Scaled Piculet Picumnus squamulatus

Colombian name: Carpinterito Escamado

Male Scaled Piculet, Minca, Magdalena, Colombia, April 2012 - click for larger image Minca, Magdalena, Colombia
April 2012

The Scaled Piculet is distributed in northern Colombia and northern Venezuela. See the distribution map at NatureServe. Note that this map does not quite cover the area of Minca where this bird was photographed. It is found up to 1,900 metres at forest edge, woodland and secondary growth.

In the male of most of the sub-species the feathers of the forecrown are tipped red while the remaining crown is tipped white. The forecrown feathers on this male are obviously yellow suggesting that it may be the race P. s. lovejoyi. Most references indicate that lovejoyi is restricted to the extreme north-west of Venezuela. The sub-species reported for the Santa Marta mountains is normally P. s. rohli and the male is reported as having sometimes yellow or orange forecrown spots.

Male Scaled Piculet, Minca, Magdalena, Colombia, April 2012 - click for larger image However, the 4th Edition (2013) of Howard & Moore includes north-east Magdalena state, where these photos were taken, in the distribution area for P. s. lovejoyi. Furthermore, In 38 Bull. B. O. C. 2004 124(1),New and noteworthy records of birds from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region, north-eastern Colombia by Ralf Strewe & Cristobal Navarro there is a reference to Scaled Piculet as follows:
Male Scaled Piculet, Minca, Magdalena, Colombia, April 2012 - click for larger image SCALED PICULET Picumnus squamulatus
The species is known from the base of the Sierra de Perija in Venezuela, but is not recorded from the base of the same mountains in Colombia. An isolated record exists from the south end of the Santa Marta range (Hilty 2002, Hilty & Brown 1986). Within the study period the species was observed several times in shade- coffee plantations at 1 , 1 00 m at Vista Nieve, and once at a forest border at 900 m at El Congo on the western slope. Captures were made at El Recuerdo (800 m), with an adult male on 26 September 2002 (Fig. 2b), and from Alto de Mira, with a female in January 1995 (M. Alvarez in litt.). The captured adult male, and also adult males seen in the field, showed yellow forecrown spots. Males of the race roehli(sic), recorded from the southern slope of the Santa Marta range and north Venezuela, have red forecrown spots, sometimes yellow or orange. The race lovejoyi (extreme north- west Venezuela, department Zuila) is similar, but the forecrown spots of males are always yellow instead of red (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Following del Hoyo et al. (2002) the individuals from the northern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are of the lovejoyi type, as all males showed clear yellow forecrown spots and greyer upperparts, representing the first records of this subspecies in Colombia.

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