Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Largest and rarest North American woodpecker, jet-black with white wing patches, large red crest, black chin, throat. Thick white stripes extend from bill to rear of wings. In flight, wings appear white with black tips and thick, black center stripe. Pale, large bill.
Range and Habitat
Ivory-billed Woodpecker: Historically ranged in southeastern U.S., from Ohio River Valley to east Texas, the Gulf coast, and Florida; thought to be extinct for more than 60 years, but possibly rediscovered in the "Big Woods" region of eastern Arkansas. Habitats include old growth, bottomland forests. Populations were sparse, needing about 16 square kilometers to support one pair.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is evaluated as Critically Endangered. This bird species was previously native to the United States and Canada. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is believed to be extinct in much of Cuba, as the last confirmed sighting was in 1987. There have been claims that this bird may persist in the eastern regions of Cuba. There are also claims that it may still exist in Florida and Arkansas but there have been no confirmed sightings. The remaining population of this bird species is likely to be quite small. This bird is considered to be in extreme danger.
Considered extinct for many years, there has been recent evidence that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker may still live. In 2004, there was a reported sighting in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge of Arkansas. Scientists believe the evidence of the continued existence of these birds is credible. Since 2004 there have been reports of sightings in Florida as well. However, these are not as well substantiated.
It was given the species name principalis because it was believed to be the largest woodpecker. In fact there are at least two larger, one from Mexico and one from Southeast Asia.
This species also experienced dire persecution. For example, in Cuba, it was hung outside homes to prevent witchcraft.
A group of woodpeckers has many collective nouns, including a "descent", "drumming", and "gatling" of woodpeckers.