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

Pittsburgh Father’s Day 2021: Where To Take Dad To Dine | Pittsburgh Patch

Have Dad devour a delicious BBQ brunch from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Brunch includes admission to the aviary so guests can explore its tropical habitats when they are finished dining.

Read More »

A Newcomers Guide to Pittsburgh Arts and Culture | Pittsburgh City Paper

Soar to new heights at the National Aviary, where you can meet tropical birds, owls, and other winged species, as well as penguins and a sloth.

Read More »

National Aviary presenting “Journey to Africa” | Herald Standard

Experience the birds of the African continent this summer at the National Aviary.

Read More »

National Aviary presenting “Journey to Africa” | Observer Reporter

A trip to the African continent awaits visitors to Pittsburgh’s National Aviary this summer with the opening of a new season, “Journey to Africa.”

Read More »

PTL Weekend Guide: Journey to Africa | KDKA - CBS Pittsburgh

Don't miss Journey to Africa, opening this weekend at the National Aviary.

Read More »