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The wonderful world of woodpecker diversity

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Extreme climates and tree-devoid landscapes like the Sahara Desert and polar regions, don’t have any woodpeckers. Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands are also woodpecker-free. “These absences are likely due to limitations in their dispersal abilities,” ornithologist Kevin McGowan explains in the video above, meaning that most woodpeckers aren’t skilled at long-distance flight, ruling out island habitats.

But for the rest of the planet, woodpeckers are a familiar sight. There are over 230 species of woodpeckers worldwide, an excellent example of avian diversity.

red-headed woodpeckers
They come in a striking array of colors and patternsβ€”not just the red-crested sortβ€”and not all woodpeckers are industrious drummers. Some species may exhibit behaviors more focused on foraging for insects in bark crevices or on the ground rather than excavating holes.


From the Eurasian wryneck’s surprisingly long tongue to the bright yellows of Peru’s cream-colored woodpecker to sapsuckers, yellownapes, flamebacks, and flickers, each woodpecker species has unique features and behaviors.

Discover more about the wonderful world of woodpecker diversity in this Cornell Lab of Ornithology video.


Watch these videos next on TKSST:
β€’Β Seven woodpecker species in action
β€’ You’d Never Guess What an Acorn Woodpecker Eats
β€’Β A Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker Woodpecker takes a bath

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