Threats to Woodpeckers
Threats to woodpeckers include loss of habitat, human encroachment, and pesticides.
Climate change may also pose a direct threat to woodpeckers and their habitats. For instance, Francis Marion National Forest, which at the time held the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, suffered a direct hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 destroyed 87 percent of the nesting cavity trees within the Forest. And in 2001, Kentucky’s population of red-cockadeds was destroyed following a devastating outbreak of the southern pine beetle. Drought stress, beetle outbreaks and increases in the frequency and severity of forest fires could reduce the availability of mature forest that most species of woodpeckers need.
Size: One of the largest woodpecker species is the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was thought to be extinct for the greater part of the 20th century and then rediscovered in 2005. This species measures from 19 to 21 inches in length and weighs from 1 to 1.25 pounds. The smallest woodpecker in North America is the downy woodpecker, which reaches only 6 or 7 inches in length.
Lifespan: On average, woodpeckers live from 4-11 years.