Tap, tap, tap! Who is that? It’s a woodpecker, the star of today’s blog at Light Future Art!
1. There are about 200 different species of woodpeckers found everywhere except for Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Madagascar, and polar regions. Most woodpeckers live in woodland areas, though some can be found in deserts or rocky areas.
2. Woodpeckers have bristly feathers surrounding their nostrils. This prevents the inhalation of wood dust while pecking.
3. Woodpeckers’ tongues are about twice the length of their beaks. They need such long tongues to reach inside of the holes they drill to eat the bugs inside. Their tongues are also either barbed or sticky to better collect the bugs.
4. But woodpeckers don’t just eat bugs. They also like to eat nuts and seeds. If you set out a feeder with seeds in it, and woodpeckers live in your area, there is a good chance you’ll see some eating from it. Some woodpeckers like to hoard acorns for the winter.
5. The largest woodpecker in the world is the great slaty woodpecker. They can get up to two feet long and weigh over a pound. The world’s smallest woodpecker is the bar-breasted piculet. They measure just three inches long and weigh less than half an ounce.
6. Woodpeckers use more than just their voice to make music. They also drum and tap on nearby objects to communicate with one another, such as to find food or mates, or even to just play.
7. Like parrots, woodpeckers are zygodactyl. This means that their feet are arranged with two toes facing forward and two facing backward, unlike most birds who have three forward and one backward. This allows them to have greater strength when standing on branches and helps them keep their balance.
8. Woodpeckers have a unique pattern of flying that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen it. They flap their wings three times and then glide, and then repeat until they get to their destination.
9. Being monogamous, both the male and female woodpecker help to build the nest (in a hole they’ve drilled in a tree) and raise the chicks. Incubation lasts less than two weeks. The chicks remain in the nest with their parents for about a month, at which time they are prepared to care for themselves.
10. Don’t worry, woodpeckers aren’t hurt at all by their pecking. They have strong muscles in their skulls which distribute the shock and so they don’t experience pain. A woodpecker is able to peck up to 20 times per second. They peck, on average, an average of 11,000 times per day.
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