Bird Families

Red-headed melanerpe, or red-headed woodpecker - a bird from the genus of melanerpe woodpeckers


Red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

The bird is small for woodpeckers: the length of its body is about 23 cm. Its constitution is dense, the head is large, the neck is short, the tail is round. This woodpecker has a bright red head and neck, while the back, wings and tail are black, the belly side is white.

The red-headed woodpecker is one of the most common birds in North America. Here these woodpeckers keep in thinned forests, often flying out to feed on the edges and flying, especially in the summer-autumn period, to settlements. In the spring, when starting to reproduce, birds very rarely gouge a new hollow, they usually find and clear, and sometimes deepen the old one. A hollow is always placed in a withered tree with decaying wood. Often several hollows are hollowed out on such a tree, but only one is occupied. In healthy green trees, these woodpeckers cannot gouge their hollows.

The red-headed woodpecker has a very cheerful and mischievous disposition. Sitting somewhere on a fence post near a field or road and seeing a person passing by, the woodpecker slowly moves to the side of the post opposite to the person, from behind which he peeps out from time to time, as if trying to guess the intentions of the approaching one. If a person passes by, then the woodpecker, deftly jumping on the top of the column, begins to drum on it with its beak, as if rejoicing that he managed to remain unnoticed by a person. If a person approaches him, then the woodpecker flies to the next column, then to the next one and begins to drum on it, as if teasing the person and inviting him to play hide and seek.

Often these restless birds appear near houses: they climb on them, knock on the roofs with their beaks. They cause a lot of trouble when the bread and berries and fruits ripen in the orchards. These birds, arriving in large flocks, eat berries and fruits in huge quantities, completely devastating entire gardens. Red-headed woodpeckers are extremely curious about their apples. The bird with all its might sticks its beak into the apple and, clutching the branch with its paws, picks off the fruit planted on the beak, and then with this burden it flies awkwardly to the nearest fence. Sitting on a post, the woodpecker breaks the apple into pieces and eats it. Birds produce even greater devastation in grain fields, not only eating ripe grains, but also breaking the stems and trampling the ears into the ground. Finally, these birds are also capable of predation: they look for nests of small birds, and often artificial nests and drink the eggs found in them. At times they even attack dovecotes.

After satisfying their hunger, red-headed woodpeckers gather in small flocks and, sitting on the branches of a dried tree, begin from here a kind of hunt for flying insects. Birds rush at them from a distance of 4-6 m, make very dexterous turns in the air, seize insects and, uttering joyful cries, return to their original place. It is extremely pleasant to watch this competition from the side: making complex pirouettes and turns, the birds demonstrate at the same time all the beauty of their bright plumage.


It is the largest of its kind, weighs about 300 grams, can reach 500 and is about 50 cm long. The head is large, the neck is graceful.

Hide Article preview: Description Habitat Lifestyle Reproduction Enemies, life expectancy Red Book, and interesting facts

You can distinguish between a woodpecker and a female by a red spot. In males it is on top, looks like a hat, and in ladies on the back of the head. The plumage is coal-colored, shiny on the back.

Photo of a young woodpecker.

The beak of a black woodpecker is a yellow chisel, paws are gray, even bluish. The eyes are large, the iris is light. The wings are rounded. The nostrils are protected by bunches of villi to prevent debris and sawdust from getting in when chiseling.

Most popular view

Great spotted woodpecker, also known as common woodpecker, is the most studied species of the family. Body length reaches 27 cm, weight about 100 g. This is the same "woodpecker with a red bottom", familiar to us from childhood.

A characteristic feature of this bird is the reddish plumage in the lower part of the abdomen and the same spot on the back of the head. Such a spot is present in young individuals, with age it remains only in males. The colors of the color are dominated by black and white, at the ends of the wings mixing in checkerboard streaks.

The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is distinguished by its size, the absence of a red undertail and a white back, which is always black in the Great Spotted Woodpecker. These birds are often confused with thrush, mainly because of the same size. There is no separate name for the female. But in color it differs from the male. Only the male has a transverse red stripe on the head at the back of the head.

