Female Woodpecker is waiting for her mate in Bioland Farm in Batroun

The camera of professor Ghassan Ramadan Jaradi- Ornithologist and SPNL advisor spotted this female Woodpecker in Bioland Farm in Seghar Batroun District, North Lebanon.
This bird was freed by President Michel Aoun’s special assistant Mrs. Claudine Aoun Roukoz, during the launching of the roadmap for sustainable hunting in Lebanon last month.
Woodpecker is registred extinct in Lebanon in IUCN red list, and we hope that a nice male woodpecker will find this female and start a family next spring.
Most species of woodpeckers are sexually dichromatic — the plumage markings differ between males and females. Males can be distinguished from females by the presence of a malar stripe (“moustache”), or by a red patch on the crown or throat area.
Contrary to popular opinion, woodpeckers do not get headaches from banging on trees. They have thickened skulls and powerful neck muscles that enable them to deliver sharp blows without damaging their organs. Their stout, chisel-like bills allow them to bore into wood. The tongue of a woodpecker, often covered with barbs or sticky saliva, can be extended a considerable distance in order to dislodge ants and insect larvae from deep crevices in wood and bark. For storage, the tongue is curled around the back of the head between the skull and skin.
The tongue varies according to the woodpecker’s diet and mode of foraging. Woodpeckers that excavate deeply into timber, such as the Pileated, have shorter tongues with spear-like tips bearing backward-facing barbs.
Most songbirds have three forward-facing toes and one backward-facing toe. Most woodpeckers, however, have two toes facing forward and one facing back. This is known as a zygodactyl foot and allows woodpeckers to easily climb and grasp trees and other structures. Woodpeckers move up a tree by hopping and depend on their especially stiff tail feathers to serve as a prop. They work their way up a tree, peering and poking into every nook and cranny, and then either fly in an undulating fashion to a new area or glide down to a neighboring tree to begin their foraging anew.
In an interview with Greenarea.me Assad Serhal, the Director General of the society for the protection of nature in Lebanon (SPNL), spoke about the status of the Syrian woodpecker. Unfortunately, Syrian woodpecker is critically endangered in Lebanon due to illegal killing of birds.  In our field trips, we hardly see any or even hear their characteristic pecking, which could be heard as far as one kilometer. I found a flock of these birds near Kefraya and we assigned them a guard. Serhal said.
Citing a verse from Arabic which translates as (every pest has an enemy of its kind, even the steel is dominated by the file), all birds without exception even if they feed on grains or fruits as the main diet, in spring they breed, so the main ingredient in their diet is changed into proteins, for the eggs production and to feed the hatchlings, at the same time insects breed so there’s a balance in nature in a way that isn’t done in random, but the illegal hunting starts at the exact date of bird’s breeding, this kills the predator and the controller of these insects and their numbers, so, people resolve to use pesticides that are toxic to the birds and to people and the environment. And the uncontrollable usage of insecticides induces resistance in these pests so they’ll need not only more quantities but probably different forms or mixtures of insecticides and thus a high price by all to pay; it’s a vicious cycle, and hunting is the main culprit. In the case of this certain insect, many resident birds feed on many insects but the larvae of this insect borrow so deep into the trunk, that it needs certain species of birds with long beaks or tongues as is the special case with the Syrian woodpecker; this bird targets these insects, the pecking of this particular bird is heard from a distance, in its characteristic pecking, has many peculiarities, there’s a lot of force in the pecking and the sound and especially the echo it emits  and is a kind of probing tool that shows the bird the exact site of the hole the insect is found in, it may take a hole or several, via probing until it catches its prey; then comes the evolutionary long tongue which serves two main functions, if it doesn’t catch the insect by licking it out, this special tongue acts as a cushion and a shock absorber for the brain during pecking, when we make an anatomy of the brain, this tongue protects all the sides of the brain and way back to the neck from the pressure and force of the pecking. he added.
The Syrian woodpeckers are mainly insectivorous killing insects and bugs and their larvae, all of which make up about eighty percent or more of their diet. and the majority of the insects and bugs they eat (like the larvae of beetles, caterpillars, and ants) are found by pecking, prodding, and chiseling in the bark, cracks, crevices, and holes of dead or rotting wood.  When they have difficulty finding food in tree bark and dead wood, woodpeckers can be very beneficial for the farming community because they will eat a number of different insect pests found in farm fields and orchards, like apple borers, tent caterpillars, bark beetles, and corn earworms. They may eat some fruits and seeds as a variety and other necessary nutrients.
Amid these circumstances and for the purpose of raising awareness, SPNL is trying to perform an integrated system. Apart from the ongoing research and monitoring, we encourage citizens by marketing their products, we have more than 20 products including olive oil and wine and honey, and we put the image of a certain bird and a detailed profile about it to raise  awareness among the producers and the consumers, and thus maybe we can help stop the hunting of these birds and at the same time serve the local community.
Never think that any animal, bird, insect in nature is found in vain, there’s a certain balance and a divine order and will, or evolution if you believe in that; in nature, everything has a predator, when you remove it the balance is forfeited.  The unique diversity we have ensures that everything from animals, birds, insects and even plants are in order.

Geographic Range

Countries occurrence:
Native: Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Egypt; Georgia; Greece; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Jordan; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Palestinian; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Ukraine
Regionally extinct: Lebanon
Vagrant: Germany
Additional data:
♦ Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
♦ Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No ♦ Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) – km2: 8290000
♦ Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown ♦ Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
♦ Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
♦ Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
♦ Upper elevation limit (metres): 2700

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