Woodpecker is a bird but, very different from other birds due to their behavior and unique survival techniques. They are marvels of mother nature. The colorful feathers, the triangular crest on its head, long tongue and tough sharp beak makes them one of a kind. Their common plumage is Black, White, Red and yellow but, they also can be seen in Orange, Green, Brown and Maroon coloration. Today we are going to discuss some of their unique characteristics.
1. Woodpecker belongs to the family of birds called Picidae. This family is divided into 3 sub families- Jynginae, Picinae and Picumninae. There are more than 35 genera and over 250 species of woodpeckers in these sub family.
2. As their name suggest they peck on hard tree surfaces, if a human do the same it will be very painful. But, woodpeckers have a special bone in their head known as Hyoid bone. This special bone wraps their skull inside the head and acts as a shock absorber. Their brilliant beak is also designed in such way that distributes the pecking knock evenly throughout their skull. These allow them to smash their beak on trees for several hours without having injury or headaches.
3. These birds are well capable of boring holes in live trees but, they prefer dead tress. As the inner wood of dead trees are soft and easier to excavate the cavity. Other reason is that, if the wood is soft than many kind of insects or larvae may crawl inside providing better food source.
4. Woodpeckers are diurnal creatures. So, they do all pecking at day time and sleep quietly at night. If you have woodpeckers as your relative than relax, you can sleep calmly at night.
5. They have Zygodactyl feet, which means they have 2 toes up front and 2 at the back of their feet. It allow them to climb and grip the tree firmly, whereas their short strong tail provide support to stay vertical giving them perfect posture for pecking.
6. They do peck approximately 12,000 time a day but, their main tool never get blunt. They have special regenerative cells at the end of their beak, which grows constantly if needed. So, they never loose the sharpness of their chisel like beak.
7. Male and female both share same responsibilities like building nest, finding food, incubate the eggs and raise their chicks.
8. They have super long tongues which are about double the length of their beak. It allow them to reach inside holes and feed on insects. Usually they have Bush like or sticky tongues that stay curled behind their head.
9. Male woodpeckers are very territorial. The size of their territory depends on the species and habitat area.
10. These birds are well adapted for their pecking behavior. Their nostrils are covered by feathers, which stop dust or small wood particle from entering their nose at time of pecking.
Also Read: Amazing Facts For Kids About Parrots
11. They are perfectionist. The Iowa woodpeckers make their nest entrance a perfect circle, while the Pileated woodpeckers make their nest hole as oval or oblong in shape. They also make new nest holes each year as the old ones are used by other birds.
12. In the animal world, these birds are the only species that make sound by something other than their body parts. They will drum on variety of objects to communicate, attract mate or may be even for exercise and play.
13. Around 32 species of woodpeckers are found in India, whereas the Brown capped pygmy woodpecker is only found in India, Sri-Lanka and Nepal.
14. The Imperial woodpecker is largest species but, now believe to be extinct. Where as the Ivory billed woodpecker is the rarest and believed to have gone extinct 50 years ago. But, fortunately spotted recently again.
15. All of them have same flying pattern. Three wing snaps and a short glide through the air, and then all over again. This fly mode repeats always and it’s followed by all the types of woodpeckers.
16. These birds are Monogamous, meaning they only mate with one partner for the rest of their lives. They live together and lay eggs which incubate in between 10-14 days. After one month from hatching the little woodpeckers leave their parents’ nest and start their life own.