Acorn woodpecker

Woodpecker battle royale sees teams of birds fight for nearly a week

An acorn woodpecker

Sahas Barve

When acorn woodpeckers spot a potential new home, they join forces with their brothers and sisters for a battle royale. Up to a dozen teams of two or three woodpeckers fight to claim the spot for up to 10 hours per day for almost a week, with spectator birds flying in from kilometres away.

Sahas Barve at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and his colleagues studied the movements of acorn woodpeckers in the Hastings Natural History Reservation in California.

They tracked the movements of birds using solar-powered radio tags during …

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