Habitat

Picidae habitats include virtually any environment with woody vegetation, and some without. A major component of woodpecker habitats that has been given little attention but is worthy of consideration is water. High relative humidity, frequent precipitation, and the local presence of standing or running water contribute to abundance and diversity of picid species within regions. The link between water and picids is the requisite moist wood for fungal decay, which facilitates cavity excavation and provides suitable habitats for the wood-boring arthropods that so many picids depend on. Larger woodpeckers, of course, need larger trees in which to excavate their nest and roost cavities. They also often feed on larger prey and need more extensive habitat in order to find adequate food resources. Some smaller woodpeckers that have become specialized for unique habitat conditions also have ex-

An acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) stores acorns for winter food. (Photo by Tim Davis. Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

European wryneck (Jynx torquilla) at its nest. (Photo by Hans Reinhard. Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

common in picids and the loud, rolling tattoo of such large species as the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) of Eurasia and the pileated woodpecker of North America are truly magnificent.

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