Sunday, February 13, 2011

Woodpecker Finch


Of the birds of the Galapagos Islands, the most amazing is the Woodpecker Finch.  Similar in color to the other Galapagos finches, this bird uses a tool to forage for its prey.  It breaks off long spines or twigs and digs out the grubs upon which it feeds.  Woodpeckers would be more efficient at capturing grubs.  However, woodpeckers never colonized the Galapagos.  Tool use was once thought to be a hallmark of the human species but is now also known from a number of different birds and some of our fellow primates.

I recommend The Beak of the Finch if you are interested in learning more about Darwin's Finches and evolutionary biology.

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