The woodpecker is a type of bird in the family Picidae, and most notable for its method of finding food by pecking into wood with its sharp beak to find insects and other small creatures. As of 2015, there are more than 180 known species of woodpeckers across the globe.
Woodpecker sizes vary among species. Among the smallest species is the North American downy woodpecker, which is a mere 6 or 7 inches in length. The ivory-billed woodpecker is 19 to 21 inches long, with a weight of up to 1.25 pounds. Woodpeckers can live from 4 to11 years, depending on the species.
Woodpeckers prefer forests or other environments with lots of trees, and they live in forests in almost every region of the world except Australia, Madagascar or New Zealand. Once a woodpecker drills into a piece of wood, it uses its long tongue, which is up to 4 inches long in some species, to grab its food. Some species have barbed tongues to facilitate the process. When not in use, many woodpecker tongues wrap around the skulls of their hosts. Some species also eat plant matter such as fruit, acorns and nuts.
Woodpeckers often create their nests in wood cavities.