Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Carlton Johnson


The red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides Borealis) is a small bird of about 7in. in length with a white cheek patch and a black and white barred back. Males have a few red feathers that are hidden underneath the black and white feathers unless it's disturbed or excited, but females lack it.

Location of the Red-cockaded woodpecker

Once found within the longleaf pine ecosystem, which covered 90 million acres both in the coastal plains and piedmont regions, these woodpeckers are now threatened as the ecosystem slowly disappears.
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The main reason for the near extinction is us. Remember the 90 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystems? Well, that was before we settled here. Due to European settlement, widespread timber harvesting, and turpentine industry, the habitat of these birds has been reduced by about 99% since we started living here. As a result, the once massive amounts of these birds has now declined to a shadow of its former self.
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Conservation efforts to save this species

Everywhere these woodpeckers are found, conservation efforts are at work conserving, protecting, and expanding the longleaf pine habitat to its former glory. Since the woodpeckers require open space, prescribed fires are done seasonally to prevent tree density from getting too high and underbrush from growing. Finally, the national conservancy is trying to work with forest landowners to develop timber management solutions to help maintain capability of supporting the woodpecker population.