Learn about the amazing birds in the family Picidae. Their special adaptations make them excellent at excavating wood. 

October 29, 2020

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Learn about the amazing birds in the family Picidae—the woodpeckers. These charismatic birds have a suite of adaptations that make them excellent at the job of excavating wood. 

In this episode, we first summarize the key features of woodpeckers.

Then we’ll look at the evolution and modern-day diversity of the family.

We discuss many of the special adaptations of woodpeckers, which they use as they go about their day, foraging.

How woodpeckers breed and communicate and a bit about their conservation status round out the episode.

Links to Some Things Mentioned in this Episode

Research Citations

Photos of some birds mentioned

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). Photo by Daniel G. Haas.

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens). Photo by Megan.

Green-barred Woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros). Photo by Bernard Dupont.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major). Photo by Piotr Krzeslak.

Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus), the largest woodpecker species in the world. Photo by Jason Thompson.

This work by Ivan Phillipsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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