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Birds of Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican Woodpecker

With its pitch-black body and bright orange-red throat and breast, the Puerto Rican woodpecker (Melanerpes portoricensis) is quite a familiar sight forests, mangroves, parks, gardens and coffee plantations on the main island of Puerto Rico. The characteristic rat-a-tat-tat sound of its beak on tree trunks announces its presence as it drills holes in search of prey, such as beetle larvae and ants. The Puerto Rican woodpecker is endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico and is the only member of the Picidae family of birds found on the island.

In addition to its distinctive coloring, a distinguishing feature of the Puerto Rican woodpecker is a white patch that runs from eye to eye across its head above its beak. Its flanks and lower body are beige-orange in color, its beak is black and its legs are beige-brown. The female is duller in color and smaller than the male and the male's beak is notably longer than the female's.

They are fairly sociable and can be seen in groups during nonbreeding season, but become territorial during courtship and mating. Male woodpeckers carve cavities in trees and other suitable structures, such as wooden telephone poles, and the female lays between one and six eggs which are incubated for about two weeks before hatching. Both parents care for the hatchlings, continuing to feed them for a few weeks after they leave the nest.

In addition to insects and their larvae, the Puerto Rican woodpecker eats fruit and may occasionally eat geckos and coquís – the island's iconic little frogs. It has been noted that other birds of Puerto Rico sometimes use old nesting cavities carved by Puerto Rican woodpeckers. These include the Puerto Rican flycatcher and the yellow-shouldered blackbird.

Be sure to keep an eye out, and an ear open, for the colorful Puerto Rican woodpecker when exploring the 'Enchanted Island' - Puerto Rico.

Features

Fun and Adventure at Carabalí Rainforest Park

Located in Luquillo, between the El Yunque National Forest and the Atlantic coastline, Carabalí Rainforest Park offers horseback riding, mountain biking, go-karting and ATV trails, all set in spectacular scenery. Horseback riding adventures take place along trails in the foothills of the renowned El Yunque National Forest where guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of one of the island's most popular attractions. The tour includes refreshments on the banks of the Mameyes Rivers, where riders can enjoy a swim in the river's crystal clear waters. Be sure to keep an eye out for Puerto Rico's much-loved mascot – the coquí.

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Features

Upgrades at Luis Muñoz International Airport

Named in honor of the first elected-governor of Puerto Rico, the Luis Muñoz International Airport near San Juan serves around 8.5 million passengers every year. More than a dozen airlines have hubs at the airport, while thirty-one airlines feature the airport on their regularly scheduled routes. This busy airport is currently undergoing major renovations to keep up with passenger demand, and to ensure that security measures are up to international standards. It was recently announced that two terminals are scheduled to open in 2015, featuring retail stores, restaurants and high-tech baggage scanners, and it is anticipated that Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines will move into the first renovated terminal by February.

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