: any of numerous birds (family Picidae) with zygodactyl feet, stiff spiny tail feathers used in climbing or resting on tree trunks, a usually extensible tongue, a very hard bill used to drill the bark or wood of trees for insect food or to excavate nesting cavities, and generally showy parti-colored plumage
Illustration of WOODPECKER
First Known Use of WOODPECKER
woodpecker noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any of about 180 species (family Picidae) of mostly nonmigratory, solitary birds found nearly worldwide. Woodpeckers spiral up tree trunks, probing for insects, and chisel nest holes in dead wood by means of rapidly repeating blows of the beak. Though they spend their entire life in trees, only the few ground-feeding species can perch. Some species eat fruits and berries or tree sap. Woodpeckers are usually silent, except in spring, when males call loudly and drum on hollow wood. Species range from 6 to 18 in. (15 to 46 cm) long. All have a straight, chisel-like bill, and most are patterned in black, white, or yellow and bright colours. See also flicker; ivory-billed woodpecker; sapsucker.
Learn More About WOODPECKER
Seen & Heard
What made you want to look up woodpecker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).