Woodpecker is one of the most interesting types of birds. There are over 200 species of woodpeckers that can be found all around the globe except in Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar. Woodpeckers live in forests, backyards and various other types of habitat where trees are available. Several species of woodpeckers are endangered or already extinct due to habitat loss and increased urbanization. Also, chemical pollution and usage of aggressive pesticides negatively affects survival of woodpeckers in the wild because it induces destruction of the eggs.
Interesting Woodpecker Facts:
Size of woodpecker depends on the species. Largest woodpecker (great slaty woodpecker) can reach 20 inches in length. Smallest woodpeckers (the piculets) are usually 3 to 4 inches long.
Woodpeckers are usually red, white, black and yellow in color. Their plumage can also be combination of orange, green, brown and golden color.
Woodpeckers have very long tongue which is designed for capturing of prey that is hidden inside the trees. Certain species have barbed tongue.
Woodpeckers are omnivores. They eat insects, insect larvae and eggs, tree sap, seed, nuts…
Woodpeckers have chisel-like bill that is used for drilling of the trees when woodpecker searches for food or when it prepares nest during the mating season.
Woodpecker is able to peck 20 times per second. It produces between 10,000 and 12,000 pecks per day.
Although pecking of the trees looks like activity that may hurt woodpecker, bird does not feel the pain at all. Brain is prevented from trauma thanks to special air pockets in the scull.
Both males and females are able to drum the trees. Since woodpeckers do not have vocal cords, this activity also play important role in communication.
Feathers that look like bristles on the nostrils of woodpecker prevent inhalation of wood particles.
Woodpeckers have zygodactil feet. Their feet have 4 fingers, two facing forward and two backward. This arrangement ensures strong grip to the branches and provides stability.
Woodpeckers also have a pair of centrally located feathers that provide stability and keep them in the upright position while standing on the trees.
Woodpeckers have unique flying pattern: three wing flaps are followed with gliding. This pattern repeats all the time during the flight.
Woodpeckers build nesting holes in the trees all year round. Old holes often become home for other birds and mammals, such as starlings, chickadees, owls, and squirrels.
Woodpeckers are monogamous (one pair mate for a lifetime). Both male and female prepare nest in the tree. Female lays between 2 and 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts 11 to 14 days. One month after hatching, young woodpeckers are ready to leave the nest.
Depending on the species, woodpeckers can survive between 5 and 11 years in the wild.