Lifestyle, nutrition

The bird migrates but does not fly over great distances. He can build his hollows all day. Since it takes her about two weeks. Almost all woody living space in the forest is her work.

Tricks of the black woodpecker photo.

The woodpecker chooses rather tall trees, feeds on insects, barbel beetles, caterpillar pupae, ants. Hollowing out about 450 pieces per day. You can even contemplate a tree completely without bark.

The woodpecker eats its prey with its tongue, which protrudes 5 cm beyond its beak. The woodpecker is moistened with a sticky secret, and taste buds are also located on it, which help to quickly catch lunch.

The bird loves to sing with trills or drum rolls during the breeding season. For wintering migrates a little further from the nesting site. Leads a daytime life, and at night rushes to his house.


Woodpeckers, or woodpeckers, are a family of keel-climbing birds of the order woodpeckers of the chordate type. This family includes 30 genera of 220 bird species. A characteristic feature of all woodpeckers is their adaptability to life in trees.

Woodpeckers are common all over the globe, except for the Arctic, Antarctic and some oceanic islands. The vast majority of woodpecker species live in forests. They live in trees, and wood insects serve as food for them. Species of woodpeckers reach a wide variety in regions with high air humidity, frequent precipitation, and the presence of water bodies. This is due to the fact that in a humid environment, trees are more often affected by pathogenic fungi, rot, and insects that woodpeckers feed on intensively reproduce in their tissues. Thus, in damp places for woodpeckers, food is abundant, which contributes to the mass reproduction of these birds. Also, they arrange nests in the hollows of rotting trees. Some species of this family seek food on the ground, for example, green woodpeckers feed on termites and ants. There are species that have even adapted to living in the desert. Among them there are nomadic and sedentary species. These birds fly rarely and over short distances.

Representatives of this family are small and medium-sized birds. The smallest bird is the golden-fronted woodpecker, living in South America, 8 cm long and weighing 7g, and the largest is the Great Mullerian woodpecker, living in Southeast Asia, 0.5 m long and weighing up to 0.5 kg.

Woodpeckers have characteristic structural features. On the legs of these birds there are four toes with sharp claws, with two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward. This allows birds to cling to the bark of trunks and large tree branches. At the same time, when climbing trees, they lean on the solid rods of the tail tail feathers. With their chisel-shaped strong beak, woodpeckers hammer the bark and wood of trees in search of food and for the purpose of arranging nests. Birds expand cracks in the bark and passages of insects in the wood with their beaks, and then, with the help of a long, pointed, rough tongue, located in a special cavity of the skull, they suck food into their mouths. Birds often feed on plant foods - seeds, berries.

All woodpeckers arrange nests in hollows, which they themselves hammer. Swivel necks are an exception to the rule, since due to their weak beak, they cannot chisel wood on their own. The birds look for a mate, hatch eggs together and take care of the chicks, which hatch helpless, naked. In a clutch of woodpeckers, there are usually 4-7 eggs, incubation lasts 10-12 days.

The economic value is determined by the ability of these birds to destroy harmful insects in the forest throughout the year.

Related articles:

1. Birds 2. Anseriformes 3. Gens 4. Falconiformes 5. Woodpeckers


Although the birds are solitary, they have mated since March. Moreover, they are distinguished by monogamy. The male loudly knocks on the tree, making guttural sounds, attracting a partner. The black woodpecker leads the female either to the old dwelling, or begins to build a new one. For 13 hours a day, tirelessly, he makes a love nest.

Black woodpecker and its chicks.

It comes out about 18 cm in diameter, up to 60 cm deep. The floor is not covered with anything. The female woodpecker lays 3 - 6 eggs. The offspring incubates for two weeks.

Both male and female of the black woodpecker feed the chicks, the grown chicks protrude from the shelter and emit a plaintive squeak. The family lives together for another month. They teach how to get food and hunt. The grown-ups are expelled from their territory.

