The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) ranks among the world’s largest woodpecker species. In the north of Mexico, it is the largest of the woodpeckers. The bird is native to the woods of southeastern United States. Biologists are not clear the exact number of species remaining in the wild as many of them were hunted to near extinction in the past. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified ivory-billed woodpecker as a critically endangered bird.
Ivory Billed Woodpecker Facts
- In United States, it is the largest bird in the woodpecker’s family. Adult ivory-billed woodpeckers grow to a length of about 48 to 53 cm (19 to 21 in).
- The bird averages 450 to 570 g (0.99 to 1.26 lb) in weight with a wingspan measuring up to 76 cm (30 in).
- Woodpecker’s wing chord is 23.5–26.5 cm (9.3–10.4 in) long and the tail adds 14–17 cm (5.5–6.7 in) to its length.
- They have 5.8–7.3 cm (2.3–2.9 in) long bill and the tarsus measuring up to 4–4.6 cm (1.6–1.8 in).
- Ivory-billed woodpeckers have shiny blue-black plumage with some white markings on it. Unlike young, adults show strong and straight ivory-colored bill with a unique crest.
- They have got loud sounds that resemble trumpet. Woodpecker produces a voice like kent or hant and they continue in a repeated series.
The ivory-billed woodpeckers in the southern United States including east Texas, southern Illinois, Cuba, North Carolina, and Florida.
They make homes in a wide variety of woody habitats such as hardwood swamps, dead or decaying trees, primeval hardwood forests, and pine forests.
Feeding Ecology & Diet
- Ivory-billed woodpeckers are thought to rely on wood-boring beetles, fruits, insects, seeds, and larvae of other small insects.
- Like a typical woodpecker, ivory-billed woodpeckers hammer a tree with its powerful white bill and it really helps the bird to get to the insects hidden in dead trees. They must need an area of 25 sq. kilometers so that they could have food enough to feed the young.
- Ivory-billed woodpeckers often compete with the pileated woodpecker species.
- The ivory-billed woodpecker is likely to pair for life. They eat, sleep, and travel together.
- The mating season ranges from January to May.
- Both male and female contribute towards making a nest. They build nest in a dead or decaying tree and is usually 8 – 15 meters above the ground.
- The woodpecker’s nest is 12–14 cm tall with the width measuring up to 10 cm.
- The nest openings are rectangular in shape. A female lays 2 – 5 eggs.
- Both parents incubate the eggs and it lasts about 21 – 35 days. They feed chicks for many weeks before the young are able to fly. Young will fly in about 2 months. In the early winter or late fall the chicks will go independent of parents.
- The average lifespan of ivory-billed woodpeckers is about 30 years.