|Photo courtesy of Tom Grey|
Birds with short legs and strong claws. Their stiff tail feathers provide balance as they climb tree trunks. Their sharp bills are used to chisel into bark looking for insects as well as making nest holes. They are also used to drum a territorial signal to rivals. Family includes woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers. Woodpeckers have long, narrow tongues that coil back into the skull. Most have sharp and horny tips for spearing wood-boring beetles. The flicker tongue is barbed and coated with sticky saliva, for lapping up ants and other insects. Sapsuckers have brush-like tipped tongues for licking sap.
- A black bird with white head and throat. White wing patch noticeable at rest and in flight. Male has a red patch on back of its head. May alight sideways or upside down.
- Hoarse. A sharp pee-dink or pee-dee-dink. Also, chick or chick-ick-ick.
- Primarily conifer seeds. Pries loose bark in search of insects and larvae.
- Makes holes in conifer tree trunks.
- Locally common in pine-fir forests, especially Ponderosa/Jeffrey and Sugar pine.
- Inland from southern CA to Canada.