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¡SOBRE México!: Student Opportunities for Biological Research in Mexico

¡SOBRE México!

Kenya's Woodpecker Reseach

Size of the Territories of the Golden-cheeked Woodpecker: Melenerpes crysogenes

Characteristics of the Species

  • Endemic of Mexico
  • Habitat tropical deciduous forest but can adapt to anthropogenic changes such as coconut farming and the construction of cities




  • There are male and female sexually dimorphic
  • Nest in Cavities
    • Nests of primary cavities - Excavate their cavities


  • Gps, range finder, symbols and definitions.
  • I marked the GPS point where I would play the call back.

  • I would then observe the birds behavior and movements and record them on the map.

  • I used a range finder to determine where exactly the bird.

  • After all the data was recorded I put all the GPS coordinates in Google Maps and used the range finder distances to place marks for the territories of individual woodpecker territories.

As seen on map, the symbols are used to represent the behaviors of the individual woodpeckers observed in their territories.
Questions and hypothesis: 
  • What is the size of the territory of the golden-cheeked woodpecker?
  • Is there any difference in the size of the woodpecker's territory between the forest and the palms?
  • The territories will be larger in the palms because there are more resources available that will increase the densities of the woodpecker.


  • Average size of territory
    • Forest = .52 ± .54 "SD" ha
    • The palms = .51 ± .51 SD has
    • 15 territories in the forest
    • 19 territories in the palms
  • Sampled area
    • Forest = 26 ha
    • Las Palmas = 15.43 ha
  • Number of territories per hectare
    • Forest = 1.73 / ha
    • The palms = 1.23 / ha
    • There are .5 more territories per hectare in the forest.

All maps have the same scale.

You can see that the area surveyed in the forest is larger than in the palm trees. 

There also are some smaller territories in the forests than in the palms.

Discussion: Size of territory

  • Woodpeckers are denser in the palms
    • Generalists
  • The size of the territory was the same
  • Other species of the same genus
    • M. uropygialis - Carpenter of Gila
    • M. formicivorus - Bellhop Woodpecker
    • M. radiolatus - Jamaican Carpenter

Discussion - Difference in the palms and the forest

  • Size is basically the same
    • Forest = .52 ± .54
    • Las Palmas = .51 ± .51
  • Again this species is opportunistic
  • Access in the forest

Discussion - territory / hectare

  • Forest = 1.73 territories / ha
  • Las Palmas = 1.23 territories / ha
  • Resources
    • More food
    • More cavities for nests

Further studies:

  • What conditions affect the difference in the size of the territory?
  • What are the different food resources in the forest and palms?
  • What are the different conditions of life in the forest compared to the palms? For example, nesting sites, climate, human interactions.
  • What are the different means of survival in the forest and the palms?


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