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Grey epaulettes on a female Great Spotted Woodpecker..... (1 Viewer)

KenM

Well-known member
This female GSW was one of my regular Great spot.visitors to my feeder up until a few days ago. Sadly over the course of her last day, she made repeated attempts to fly up to, but was obviously too weak to land, always falling short, then crashing into the shrubs below.

There she followed a short rest before her final last ditch attempt, then upon landing she would appear to doze off for perhaps c10 minutes at a time...clearly not long for this world!

What intrigues are the grey epaulettes!, a co-incidence, or a mark of the ageing process, perhaps most birds don't live long enough to show any ageing to any white feathering....stumped for an explanation?

Cheers
 

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  • P2370238.jpeg   Old fem.Great Spot.1.jpeg
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RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Hello Ken,
what you are seeing as "grey epaulletes" are in fact the grey bases to the white scapular feathers that are exposed for whichever reason.
Take a look at this: http://media.featherbase.info/images/images5/004318_full.jpg
(the white tipped feathers on the lower row, to the right of the centre, labeled "schulter")
There could be some missing feathers there (some scapulars), exposing the grey base of the feathers that would sit below.
Feathers frequently (or even normally on all species) have different colour and structure from the tip to the base.
 
Last edited:

KenM

Well-known member
Hello Ken,
what you are seeing as "grey epaulletes" are in fact the grey bases to the white scapular feathers that are exposed for whichever reason.
Take a look at this: http://media.featherbase.info/images/images5/004318_full.jpg
(the white tipped feathers on the lower row, to the right of the centre, labeled "schulter")
There could be some missing feathers there (some scapulars), exposing the grey base of the feathers that would sit below.
Feathers frequently (or even normally on all species) have different colour and structure from the tip to the base.

Thanks Rafael for the explanation, just thought it odd that the grey feathering on the white should be exposed symmetrically at the same time. A co-incidence that they should appear before it’s demise, no doubt linked to whatever it’s underlying problem was. :t:

Cheers
 

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