Woodpeckers range from highly antisocial solitary species that are aggressive toward other members of their species, to species that live in groups. There are over 180 species of woodpeckers.
With hard, pointed beaks, incredibly long tongues and thick, shock-absorbing skulls, woodpeckers are adapted for excavating cavities for nesting and roosting, territorial drumming, and hunting for insects and sap.
The woodpecker’s strong, pointed beak acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. It has a very long tongue, up to four inches in some species – with a glue-like substance on the tip for catching insects.
Their feet are adapted for tree climbing with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing to the rear with sharp pointed claws great for scaling up and down vertical surfaces.
Most woodpeckers feed on insects found in trees (such as beetles or Hemlock Borer larvae) and on the ground, vegetable matter, berries and tree sap. Woodpeckers peck on everything from trees, wooden shingles, cedar siding, metal, plastic materials and even light posts.
Due to their international dispersal, overall woodpecker population numbers are unknown. Woodpeckers can be found in wooded areas all over the world, except in Australia. Woodpeckers tap an estimated 8,000-12,000 times per day. Woodpeckers are considered “songbirds” and are protected by State and Federal laws. Many species are threatened or endangered due to loss of habitat or habitat fragmentation.