is probably the most showy.
It’s a couple of Magellanic Woodpeckers, [Campephilus magellanicus], first a male (head all red) looking for a grub, then a female (some red around the beak) getting fed. They are in the branches of a lenga beech (Nothofagus pumilio). The Nothofagus genus is interesting from the biogeographic POV: you can find it in southern South America and in Australasia, and there are fossils of it in Antarctica—a sure sign that it originated when all the southern continents were joined.
Some information on the species’ foraging from Wikipedia:
These woodpeckers commonly feed in pairs or small family groups and are very active in their food searching; they spend most of the daytime looking for prey. They generally use live trees, but also feed on dead substrates such as fallen or broken trees lying on the ground, although generally spend little time doing so. Once the snow disappears from the ground in spring, Magellanic Woodpeckers look for prey on humid lower tree trunks.
I don’t know a lot about birds, so perhaps readers who do can enlighten me about how many species have mated pairs who feed each other like these woodpeckers do.
And look at that thing hammer away! As far as I know, scientists don’t yet understand how woodpeckers can find grubs deep within a tree, but I think it would be relatively easy to suss out the cues.