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Woodpeckers


Woodpeckers Photo

The smallest woodpecker is the Bar-breasted Piculet, at 7 g and 8 cm (3.2 inches). The largest woodpecker was the Imperial Woodpecker, at an average of 58 cm (23 inches) and probably over 600 g (1.3 lb). The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is (or was) slightly smaller at 50 cm (20 inches) and a weight of 500 g (1.1 lb). 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 (20 inches) and 450 g (1 lb). A number of species exhibit sexual dimorphism in size, bill length and weight. In the piculets it is often the females that are larger, amongst the woodpeckers that show sexual dimorphism it is usually the males that are larger.

Most species possess predominantly white, black and brown, green and red plumage, although many piculets show a certain amount of grey and olive green. In woodpeckers, many species exhibit patches of red and yellow on their heads and bellies, and these bright areas are important in signalling. The dark areas of plumage are often iridescent. Although the sexes of Picidae species tend to look alike, many woodpecker species have more prominent red or yellow head markings in males than in females.