Interesting Facts

  1. If the owner's nest is occupied, the woodpecker can kick out the guest or start building a new one.
  2. Although the beak is massive, the ability to hammer, unlike others, is poorly expressed.
  3. Chicks hatch into the world asynchronously, as the female begins hatching from the second egg.
  4. The woodpecker flies all its life and saves forests from parasites.
  5. Not afraid of people, can be seen even in parks.
  6. The woodpecker drinks water that has accumulated under the bark.
  7. They have no fluff under their feathers.
  8. The woodpecker's tail is hard, which protects them from bites (ants - woodworms) and serves as a seat .

ARTICLE 3: Hobby bird (lat.Falco subbuteo)

Nutrition and behavior

The behavior of green woodpeckers is slightly different from their other relatives. The green woodpecker is active only during the day, at night it is in the hollow, these birds are most noticeable in the spring-autumn period, in winter they are hardly noticeable and secretive. One of the distinctive features of green woodpeckers is their feeding behavior; they most often look for food for themselves on the ground, and not on a tree. They give the greatest preference to ants and their pupae, their bird gets out of the anthill thanks to a very long (about 10 cm) tongue, which is also very sticky. The feathered one gives preference to red forest ants, however, it can also feed on bees, getting them from forest hives, earthworms, lumberjack larvae, hawk caterpillars, snails. If it does not find insects, then the woodpecker can eat small reptiles or eat plant foods - apples, pears, cherries, persimmons, cherries, grapes, mulberries.

The nature and lifestyle of the green woodpecker

You can contemplate these birds throughout the year. He likes to sit on the tallest trees in parks, but you can also spot him in heather thickets. During the winter season, green woodpeckers can move to open areas.

These birds do not spend all the time in the tree. In frequent cases, they descend to the ground in order to rummage in the forest floor and unearth food for themselves. In addition, they easily break rotten stumps and ravage large anthills with the same purpose in order to find food for themselves.

Eating the green woodpecker

In order to find food for themselves, green woodpeckers descend to the ground, in this they differ significantly from their counterparts. They adore ants and their pupae.

In order to extract this delicacy, they are helped by a huge and 10 cm long tongue, which has increased stickiness. They are especially fond of red ants. In addition to ants, earthworms, various small bugs and larvae are used.

Winter green woodpecker pulls his food out from under the snow. If he does not find anything, he does not refuse to feast on berries, for example, rowan. Sometimes a woodpecker can eat a snail and even a small reptile. It is interesting to watch how these birds hunt ants.

They destroy the anthill in one place and wait for the worried inhabitants to appear on the surface. As soon as they appear, a long bird's tongue is used, with which they attract prey. After satiety, the bird leaves, but time passes and it returns to the same place to repeat its meal. Green woodpeckers are food lovers.

In order to feed their chicks, parents do not appear at the nest too often. They accumulate food in the goiter, from which they gradually regurgitate it to babies. Therefore, in frequent cases, their nest seems to be absolutely non-residential.

Ⓘ Red-headed melanerpes

The red-headed melanerpe, or the red-headed woodpecker, is a bird from the genus of melanerpe woodpeckers. Distributed in North America in the United States and Canada, where it inhabits various landscapes with woody vegetation, including in urban areas. It has a characteristic tricolor color with clearly defined borders, which makes it easy to spot even by amateurs. It feeds mainly on invertebrates and seeds of various plants. It nests in hollows, which it plucks in the trunks and branches of completely or partially rotten trees. A vulnerable species, the main threats are associated with the improvement of forests, their disappearance and fragmentation.

5. Conservation status

In the International Red Book, the red-headed melanerpes is recognized as a potentially endangered species, category NT. At the moment, the main threats are considered to be the removal of dead trees and branches in urbanized areas and deforestation for further use of territories for economic needs. Many birds are killed in a collision with a car. In the second half of the 19th century, the woodpecker was considered an agricultural pest and was persecuted. According to some estimates, the epiphytoty of the so-called Dutch elm disease, which in turn was caused by the appearance of alien fungi from the genus Ophiostoma on the American continent in the 20th century, also contributed to a significant decrease in the number. In the 1940s - 1960s, the use of DDT in agriculture played a negative role, both due to a decrease in the number of insects in the main food supply, and due to a negative effect on the development of eggs, the shell became fragile and often destroyed prematurely.