The imperial woodpecker is the largest woodpecker species in the world. Unfortunately, it is believed to be extinct since it has not been seen since the 1950s. There have since been only three unconfirmed sightings by Mexican natives. This bird was once found only in Mexico's western mountain ranges - the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Central Volcanic Belt. Adults reached about 23 inches long. Their feathers were black and white, and both male and female possessed a black crest, but the crest of the males were red-sided.
This species preferred open montane forests made up of Durango, Mexican White, Loblolly and Montezuma pines and oak. They fed by ripping bark from the dead pines to find insects and larvae underneath. Since this species is rare, very little is known about its behavior and biology.
This species suffered from loss of habitat, and some were hunted and killed by natives for their medicinal value. Some also ate their nestlings which were considered a delicacy. Many searches have been done since the 1960s for surviving individuals, and conservationists are prepared to follow-up on any future sightings or reports.
Imperial Woodpecker Facts Last Updated:
September 18, 2007
To Cite This Page:
Glenn, C. R. 2006. "Earth's Endangered Creatures - Imperial Woodpecker Facts" (Online).
Accessed 4/27/2017 at http://earthsendangered.com/profile.asp?sp=512&ID=9.
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