wood·​peck·​er | \ ˈwu̇d-ˌpe-kər How to pronounce woodpecker (audio) \

Definition of woodpecker

: 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

Illustration of woodpecker

Examples of woodpecker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Audubon recommends mixed seeds or black oil sunflower seeds for attracting chickadees and finches and hanging a suet feeder for woodpeckers. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Birds Stay Warm in the Winter, In Case You Were Wondering," 1 Feb. 2019 The study published in PLOS ONE is the first of its kind to look at the potential existence of neurotrauma in woodpeckers. Conor Dillon, USA TODAY, "How the brains of woodpeckers might help American football players," 6 Feb. 2018 There is no Wi-Fi or television at Tree Top, just the rustling of the birch trees and a cacophony of woodpeckers. Tiffany Thornton, USA TODAY, "Geodesic domes bring nature’s beauty indoors," 21 June 2018 Concealed within these forests are Tengalman’s owl, capercaillie and black woodpecker. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018 The distinguishing factor between woodpecker damage and sapsucker damage is in the placement of the holes. Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Will it fit a state-of-the-art TV? 8 tips for upgrading an outdated entertainment center," 19 Feb. 2018 Predators of all the little creepy crawlies that like to munch through leaves and flowers, woodpeckers are also excellent wood-boring insect control. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "How To Attract Woodpeckers To Your Yard (And Why You'd Want To)," 13 June 2017 Nearly 600 acres of rolling hills, sprawling grasslands, and riparian woodland are prime territory for spotting raptors, buntings, woodpeckers, and other birds. Shawnté Salabert, Los Angeles Magazine, "From Archery to Mountain Biking, There’s an L.A. Park for Every Outdoor Hobby," 7 June 2018 The boardwalk is a highlight of the visit, with birdsong near and far, the knocking of woodpeckers on nearby trees and the rustle of small woodland creatures amid the flora. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Explore Florida's Hendry County: Seminole history alive and well," 6 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'woodpecker.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of woodpecker

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about woodpecker

Statistics for woodpecker

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for woodpecker

The first known use of woodpecker was circa 1530

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for woodpecker



English Language Learners Definition of woodpecker

: a bird that has a very hard beak which it uses to make holes in trees to get insects for food


wood·​peck·​er | \ ˈwu̇d-ˌpe-kər How to pronounce woodpecker (audio) \

Kids Definition of woodpecker

: a bird that climbs trees and drills holes in them with its bill in search of insects

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on woodpecker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with woodpecker

Spanish Central: Translation of woodpecker

Nglish: Translation of woodpecker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about woodpecker

Comments on woodpecker

What made you want to look up woodpecker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!