Woodpeckers are part of the Picidae family of birds. Members of this family are found all over the world, except for Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extremely cold polar regions of the planet. Most species live in forests or woodland habitats, although a few species are known to live in desert areas, and peck at cactus instead of trees. The force behind the peck of a woodpecker is measured at over 1,000 times the force of gravity!
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What do woodpeckers eat?
Woodpeckers generally eat insects as their main diet.
“What do woodpeckers eat” is generally answered with insects. They especially enjoy eating wood-boring insects like grubs and ants. However, they do feed on other sources of food, such as tree sap, fruits, nuts, acorns, and berries. In general, woodpeckers do not peck, tree trunks and branches to tap sap; they do so to hunt for insects, create nesting sites, and create a storage space for food they have caught or foraged. The acorn woodpecker creates huge holes in trees which are capable of holding thousands of acorns for the woodpecker to eat at a later time. Woodpeckers have long, sticky, tongues, which quickly dart back and forth into the holes and crevices they create on trees, to catch the creatures they enjoy eating. They rapidly peck on trees creating a drumming sound, which establishes their territory and attracts potential mates.
Some species of woodpecker have been known to have more diverse diets that include other birds’ eggs and small animals, so what do woodpeckers eat can sometimes be mammals as well as insects. The majority of woodpeckers don’t migrate and spend their entire lives in one area. They can be found in a variety of habitats including farmlands, open woodlands, orchards, oak and pine woods, parks, and gardens.
Do woodpeckers eat other baby birds?
The great spotted woodpecker will frequently attack the nests of other birds. They have also been known to attack nest boxes, wrenching out the young from within to feast on. Sometimes they will eat the young at the nesting site, and at other times they will eat it in their own nests, carrying it back in their beaks. They do the same with the eggs of other birds too. Recently, it has been observed that some woodpeckers will attack the chicks of other bird species, by boring holes into their heads to crack their skulls open. They then use their long, sticky tongue, to extract the blood and brain matter of the baby bird to consume.
Do woodpeckers eat termites?
Termites can also be given as the answer to what do woodpeckers eat. Woodpeckers will pound at trees to disturb the termites and make holes in the tree bark which allows them to use their tongues to retrieve the termites that live within the tree trunk.
What do woodpeckers eat on the ground?
Some woodpeckers may store seeds or dead insects under loose bits of bark on the ground. They also bury food in the ground to eat during scarce times. Woodpeckers hop on the floor to search for ants and other insects and will also peck at the ground to forage for acorns and other seeds.
Do woodpeckers eat the wood?
It is a popular myth that what do woodpeckers eat is actually wood. Although woodpeckers spend much of their lives pecking at trees to drum for mates and dislodge their prey, they do not ever eat the wood of trees.