Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
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In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Scarlet-backed Woodpecker (Veniliornis callonotus)


Scarlet-backed Woodpecker
(Artwork - 129)
Scarlet-backed Woodpecker (Veniliornis callonotus)

One of the memorable days of my life was May 5, 1969, when, during a brief visit to Guayaquil, Ecuador, my mother and I went birding outside the city of Guayaquil, in southern Ecuador, along the broad Guayas River. Among many species seen for the first (and often only) time in my life was this charming little bird. It was, as of that time, the smallest woodpecker I had ever seen, the same size as our native White-breasted Nuthatch. I vowed to someday do a painting of it, but never did, until now.

The species is found only along the Pacific drainage region of equatorial South America, from southern Ecuador to the north, south deep into Peru. It is relatively little-studied in the field.

Birds in the northern end of the range, like the ones I've painted, have clear white underparts (or at most, a tiny bit of faint barring) and brownish ear-coverts ("cheeks"), and are placed in the nominate race. To the south they are distinctly different, having faint barring on the underparts, and a black streak extending back from the through the lower ear coverts area, tailing off to the rear. Those birds are put in a different subspecies, V. c. major.

The male has a red cap, although the black bases of the feathers can impart a vaguely mottled or scaled look. The female has a jet-black cap. I've shown the female above, the male below.

This is perhaps the most distinctively coloured of a large genus (about 13 species) of neotropical woodpeckers widely distributed through South America. Most are olive-greenish brown, some with golden-green suffusions, with red about the head or back and many with heavy barring on the breast.

The life-sized painting is done in acrylics on Russian birch panel mounted on a basswood frame, measuring 12 by 6 inches.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
See his website: http://barrykentmackay.ca/

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