Woodpeckers feeding on a Oil Palm Fruit

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Female Common Goldenback pecking at the fruit of the Oil Palm

Woodpeckers feed on ants, larvae, worms and other small insects. They will peck into dead wood and tree branches and use their long tongue to dig out the eggs or larvae inside.

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Female Laced Woodpecker digging in at the same tree. 

This morning 22nd March 2015, during a Annual Bird Census at Kent Ridge Park with Woo Lai Choo, we came across a female Laced Woodpecker, Picus vittatus,  at an oil palm tree Elaeis guineensis by the side of the pond. Two Plantain Squirrels were already there nibbling on the fruits. The Laced Woodpecker started pecking on the fruit in an upright position. It was doing this for about few minutes before another female woodpecker the Common Goldenback Dinopium javanense joined in.  In the video you can see it pecking to break up the fruit into pulp and then pressed the pulp of the fruit between its beak to get the juice out of the pulp. There is no sign of it actually eating the pulp. Could it be that it is the juice or oil of the fruit is what they are after. A food supplement perhaps. The juice or oil had to be palatable and nutritious to them. Long-tailed Parakeets have also been seen doing the same, chewing the pulp of the oil palm fruit at the Botanic Gardens in front of cafe. Video: https://youtu.be/7AtLJRKqhGQ

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