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Ivory-billed Woodpecker Campephilus principalis

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One of the most iconic birds in the world, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is also one of the largest woodpeckers in the New World, being slightly smaller than another possibly extinct bird, the Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis). Two populations (subspecies) of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker are recognized, in the southeastern states of the United States (the nominate) and on Cuba (Campephilus principalis bairdii), which are quite distinctive genetically. Both taxa are largely black with an extensive area of white over the wings, two white lines over the mantle, which broaden over the neck sides, and reach just below the cheeks. The irides are notably pale, and males have a striking red crest (all black in females). The bill is pale, rather long, and chisel-shaped, but is slightly shorter and narrower in the Cuban subspecies, and this taxon also differs in the white neck stripe reaching closer to the eye and bill. Both populations are postulated to be extinct, although still listed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International, with the last certain records in far-eastern Cuba dating from the late 1980s. Subsequent surveys have failed to yield additional sightings. In contrast to the US population, which inhabits bottomland, inaccessible hardwood and cypress swamps, most of the recent records in Cuba have been from pine forests, although historically it was known from both lowland and montane forest of various types.

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© Arthur A. Allen

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/ivbwoo