Bird Families

Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)


Dyatlovye, or woodpeckers (lat. Picidae ) Is a family of birds of the order of woodpeckers, which includes about 30 genera and more than 220 different species. Almost all species are sedentary or nomadic. They fly reluctantly and, as a rule, for short distances. They usually live alone.

1.1. Description

Small and medium-sized birds 8-50 cm long and weighing 7-450 g. The smallest representative of the family is the golden-fronted woodpecker (Picumnus aurifrons) from South America, its length is only 8 cm, and its weight is 7 g. The largest living bird of the woodpecker family is the great Mueller woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) from Southeast Asia, its length is about 50 cm, and its weight is more than 450 g. Until recently, larger species were also known - the American royal woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) (58 cm, over 600 g) and white-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) (50 cm, about 500 g), but at the moment they may have become extinct (their status is currently not confirmed).

Woodpeckers live mainly in forests, trees, therefore woodpeckers' legs are short, with long toes and sharp claws. Two toes point forward and two backward. In most species, with the exception of woodpeckers (subfamily Picumninae) well-developed tail feathers serve as a support for climbing trees. Woodpeckers have a thin, strong beak, with the help of which they hammer bark and wood in search of food or when making a nest, with the exception of pinwheels, whose weak beak does not allow chiselling wood. With the help of a long and often rough tongue, located in a special cavity of the skull and passing through the nostril, woodpeckers can extract insects from passages in wood. Woodpeckers often feed on ants in anthills, termites, tree seeds (usually in winter), and berries.

2. Dissemination

Distributed almost everywhere, but absent in the circumpolar regions, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Madagascar and some oceanic islands. On the territory of the Russian Federation, 14 species of the family are found, the most common are the great variegated, lesser variegated, green, gray-haired, three-toed woodpeckers, yellow and worm-necks.

Most often, woodpeckers are tied to wooded areas, where they live in trees and feed on woody insects. In addition, high relative air humidity, frequent precipitation and the presence of stagnant or running water near reservoirs contribute to the biodiversity and abundance of these birds. In humid and damp climates, trees are more susceptible to fungal infection and rotting than create the necessary conditions for the existence of insects that woodpeckers feed on, and make it easier for birds to chisel the wood in which they make their nests. Mainly on the ground, green woodpeckers feed, which feed on ants and termites, as well as some species that have adapted to life in the desert, such as the Andean awl-billed woodpecker (Colaptes rupicola) from South America or the South African ground woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus).

3. Reproduction

All representatives of the family nest in hollows, and most of the species hammer them on their own. The exception is the twist-necks, which themselves do not hollow out the hollow, although they are able to expand and deepen what already exists. Usually, it takes no more than two weeks to build one hollow, although the cockade woodpecker (Picoides borealis), which lives in the southeastern United States, it can take several years. There is one female per male. In the clutch of woodpeckers - usually 3-7 white shiny eggs, rarely more. The incubation period is 10-12 days, both parents are involved in incubation. Chicks hatch naked and helpless.

4. Classification

Subfamilies and genera:

  • Subfamily Picinae
    • Melanerped woodpeckers ( Melanerpes )
    • Woodpeckers-suckers ( Sphyrapicus )
    • Cuban green woodpeckers ( Xiphidiopicus )
    • Bush woodpeckers ( Dendropicos )
    • Woodpeckers ( Dendrocopos )

    5. Interesting facts

    • One of the 2006 Schnobel Prizes in Ornithology was awarded to a California researcher for his work "Why Doesn't a Woodpecker Have a Headache?" The scientist found that the woodpecker has a highly developed shock absorber that protects it from headaches.

    Notes (edit)

    1. wikinews: ru: Anti-Beliefs 2006 -


    • H. Winkler, D. A. Christie, D. Nurnie "Woodpeckers: A Guide to the Woodpeckers of the World" Boston. Houghton Mifflin 1995 ISBN 978-0-395-72043-1
    This abstract is based on an article from the Russian Wikipedia. Synchronization completed 07/09/11 18:56:27
    Similar abstracts: Woodpecker parrots, Woodpecker parrots, Woodpecker dart frogs.