Birds – The Woodpeckers

Birds – The Woodpeckers

The Woodpeckers

The Woodpeckers

In this article we will see: “The Woodpeckers”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Woodpeckers

Brief Background of: The Woodpeckers

The Picidae family includes the tropical woodpeckers, wrynecks, and true woodpeckers. The true woodpeckers are characterized by a strong, straight, and conical beak, a stocky silhouette, and short, robust legs. Equipped with long and sharp claws, their toes are arranged in pairs, two forward and two backward. The neck possesses a highly developed musculature, while the tail, adapted to the unique lifestyle of these birds, exhibits exceptional rigidity and strength.

Appearance and Behaviour

Their wings are short and rounded, and their flight, which is never undertaken over long distances, is typically undulating, with quick and brief wingbeats alternating with gliding. Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds. The giant of the group, the Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico, reaches a length of 56 cm, while Europe’s largest woodpecker, the Black Woodpecker, reaches 46 cm. Males and females display different plumages, with some species adorned in bright or variegated colors, while others have more modest attire. White, black, red, green, and yellow are dominant hues.

Food of: The Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers find and collect their food in trees, and sometimes on the ground for certain species. The numerous insects that live at the expense of the tree, as well as ants, constitute a significant part of their diet. All woodpeckers have a very long, extensible tongue covered in sticky saliva, sometimes equipped with small bristles and barbs to better capture prey. Additionally, depending on the species, a greater or lesser proportion of plant-based food, particularly seeds, is ingested, and some birds even drink sap.

Woodpeckers have a powerful voice, but their calls and laughter are brief and without nuances. They all engage in drumming, using their beaks to hammer on the bark with precise and rapid strikes. Bursting with energy, woodpeckers seem to constantly have the need to excavate.

Reproduction of: The Woodpeckers

They are solitary birds that remain territorial throughout the year, only venturing away in case of prolonged scarcity. Being inherently combative, woodpeckers have little tolerance for the presence of their counterparts: males and females completely ignore each other outside the breeding season. Woodpeckers excavate comfortable nest cavities in wood, which they use for nesting and as nocturnal shelters. Clutches consist of 2 to 8 shiny white eggs laid on a bed of wood chips.

The incubation and rearing of the chicks are of short duration and are carried out by both adults, although the male assumes a predominant share of the family duties. The young hatch naked and blind. Depending on the species, they are fed either individually, with prey held at the tip of the beak, or in groups and regurgitated. After leaving the nest, the young birds still depend on their parents for some time.


Of the 178 woodpecker species existing worldwide, 8 breed in Europe, where they are represented from the southern Iberian Peninsula to northern Scandinavia. The Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker are among the most well-known. The Three-toed Woodpecker and White-backed Woodpecker are the rarest and confined to the last remaining large wilderness forests.

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A final word

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