Bird Families

Species of woodpeckers - structural features, characteristics and examples of birds with names


Woodpeckers feed on insects that are harvested from wood. This is facilitated by some structural features of the body:

  • Woodpecker beaks are chisel-shaped, which makes it more effective when hitting wood.
  • The bird's nostrils are protected by densely spaced villi, which prevents dust and small particles from chipping wood from entering the respiratory tract.
  • The bird's tongue is long, flexible, bifurcated at the end. This feature helps the woodpecker pull insects out of the bark.
  • The skull bones of woodpeckers have a porous, spongy structure. This structure protects the bird's brain from concussion as a result of numerous blows to the tree.

The paws and tail of woodpeckers perform a supporting function and are well adapted for this: paws, as a rule, are four-toed, with two toes facing forward and two backward. The only exception to this rule is the three-toed woodpecker. The plumage of woodpeckers is smooth. Closer to the tail, it becomes rigid, which allows the bird to lean on the tail while sitting on a tree.

Woodpeckers have very pronounced sexual dimorphism., which is expressed, as a rule, in the brighter plumage of males.

Black woodpecker

In another way, this bird is called yellow. Its range is limited to the Eurasian forests. It is rather large, reaching a length of 49 centimeters and weighing 450 g. The wingspan ranges from 64 to 80 centimeters.

Adult males have shiny black plumage. The top of the head is colored bright red, resembling a cap (sometimes referred to as red-headed). Females differ in the smaller size of the cap, expressed only on the back of the head. Young individuals look about the same as adults, differing only in a lesser severity of the spot on the head or its complete absence. The voice of this bird can be heard throughout the year.

The black woodpecker chooses for habitation as small islands of the forest, so it can settle in continuous taiga massifs. It can often be found in felled or burnt-out areas of the forest. The black woodpecker's diet is not limited to insects harvested from wood. He can eat, in addition to beetles and ants, also fruits, berries and seeds of coniferous trees. The black woodpecker is a monogamous bird. The fertile period begins at the end of the first year of life. Pairs are formed for one season. However, couples inhabiting the same forest area often reunite the next year.

Green woodpecker

The length of the green woodpecker reaches 33-36 cm, and the wingspan is 44 cm. The plumage of the upper part of the body has a greenish-olive color, and the lower half is light. In the parietal region, there is a small cap of bright red feathers.

The habitat of this bird is the forest areas of the Volga region and the Caucasus. The green woodpecker is characterized by a sedentary lifestyle. He does not fly away for the winter like migratory birds.

Its diet includes mainly terrestrial insects, in particular, ants and other invertebrates. He is also able to catch small reptiles. Information about the green woodpecker is available in the Red Book some constituent entities of the Russian Federation: his photo and description are presented in it in full.

Sexual dimorphism in these birds is poorly expressed, the main difference between males and females is the color of the whiskers.

Currently, a separate subspecies of the green woodpecker is distinguished - the crested green woodpecker, which lives in northwestern Morocco in Tunisia.

Great spotted woodpecker

This bird is 25 centimeters long and weighs about 100 grams. Such woodpeckers are common in Europe, Africa and Asia. Basically they are sedentary, and only for the northern species nomadic migrations in the neighboring region are characteristic.

An important role in the stability of the forest ecosystem lies in the fact that smaller species of birds, such as flycatchers or tits, settle in the hollows hollowed out by these forest "doctors". In addition, the benefits of the great spotted woodpecker for the surrounding world and in the fight against insects harmful to the forest are undoubted.

Animal feed makes up the bulk of the diet of these birds in the summer. They hibernate by switching to plant foods. During the cold season, their diet includes:

  • seeds of coniferous trees,
  • berries,
  • nuts.

An elegant motley look of this species of woodpeckers is given by the combination of bright red tones of the undertail with black and white coloration of the main plumage. The male has a wide red stripe at the back of the head.

Despite the fact that woodpeckers of this species fly well and quickly, they prefer to move, climbing up and down the tree trunk. Occasionally they rise into the air to fly to a nearby tree.


It lives in deciduous and mixed forests of southern and temperate regions of Europe.

Its body length reaches 22 cm, and its weight is 85 grams. By its variegated color, it resembles a great spotted woodpecker, but its head shape is rounded, and its nose is thinner and shorter. The beak is not well suited for chiselling the bark.

This bird prefers to collect food from the bark of trees.rather than extract from under the bark. In summer, it feeds on insects: ants, worms, eats a huge number of caterpillars. In winter, it turns into berries and seeds of various plants. It settles mainly in old forest areas, where there are a lot of dead wood, diseased and dead trees.

The bird spends most of the time in the crown of trees, its lifestyle is mobile, flying from branch to branch. In search of food, it examines trunks, branches and even the surface of leaves. He knocks a little, voice signals are of paramount importance.

The average spotted woodpecker forms a pair in spring - from mid-April to early May.

Hollow construction can take from 10 to 20 days. It is usually located in the trunk of a decayed deciduous tree with soft and sometimes completely rotten wood. The usual height at which these birds build a house is 2-3 meters from the ground, the depth of the hollow can be more than 30 centimeters.

In a clutch there are 5-6 white eggs measuring 25 by 18 mm. Both the male and the female take part in incubation, and it lasts about two weeks. Woodpeckers also feed their offspring together. After 20-26 days, the chicks grow up and stand on the wing. For another 10 days, the parents feed the grown chicks, which are kept together for the time being.

Gray-haired woodpecker

In size, this amazing bird surpasses many of its fellow woodpeckers. It has a silvery-gray color, and the back is decorated with rich greenish-yellow strokes. There is a bright orange mark on the head of the males, and a black line under the beak.

The habitat of the gray-headed woodpecker is the forests of the Pacific region and Central Europe. These birds feed on larvae and pupae of butterflies. However, other small insects can also become their food. The mating season for gray-headed woodpeckers begins in the spring. During this period, the knocking of the male becomes the most intricate, beak blows on the tree merge into whole chains of compositions. In addition to the expressive knock, you can hear the piercing cry of a bird, very vaguely reminiscent of the cry of a child.

Lesser spotted woodpecker

This forest bird the size of a sparrow weighs only 25 g and has a rather peculiar color of plumage: transverse stripes on the wings and lateral tail feathers, black cheeks and lower back and white lower half of the body, which is why it was named variegated. The upper part of the head is red in males and black in females.

The scream of this little forest dweller is loud, vaguely reminiscent of a chuckle or an "and" sound. It is a relatively rare species of woodpecker that is usually sedentary. Although sometimes they roam.They prefer mainly willow, alder or aspen forests and copses. Occasionally found in mixed wet forests. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker begins construction of the hollow at the end of April. The tapping produces soft, short, quick beats reminiscent of frequent drum rolls. This bird equips its dwelling in the trunk after the tree dies.

The basis of the diet of this bird is made up of beetle larvae, weevils, ants, aphids.

Pepper, or toucan

This is an unusual species of tropical bird belonging to the order of woodpeckers. It is most widely known as a toucan. This exotic bird is widespread in South and Central America, it also lives in Mexico.

The bird is medium in size, brightly colored. Has a disproportionately large, sawtooth-toothed beak. The female is somewhat smaller than the male.

Toucans feed on small birds and fruits of trees. They nest in hollows and are extremely clumsy on the ground.