The woodpeckers strong, pointed beak acts as both a chisel and a crowbar to remove bark and find hiding insects. It has a very long tongue up to four inches in some species - with a glue-like substance on the tip for catching insects. While most birds have one toe pointing back and three pointing forward on each foot, woodpeckers have two sharply clawed toes pointing in each direction to help them grasp the sides of trees and balance while they hammer. Many woodpecker species also have stiffened tail feathers, which they press against a tree surface to help support their weight.
The largest species, the imperial woodpecker of Mexico, is about 22 inches long. It has been listed under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Endangered Species Act since 1970 and may be extinct. The Kogera woodpecker, found in Japan, is the smallest species at six inches in length.
Woodpeckers can be found in wooded areas all over the world, except in Australia.
Woodpeckers live in wooded areas and forests. Some woodpecker species require a very specific conditions for their home. For example, the red-cockaded woodpecker can only live in mature pine forests in the southeastern United States