Almost all birds in this group are tree-dwellers, and for many species, the preferred habitat is mature forest with a closed canopy. Most piciform species are rarely, if ever, seen walking on the ground or flying across open space; typically these birds search for food in trees, nest in trees, raise young in trees, and roost at night in trees (usually in cavities). Of course there are exceptions to the rule of an arboreal life; for example toco toucans (Ramphastos toco) live in open, fragmented forests and woodland savannas. And many kinds of puffbirds and jacamars prefer forest edges and streambanks over forest interiors.
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