Pileated Woodpecker
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Subfamily: Picinae
Tribe: Picini
Genus: Dryocopus
(Boie, 1826)

See text.

Dryocopus is a genus of large powerful woodpeckers, typically 35–45 cm in length. It has representatives in North and South America, Europe, and Asia; some South American species are endangered. It was believed to be closely related to the American genus Campephilus, but it is part of an entirely different lineage of woodpeckers altogether (Benz et al., 2006)

Their breeding habitat is forested areas with large trees, where they nest in a large cavity in a dead tree or a dead part of a tree. They may excavate a new hole each year, creating habitat for other large cavity nesting birds. They are non-migratory permanent residents.

They are mainly black in plumage with red on the crown of the head, often as a crest. Most species also have some white areas of plumage, especially on the head, and some have additional red facial markings.

The male, female and juvenile plumages of each species usually differ, often in the extent of red on the crown and elsewhere on the head. The flight is strong and direct, and the calls are typically loud wild laughs. The drumming of these large birds can be heard from a great distance.

Dryocopus woodpeckers chip out large holes with their strong bills while searching out insects, especially beetle larvae in trees. They will also take fruits, berries, and nuts.

The name Dryocopus come from the Greek drus, an oak tree and kopos, a cutter.



  • Benz, Brett W.; Robbins, Mark B. & Peterson, A. Townsend (2006): Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): Placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40: 389–399. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.02.021
  • Gorman, Gerard (2004): Woodpeckers of Europe: A Study of the European Picidae. Bruce Coleman, UK. ISBN 1-872842-05-4.
  • Gorman, Gerard (2011): The Black Woodpecker: A monograph on Dryocopus martius. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 978-84-96553-79-8.
  • Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol & Inskipp, Tim (1999): Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.. ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Jobling, James A (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. OUP. ISBN 0 19 854634 3. 

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