ivory-billed woodpecker

ivory-billed woodpecker


Ivory-billed woodpeckers (Campephilus principalis).—Kenneth W. Fink/Root Resources

Black-and-white woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) with a flaring crest (red on the male) and a long whitish bill. The largest North American woodpecker, it was thought to be extinct, though there were unconfirmed sightings of the bird in the southern United States in the late 1990s; a small population on Cuba was last seen in the late 1980s. In 2005, however, researchers announced that it had been sighted in eastern Arkansas. The species' decline coincided with the logging of virgin forest, where it subsisted on deadwood insects. A subspecies, the Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker, is also believed to be extinct. A related species, the imperial woodpecker of Mexico, is critically endangered. All these birds appear to have required large trees and isolation from disturbance.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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