How Many Times Per Second Can a Woodpecker Peck?

The 215 species of woodpeckers, which are native to all continents except Antarctica and Australia, peck at up to 20 times per second. These birds peck and drum to get at food, store food, make nests, establish territory and attract mates.

Woodpeckers have chisel-tipped bills that are both hard and straight. Woodpecker species that do more pecking have a hinge where the bill meets the skull. This hinge, plus special muscles around it and the neck, help redistribute force from drumming and pecking away from the cranium. Woodpeckers usually drum on dead branches. In addition, both sexes drum in most species.