Our Beautiful World
The woodpeckers, piculets, wrynecks, and sapsuckers are a family, Picidae, of near-passerine birds.
Members of this family are found worldwide, except for Australia and New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extreme
polar regions. Most species live in forests or woodland habitats, although a few species are known to live in treeless
areas such as rocky hillsides and deserts.
The Picidae are just one of the eight living families in the order Piciformes. Members of the order Piciformes,
such as the jacamars, puffbirds, barbets, toucans, and honeyguides, have traditionally been thought to be very closely
related to the woodpeckers, piculets, wrynecks, and sapsuckers.
There are about 200 species and about 30 genera in this family. Many species are threatened or endangered due to
loss of habitat or habitat fragmentation. Two species of woodpeckers, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the
Imperial Woodpecker, have been considered extinct for about 30 years.
Bar-breasted Piculet, Picumnus aurifrons (ssp wallacii), 2006
Locality Careiro da Varzea, Amazonas State, Brazil
© Nick Athanas, http://ibc.lynxeds.com/photo/bar-breasted-piculet-picumnus-aurifrons/male-branch
The smallest woodpecker is the Bar-breasted Piculet, at 7 g and 8 cm. Picture above
The largest woodpecker was the Imperial Woodpecker, at an average of 58 cm and probably over 600 g.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is (or was) slightly smaller at 50 cm and a weight of 500 g.
If both the Ivory-billed and Imperial Woodpeckers are indeed extinct, the largest extant woodpecker is the
Great Slaty Woodpecker of Southeast Asia, at about 50 cm and 450 g .
Imperial woodpecker, Campephilus imperialis, 2003
male and female from Mexico, Museum Wiesbaden,
Photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kaiserspecht_fg02.jpg