Types of Woodpeckers
Flicker Woodpeckers (Colaptes)
Types of Birds
With the exception of Australia and the Polar regions birds of the Order Piciformes nest in trees world wide.
North American Piciformes presentations normally diverge, depending on whether one uses the Check-list of North American Birds from the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) or the American Birding Association (ABA) because of the formers inclusion of Central American and Mexican species in their list.
The AOU's extended listing range translates into a robust North American Piciformes population consisting of six families and seventy-seven different species.
Temperate climate Picaformes species, especially in North American, north of the Mexican border, get restricted to the woodpeckers, family Picidae. At year end 2011, the ABA listed twenty five Picidae species, including the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, in eight genera as having established some type of North American presence.
Temporarily placing the Ivory-billed woodpecker along with a couple of rare visitors into brackets, the North American breeding woodpecker population consists of approximately twenty-two species in five genera.
Four sapsucker species (Sphyrapicus) drill their wells in trees from coast to coast.
The Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber), top picture, the West Coast variant, spend their summers in higher elevation forests near rivers and streams. Some populations migrate down to the valleys during winters.
Tree sap created by sapsucker activity also attracts hummingbirds.
In some instances, excessive sapsucker drilling activity on any one tree to any group of trees might pose tree health problems. In those instances, some experts recommend wrapping burlap around the tree trunks.
North America's largest woodpecker, the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), lives year round in most of the continent's temperate forests. The red crest of feathers on a large black body makes it very easy to identify.
With a few exceptions, most North American woodpecker populations remain relatively healthy, although one can never understate the importance of a healthy forest ecosystem with a healthy forest bird population.
Perhaps the least healthy woodpecker population title belongs to the Southeast's Red-cockaded Woodpecker, classified as endangered since 1970. A variety of public and private organizations now actively manage their populations, with a goal of increasing and/or stabilizing them.
Once considered extinct, the 2006 reported sightings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas and Florida renewed interest in the bird. Lack of follow up sightings suggests a low probability that any birder will get to check it off their life list.
The links in the box point to pictures and descriptions covering woodpecker species in the remaining three genera, Melanerpes, Picoides and Colaptes.
The video highlights the most common Picoides species and North America's most common woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker.
© 2004-2011. Patricia A. Michaels