Saturday, 11 December 2010

Pileated woodpecker

Dryocopus pileatus

(Photo from Carkeek Wetland)

Common name:
pileated woodpecker (en); pica-pau-grande (pt); grand pic (fr); picamaderos norteamericano (es); helmspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This North American species is found throughout the eastern United States, all across Canada and down the Pacific coast to California.

This very large woodpecker is 40-49 cm long and have a wingspan of 66-75 cm. They weigh 250-350 g.

They are only found in forested areas, in both deciduous and coniferous forests as long as they have large trees.

Pileated woodpeckers are mostly insectivorous, hunting carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae from under the tree bark. They may also eat fruits and nuts.

These birds usually pair for life. In April the male makes a hole in a tree, most often in a dead tree. There, the female lays 1-6 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 15-16 days. The chicks take a month to fledge.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The pileated woodpecker has a very large breeding range and a population estimated at 930.000 individuals. The population has undergone a significant increase over the last 40 years so the species is not considered threatened at present.

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