Deep Dive: Ivory-billed Woodpecker

by OBDK on January 23, 2023

Today we’re talking about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. This bird has an interesting story because it’s thought to be extinct, but there have been unconfirmed sightings of the bird in the early 2000s. 
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is black and white and has red feathers on its head. If you’re familiar with Woody Woodpecker, he is an Ivory-billed Woodpecker! Historically, it could be found in many states within the United States, including Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and more.1
They stand about 18 to 20 inches tall and have a wingspan of about 30 inches. They can live over 20 years in the wild. One specific characteristic of theirs is that they knock twice on trees to get their food.2
These birds were very popular but suffered due to hunting so that people could get a hold of their feathers and beaks. They also were put at risk due to logging in their primary habitats.3 It was originally listed as endangered in 1967, but the last official sighting of this bird was in 1944 in Louisiana.1 However, in 2005, a video surfaced from someone who claimed to have spotted one, but it hasn’t been able to be confirmed that it was definitely the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.2
Believing the bird to be extinct, in 2021 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that it was going to remove it from the endangered species list. However, the deadline was extended for them to make a decision until the spring of 2023. The main benefit of keeping them on the endangered species list, even if they’re really gone, is that the precautions taken to save these birds help protect important species that share their usual habitat. Without those protections, other species could be put at risk.3 
Have you kept up on all our woodpecker news lately? Check out what you might have missed:

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