Wood"peck`er (?), n. Zool.
Any one of numerous species of scansorial birds belonging to Picus and many allied genera of the family Picidae.
⇒ These birds have the tail feathers pointed and rigid at the tip to aid in climbing, and a strong chisellike bill with which they are able to drill holes in the bark and wood of trees in search of insect larvae upon which most of the species feed. A few species feed partly upon the sap of trees (see Sap sucker, under Sap), others spend a portion of their time on the ground in search of ants and other insects.
The most common European species are the greater spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus major), the lesser spotted woodpecker (D. minor), and the green woodpecker, or yaffle (see Yaffle).
The best-known American species are the pileated woodpecker (see under Pileated), the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), which is one of the largest known species, the red-headed woodpecker, or red-head (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), the red-bellied woodpecker (M. Carolinus) (see Chab), the superciliary woodpecker (M. superciliaris), the hairy woodpecker (Dryobates villosus), the downy woodpecker (D. pubescens), the three-toed, woodpecker (Picoides Americanus), the golden-winged woodpecker (see Flicker), and the sap suckers. See also Carpintero.
Woodpecker hornbill Zool., a black and white Asiatic hornbill (Buceros pica) which resembles a woodpecker in color.
© Webster 1913.