Natural History

Natural History

Status: Critically Endangered

Distribution: In pre-colonial times, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers had an expansive and varied range, from the southern tip of Florida to central Ohio, and westward to St. Louis. As populations decreased, their range became concentrated in the southeastern United States, from eastern Texas to Florida. Read an in-depth discussion of the Ivorybill range and habitat.

Habitat: Ivory-billed Woodpeckers favor forested areas with large trees. Read more about the species’ habitat and how it changed over time.

Diet: Ivorybills are bark foragers; they strip bark from trees in order to extract beetle larvae. They have been observed eating fruits and nuts. Their bark stripping, or scaling, is unique and considered a diagnostic feature. Read an in-depth discussion on bark scaling.

Breeding: Ivorybills are cavity nesters, nesting in excavations on dead trees, or in dead portions of living trees. Both males and females excavate the nest cavity. Clutch size varies from 1 to 5 eggs.

Field Marks: The largest woodpecker species north of Mexico, Ivorybills have heavy, pale bills that are distinctive. Males have a red crest, with a black body showing white lines down the back and white panels in the folded wings. Females show similar markings, but have a black crest.

Sounds: Ivorybills have a distinctive “kent” call. Rather than drumming like most woodpeckers, Ivorybills have a “double knock” pattern. Read more about Ivorybill sounds here.

In The News

See All News

Owl-O-Ween Returns To National Aviary | KDKA - CBS Pittsburgh

The National Aviary’s Owl-O-Ween fall celebration will be back this year.

Read More »

National Aviary Celebrates the Mysterious Creatures of Fall with a Family-friendly Event Twilight Treks, and Owl-inspired Art | National Aviary News

Celebrate things that flutter and flap in the night this fall when three beloved fall festivities return to the National Aviary.

Read More »

Outstanding CEOs: Cheryl Tracy, National Aviary | Pittsburgh Business Times

Cheryl Tracy is a winner of a 2021 Fox Rothschild Outstanding CEOs and Top Executives award.

Read More »

Meet the National Aviary’s “Friends of the Flock” emerging leaders class | Pittsburgh Business Times

Friends of the Flock, an initiative for The National Aviary designed to engage young leaders in the nonprofit’s mission, has 14 new members.

Read More »

Fall season programs begin at National Aviary | Uniontown Herald Standard

Visitors to the National Aviary this fall can experience the world of forests and come face to face with forest-dwelling species from around the world.

Read More »