ivory-billed woodpecker

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ivory-billed woodpecker,

common name for the largest of the North American woodpeckers, Campephilus principalis. Once plentiful in Southern hardwood forests, it was believed to be extinct or nearing extinction after 1952. The last known members of this species had been reported from the deepest forests of NW Florida and central Louisiana, and there were no confirmed sightings after 1944 until 2004, when one may have been spotted in an E Arkansas swamp. The Arkansas evidence, however, has been criticized by a number of ornithologists as ambiguous.

A shiny blue-black in color with extensive white markings on its wings and neck, this bird is distinguished by its pure white bill and by a prominent top crest, red in the male and black in the female. A true woodpeckerwoodpecker,
common name for members of the Picidae, a large family of climbing birds found in most parts of the world. Woodpeckers typically have sharp, chisellike bills for pecking holes in tree trunks, and long, barbed, extensible tongues with which they impale their insect
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, it has a strong and straight chisellike bill and a long, mobile, hard-tipped, sticky tongue. It measures from 18 to 20 in. (46–51 cm) in length, with short legs and feet ending in large, curved claws. The ivory-bill deposits from three to five glossy white eggs per clutch in an unlined hole, preferably drilled in a cypress tree. Of its reproductive habits little more than this is known.

The decrease in the number of ivory-bills may be largely blamed on the cutting and eventual disappearance of the trees in which they lived. It is not known how many ivory-bills may survive today in the forests of the S United States and in Cuba. Ivory-billed woodpeckers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Piciformes, family Picidae.


See T. Gallagher, The Grail Bird (2005).

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The ivory-billed woodpecker was decimated when the mature bottomland forests it depends on were razed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but these forests are now coming back.
The ivory-billed woodpecker is the largest woodpecker species north of Mexico and the third largest in the world.
Jackson turned on a portable tape recorder, and through the amplified speaker rose the calls of an ivory-billed woodpecker recorded years before, when the whitish- billed, red-crested, crow-sized bird still lived deep in the wetlands and neighboring pine uplands.
This vast tract of bottomland forest, sloughs and lakes in east-central Arkansas includes the Arkansas Big Woods, where multiple sightings in 2004 and 2005--including a snippet of video--persuaded even some distinguished ornithologists that the ivory-billed woodpecker, long thought to be extinct, was still in flight.
The book comprises short, detailed essays that describe Elliott's experiences in the field while collecting recordings from such birds as the great horned owl, mourning dove, green warbler, and, perhaps, the ivory-billed woodpecker.
editor: I read the article on the ivory-billed woodpecker in the latest issue with great interest and enjoyment.
The rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campepbilus principalis) in Arkansas, announced April 28, 2005, is one of the most memorable events in the history of the National Wildlife Refuge System and North American ornithology.
The bird captured on video is clearly an ivory-billed woodpecker," said John Fitzpatrick, the Science article's lead author, and director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Extinct or not Birders debated whether the ivory-billed woodpecker survives in Arkansas and agreed only on the need for better evidence (169: 189).