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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

21 Magellanic Woodpecker Facts You'll Never Forget

The South American Magellanic woodpecker facts are all about an awe-inspiring woodpecker of the Picidae family.

The Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is the largest woodpecker in South America. It is also the third-largest woodpecker after the ivory-billed and imperial woodpeckers. Their large size and charming body color make them an intriguing bird species that are endemic to the Nothofagus forests of South America. Their distribution ranges from Chile to Argentina, and they reside in the temperate forests on both sides of the southern Andes. The males exhibit a red crest, while the females have a black crest. The rest of their body has black and white plumage. Their bill is black, and their iris is yellow.

These birds prey on small insects and wood-borne insect larvae. Apart from this, they are also known to prey on small vertebrates like lizards and nestlings of smaller birds. This woodpecker species is highly active in nature and begins its foraging in the early mornings. Research shows that they reside with their family and actively share their roost cavity. These birds defend their territory together from intruders. The individual families also showcase territorial disputes during which all the members participate in the brawl.

If you like reading this article, then do check out the imperial woodpecker and Arizona woodpecker.

Magellanic Woodpecker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Magellanic woodpecker?

The Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is a bird of the Picidae family.

What class of animal does a Magellanic woodpecker belong to?

The Magellanic woodpeckers belong to the class Aves like other woodpeckers such as the red-head woodpecker and the ivory-billed woodpecker.

How many Magellanic woodpeckers are there in the world?

The Magellanic woodpeckers are monotypic.

Where does a Magellanic woodpecker live?

The Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is endemic to South America. Their habitat ranges from Chile to the western part of Argentina. They inhabit the forests on either side of the Andes. They prefer the Nothofagus trees of Chile and Argentina.

What is a Magellanic woodpecker's habitat?

These species of woodpeckers prefer dense and evergreen Nothofagus forests on both sides of the Andes. Some of them also inhabit the dead pine trees for sap. They are also known to vacate the regions of decaying trees.

Who do Magellanic woodpeckers live with?

This woodpecker in South America is colonial and resides with their family, foraging together in their roost cavities and defending their nest from predators. These birds are also seen to coexist with other species of woodpecker- the Chilean flicker and the striped woodpecker. They are highly energetic and begin foraging from early mornings. Research shows that they forage together with the other members and often engage in territorial disputes. The mature woodpeckers generally settle this dispute together with their members. Sometimes, the juveniles also participate in brawls along with their parents.

How long does a Magellanic woodpecker live?

Although there is no specific information available on the lifespan of this bird, it can be assumed that their lifespan can range anywhere between 15-20 years or even more, based on their high parental investment.

How do they reproduce?

The female Magellanic woodpecker reproduces by laying two eggs. Breeding takes place for about 65 days. Both the parents build their nests by excavating tree trunks. The holes of their nest are about 12.5 in (32 cm) and are built at varying heights on the tree. Their peak reproductive seasons range from October to January. The male participates equally with its partner in incubation as well as the rearing of the nestlings. They are also responsible for cleaning the fecal matter of the nestlings at night. The nestlings are brooded by their parents for a constant period of up to 27 days. They are fed regurgitated food directly by their parents. The young ones of the woodpeckers become their resident in their nest for up to two years of age. Other groups of their species are also known to take care of the juveniles and protect them from bigger birds of the world.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List has listed the Magellanic woodpecker as a species of Least Concern. However, their population trend is decreasing due to increased population and forest clearings. Their low reproductive rate is another contributing factor in this regard.

Magellanic Woodpecker Fun Facts 

What do Magellanic woodpeckers look like?

These woodpecker species look stunning in their redhead with long straight crest and black bodies. The females have a black curly crest with a circular red patch around their bill. Their population range is extensively present in Chile, Argentina, and the southern Andes. The mature woodpeckers are territorial in nature and defend their nests from predators. They are also seen to share their space with other species of woodpecker in the same tree.

The Magellanic woodpecker female has a curly black crest.

How cute are they?

This species of woodpecker looks extremely cute because of its strikingly beautiful red head and black body.

How do they communicate?

They communicate by making nasal calls and produce loud knocking sounds to warn others of impending danger. They also engage in occasional fights, during which their calls sound like drums. Their constant habit of pecking the wood marks their presence in the forest.

How big is a Magellanic woodpecker?

The Magellanic woodpecker is 17.4-19.6 in (44-49.7 cm) in length and is the largest woodpecker species of South America. They are much bigger in size than the Chilean flicker and striped woodpeckers but similar to the pileated woodpecker.

How fast can a Magellanic woodpecker fly?

Woodpeckers can not fly with immense speed and have a habit of constant foraging in the trees. Sometimes, they flutter their wings and then soar down.

How much does a Magellanic woodpecker weigh?

The mature woodpecker weighs about 0.60-0.80 lb (272-363 g) and is much heavier than the red-cockaded woodpecker.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names are given to the male and female species of the Magellanic woodpecker. They are commonly known as the male Magellanic woodpecker and female Magellanic woodpecker.

What would you call a baby Magellanic woodpecker?

A baby woodpecker is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The resident of Nothofagus forests of Andes eats insect and insect larvae. Their diet also includes nuts, seeds, sap, lizards, and nestlings of smaller birds. The predators of this bird are hawks and crested caracaras.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous and do not impose any threat on humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The Magellanic woodpecker is an extremely active bird that engages itself in foraging for long hours. They are notorious for constantly pecking the tree trunk with their sharp bill. Hence, they are not kept as pets.

Did you know...

The woodpeckers possess chisel-like bills with which they can peck about 12,000 holes per day. Their brain skull consists of specialized air pockets that prevent them from feeling any pain from pecking. Their nostrils have bristle-like feathers that trap the wood particles and prevents them from inhalation.

Different types of woodpecker

There are about 23 species of woodpecker endemic to the United States. They all differ in their plumage color, size and bill.

Why is it called a Magellanic woodpecker?

They are given their name after the Strait of Magellan, which is located in southern Chile. It separates South America from Terra del Fuego. Since this woodpecker species are endemic to South America and their habitat range is from Chile to Argentina, they are called Magellanic woodpeckers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our lesser spotted woodpecker facts and ladder-backed woodpecker facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable kingfisher coloring pages.

The main image is by Serge Ouachée.

The second image is by Natalia Reyes Escobar.

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