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Wrynecks Woodpeckers and Piculets: Picidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Northern Wryneck (jynx Torquilla): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, WRYNECKS WOODPECKERS AND PICULETS AND PEOPLE

NORTHERN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
GRAY WOODPECKER (Dendropicos goertae): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Picoides borealis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER (Campephilus principalis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Picids are found around the world except Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Madagascar, Ireland, many oceanic islands, and polar regions. Wrynecks are found only in Eurasia and Africa. Piculets are located only in Asia, South and Central America, and Hispaniola.


Picids are found in any environment that contains woody vegetation, preferring forests, woodlands, and savannas (flat grasslands). Some species are located in grasslands and deserts. Picids need high relative humidity, frequent precipitation, and the presence of standing or running water to make moist wood so that it will decay in order to help the birds more easily dig into the wood.


Their diet is mostly insects and other arthropods (invertebrate animals with jointed limbs). It also includes fruits, nuts, and tree sap. A chisel-like bill of many species helps to find wood-boring beetle larvae (LAR-vee; active immature insects), ants, and termites, along with sap stored inside trees. Its long worm-shaped tongue has a barbed tip that, together with sticky saliva, is used to catch prey.


The bright red feathers of many male woodpeckers are important to the culture of natives. Various species have been hunted for their scalps, bills, tongues, and skins. Several species have been eaten by local cultures. Woodpeckers help to control pest insect populations. However, woodpeckers are also blamed for damage to buildings and agricultural crops.


Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds