Mar 212014
 

Hear about ‘Woodpecker’, we always think of a tough beak.

The woodpecker can move its beak up to 16 times per second as it strikes a tree(depends on species), creating an immense force of 1,000 G’s – 250 more times than astronauts are subjected to. Once it’s broken through the tree bark, it uses its long tongue to seek out an insect meal inside. This is equivalent to the force of coming to a complete halt from a speed of 26,000 km/hour!. But with the help of some pretty unbelievable adaptations, woodpeckers pull this off without any injury at all. Not only are these birds equipped with a strong, sturdy chisel-shaped beak, their brains are protected by a tight-fitting, thick, spongy skull that absorbs the impact of their repeated drilling into solid wood.

White-Bellied-Woodpecker

White-Bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis)

AN EYE-POPPING GOOD TIME!
If an ordinary bird hammered into a tree as hard as a woodpecker, its eyes would pop out of its head from the impact. Woodpeckers have special membranes on their eyes that prevent them from popping out of their sockets.

White-Bellied-Woodpecker

White-Bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis)

But the amazing fact is its tongue!
Probably the most unbelievable feature of the woodpecker is its tongue. The tongue is coated with sticky saliva to help capture insects. The tongue of a woodpecker is also very long & can extend to 2/3 of its entire body length, since it must stick its tongue out through its beak and into tree cavities to lick up insects.

White-Bellied-Woodpecker

Woodpecker with its tongue put to pull out the insect

Depending on the species of woodpecker, the tongue can be anywhere between three to five times the length of its beak.

Illustration  from external source (for reference only)

To store a tongue that long, woodpeckers , Sunbirds & hummingbirds possess a specialized structure in the neck and head called the hyoid apparatus consisting of bones, cartilage and muscles that allows the tongue to be drawn in through the throat, around the back of the head and even around the eye sockets in some species.

  5 Responses to “Woodpecker facts”

  1. Great info, I didn’t know this at all! Thanks, Saandip.

  2. Like like like … Love your blog! …great info

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)