A weasel did take a ride on a woodpecker

18 March 2021
What was claimed

A photograph shows a weasel on the back of a woodpecker in flight.

Our verdict

This image appears to be real.

An image of what appears to be a weasel on the back of a flying woodpecker has resurfaced on Facebook, prompting some users to ask again if the image is real. 

The picture first appeared in 2015, and was covered in the national media. Amateur photographer, Martin Le-May, said at the time that he took the picture in Hornchurch Country Park in east London in March 2015. 

While it is difficult to be completely certain, the event was deemed possible by animal experts. A digital forensics and image analysis researcher also reviewed the photograph and found no evidence that it was not real.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because this image was investigated in 2015 and widely felt to be true based on the photographer’s account, image analysis, and animal expert opinion.

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