Most people correctly think of woodpeckers as birds that hammer on trees looking for their next meal.
Researchers examining wookpecker behavior discovered that their skulls share many similarities with a football helmet. Specifically they are composed of a sponge like material that wraps around the brain and cushions it during the hammering.
Woodpeckers enjoy a diverse diet eating insects, fruit, nuts and other readily available food. Partly because of that fact, they can be common visitors to backyard feeders.
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Types of Woodpeckers
Types of Birds
Across species, dietary habits differ slightly. The Acorn Woodpecker, for example, is well known for gathering acorns and placing them in holes in trees for future use.
When necessary they supplement their diets with insects and fruits.
Flickers, on the other hand, adapted to ground dinners, and can often be spotted walking on the ground looking for ants and other insects.
The Red-breasted Sapsucker in the video at the bottom of the page consumes the sap from the wells it drills in trees.
Physically, most woodpecker species get characterized as sexually dichromatic, meaning the males and females look a bit different. Males typically display a red feather patch either on the back of the head and/or on the face.
Male woodpeckers often drum on neighborhood wood or metal objects during the mating season. Some people consider the territorial drumming a nuisance when the birds use a wall or roof of their home as the drum.
Homeowners with some patience need only wait a few weeks and the behavior stops. Alternatively, physically approaching the woodpecker, with the use of a ladder, open window or other device, and dislodging it from its perch whenever it lands on the house, could possibly train it to stay away from the house.
The "types of woodpeckers" link in the box points to further descriptive information covering North American woodpecker species according to genera. Please click or tap the green tabs in the box to view a handful of additional woodpecker pictures.
© 2003-2011 Patricia A. Michaels