Missouri Woodpeckers

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 4, 2010

are the largest of our resident woodpeckers. They are crow-sized.

  • They have a large red crest, black back and white underwing color.
  • Males have a red mustache that females lack.
  • They are most commonly seen flying across roads or pastures into an adjacent forest.
  • Their undulating flight pattern
  • distinguishes this species from crows.
  • Pileated woodpecker nests usually are located in bottomlands or ravines in large diameter trees.
  • They may take as long as 30 days to excavate a cavity.
  • The average territory size for one breeding pair in Missouri is 130 to 400 acres.
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
  • Hard-nosed facts

    • uncommon winter resident
    • 8.5 inches in length
    • eats tree sap and cambium, fruit, berries, insects and nuts
    • lives in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests
    • nests in cavities excavated in live birch, poplar and aspen; often near water
    • female and male incubate five to six eggs for 12 to 13 days
    • young fledge in 25 to 29 days
    • call is a "chur" or "quarr" given in series
    • drums are usually two to three rapid beats followed by a series of double and triple beats within 2 to 4 seconds

    Wood you care to know?

    • Sapsuckers have white rumps and white patches on their shoulders.
    • Males have a red throat that females lack.
    • These woodpeckers have an odd habit of drilling tiny holes in tree bark in neatly spaced rows, and then returning to them to feed on the sap that oozes out or on insects attracted to the sap.
    • They guard sap wells from other birds, squirrels and chipmunks by swooping and squawking at them.
    • Sapsucker sap wells provide a food source for migrating hummingbirds.
    • They drill wells and eat sap from 246 native tree species.
    • The young learn sapsucking by observing their parents once they leave the nest.
    • Male and female sapsuckers perform drumming duets to strengthen their courtship bond.

    Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)

    Extirpation means no longer living in a certain location or place. Extinction is forever. Extinct animals or plants no longer live anywhere. Until recently, the ivory-billed woodpecker was believed to be extinct. Although this sleek and secretive giant no longer graces the forested swamps of the southeastern U.S., a few individuals may have managed to hang on in the mountains of eastern Cuba.

    In the U.S., extensive logging of bottomland and virgin cypress forests during the late 1800s and early 1900s

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