- The woodpecker ranges in size from 7 - 17 in. in length with brightly
contrasting colorations, depending on the species.
- Most males have some red on the head with black and white marks.
- The bill of a woodpecker is long and chisel - like.
- They generally have a stiff pointed tail and short legs.
- Woodpeckers have zygodactyl (two toes pointing forward and two pointing
- They have a unique arrangement of tendons in the toes and distinctive
leg muscles that help them forage in trees.
- Woodpeckers have characteristic calls, but they also use a rhythmic
pecking sequence to make their presence known.
- Referred to as "drumming", it establishes their territories
and apparently attracts or signals mates.
- Drumming is generally done on resonant dead tree trunks, buildings,
homes, and utility poles.
- Woodpeckers take prey by drilling or prying loose bark off trees
and occasionally fallen logs.
- The holes it excavates to gather food can be very large and are usually
- Woodpecker diet consists mostly of wood-boring insects such as beetle
larvae, but it may also eat other insects, fruits, and seeds.
- The breeding season begins in mid-March, peaks in April, and extends
to late-May/early July.
- The male and female excavate a cavity in a dead tree approximately
4.5-24 m (15-80 feet) above the ground.
- The cavity is usually lined with wood chips.
- The female lays 3-5 (usually 4) eggs that both adults incubate for
- The male incubates at night and the female during the day.
- Both adults care for the young while they are in the nest.
- The young are altricial, or naked and blind at birth.