Woodpeckers are found in the order "Piciformes". The order includes puffbirds, jacamars, barbets, honey-guides and toucans. The birds in this order are characterized by their "zygodactylous" (yoke-toed) feet, with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward.

There are 6 families of birds in the Piciformes order. The jacamars live in the tropical forests of America. Barbets live in the tropical forests of both eastern and western hemispheres. Toucans are found in Central and South America. The honey guides are found in Africa, south Asia and Malaysia. Woodpeckers are found world wide, but only in certain areas. They don't occur is north and south polar regions beyond the tree line, nor are they found in New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and most of Oceana. There are about 200 species of woodpecker, ranging from the tiny tropical piculets to the big imperial woodpecker.

Woodpeckers are seldom seen in flocks. Most of them are solitary or in pairs. Their lives are lived mostly on tree trunks and branches, head up and tails down. They perch on or move up tree trunks, searching for insects or digging holes for roosting and nesting spots. They have pointed beaks that are straight and very hard, and they use their beaks rather like chisels. They also use their beaks to hammer or drum and tap to communicate with one another and to court. There are three-toed woodpeckers and four-toed woodpeckers, but all woodpeckers have short legs and long, strong toes with curved, sharp nails so that they can cling to trees. They also have very stiff central tail feathers that help them prop themselves up while climbing or resting.

If you've drummed up some interest in woodpeckers, read on!







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