Bird watching: 10 types of Woodpeckers you should know about

Woodpeckers are made up of different species that belong to the Picidae family. They are distributed around almost the entire world and have a wide variety of shapes, colours and sizes. They get their name from the curious ability they have to “drill” the trunks of trees without having any repercussions.

About 233 different species have been described within the Picidae family, although not all of them are formally known as woodpeckers. Among them are also wrynecks, woodpeckers, sapsuckers and woodpeckers, which differ little from each other. Keep reading this space and get to know some of these organisms.

The members of the Picidae family are closely linked to arboreal areas and adapt according to the requirements of their habitat. This coupled with its large distribution has caused the existence of an enormous diversity of these birds. Listed below are 12 different types of woodpeckers.

White Woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus)

The White Woodpecker is a beautiful bird with a white head and belly, but a dark-coloured back, wings and tail. It is native to South America where it inhabits the grasslands of countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Peru. It has a size of 28 centimetres in length and is a very skilled aerial hunter.

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

This beautiful woodpecker is characterized by its red head, white belly and dark-coloured back. This pattern is similar to that of the famous Universal Studios animated character ” Woody Woodpecker “, also known as “Luquillo” or “crazy bird”.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

The acorn woodpecker lives in the oak forests of North and Central America. It has almost entirely black plumage, but with a red crest and a white belly. It is called an acorn tree because of its habit of collecting acorns and storing them in the trunks of trees. To do this, it makes several holes in the bark where it places each of these seeds.

Source: Flickr

Rainbow Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons)

The rainbow woodpecker is named in this way because of the beautiful colouration of its plumage. Part of its face and throat are yellow, while the nape and crest present deep red tones. On the other hand, its belly has a light pattern interspersed with red and gray feathers, but the back and wings are darker and have black colour. It measures just 19 centimetres in length.

Source: Flickr

Hispaniolan Woodpecker (Melanerpes striatus)

This species is endemic to the tropical forests of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which were previously called “Hispaniola Island”. It has beautiful dorsal plumage that alternates yellow and black stripes along its body. In addition, it maintains the typical red crest of the woodpeckers.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Green Woodpecker (Xiphidiopicus percussus)

The green woodpecker is the only species in its genus. It lives in the dry forests, pine forests, mangroves and wooded areas of Cuba. It is characterized by its beautiful green plumage but sports the typical red crest that is present in most different types of woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers Bird. Source: Flickr

Scarlet Woodpecker (Veniliornis callonotus)

Scarlet woodpeckers inhabit rainforests, dry forests, and some scrub in western Ecuador and northeastern Peru. Its name comes from the beautiful deep red dorsal plumage, which contrasts with gray tones on the belly and neck.

Woodpeckers Bird. Source: Flickr

Yellow-bellied Woodpecker (Veniliornis dignus)

This animal is one of the smallest types of woodpeckers that exist, measuring around 16 centimetres in length and weighing less than 40 grams. It inhabits the subtropical forests of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The name of the species derives from the yellow plumage on its belly. However, it also exhibits brown colours on its back and its typical red crest.

Woodpeckers Bird. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis)

The imperial woodpecker is considered the largest species in the Picidae family, measuring between 50 and 60 centimetres in length. Today, it is considered possibly extinct because it has not been seen for more than 60 years. Its distribution covered part of northern and central Mexico in pine and pine-oak forests. During 2011 the only existing videos of the species were found.

Woodpeckers Bird. Source; Wikimedia Commons

Lesser Woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus)

This woodpecker measures between 14 and 16 centimetres in length, which is why it is considered the smallest of its kind. It lives in forests, savannahs and mangroves in South America, although it also frequents the banks of rivers and clearings. The colouration of its plumage is inconspicuous and consists of olive-green tones throughout the body. Of course, it maintains the distinctive red crest of this group of animals.

Woodpeckers Bird. Source: Flickr

All types of woodpeckers are amazing and are a fundamental part of the ecosystem. However, problems such as deforestation, forest fires and pollution have caused several of them to be at risk of extinction. Despite being a diverse and resistant group, they will not withstand the environmental pressures produced by the hand of man for long.

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