Fun Great Slaty Woodpecker Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Great Slaty Woodpecker Facts For Kids

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The great slaty woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) is a species of bird belonging to the family of Picidae. They are primarily found across India and Southeast Asia. They are unique and are certainly the largest species of woodpecker that exists today. They are also known to be a very social species.

The male salty woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker, however, the extinct imperial woodpeckers and ivory-billed woodpeckers were most probably larger. Despite being one of the largest species of woodpeckers they have an exceptionally quiet voice, especially compared to other species of woodpeckers who have loud booming voices.

If you find facts about rare animals interesting, we suggest you consider checking out other such animals. For more relatable content, check out these facts of crimson-crested woodpecker and blond-crested woodpecker.

Fun Great Slaty Woodpecker Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Ants, termites, and beetles

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.8–1.2 lb (360–563 g)

How long are they?

19–23 in (48–58 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?


Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Forest And Savanna


India, Brunei Darussalam









Great Slaty Woodpecker Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a great slaty woodpecker?

Mulleripicus pulverulentus is a species of woodpeckers belonging to the family of Picidae, under the genus Mulleripicus.

What class of animal does a great slaty woodpecker belong to?

The great slaty woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) belongs to the class of Aves. They are the largest species of the Picidae family.

How many great slaty woodpeckers are there in the world?

The current estimated population of mature Mulleripicus pulverulentus is 26,000-5,50,000 individuals, but according to the IUCN Redlist's data, their population trend is declining due to habitat loss. It is also suspected that there is also a problem of local hunters hunting down and trapping terrestrial animals.

Where does a great slaty woodpecker live?

Mulleripicus pulverulentus mostly resides in South-East Asia. Their habitat range starts from the northern parts of India and extends through the Himalayan foothills to the southern parts of China, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. They are not endemic to a particular place.

Their habitat also extends to Malaysia and Singapore and goes through Indonesia's western islands and the Philippines. However, according to recent data, the current population trend of this species had a 90% decline in the past couple of decades.

What is a great slaty woodpecker's habitat?

The great slaty woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) ideally prefers to stay in semi-open areas and forest cover areas of moist and deciduous tropical evergreen forest.

This species can also be found in areas with a human population, given that the area has a high population of tall trees and clearings with scattered trees. It is also frequently seen in tall mangroves and swamp-forest. Being a species of woodpeckers it is fairly natural that they depend strongly on large trees.

The species mostly stays below 1,968.5 ft (600 m), but in the Himalayan foothills, they can be found in a higher elevation range of 3,609 ft (1,100 m) to occasionally 6,562 ft (2,000 m).

Who do great slaty woodpeckers live with?

The great slaty woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus) is considered to be highly social and is often found in flocks. They travel in groups of three to six individuals, which usually consists of the breeding pair and their young ones. These birds are found foraging their food together and sharing them with the group. They build their nests in tall trees near feeding sites.

How long does a great slaty woodpecker live?

The average life span of the Mulleripicus pulverulentus is 5-11 years, but there are instances when a Mulleripicus pulverulentus is found to live up to 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Just like other species of woodpeckers, these birds also excavated a separate nesting hole high up in tall trees, but here the male bird does most of the work. As these birds usually mate for life, they sometimes reuse their old nesting holes. These holes are built very high on trees, i.e. 29.5 ft (9m) and 147.6 ft (46 m) above ground with an entrance of about 4 in (10 cm).

What is their conservation status?

The Mulleripicus pulverulentus, according to the IUCN Redlist, is listed as Vulnerable right now. The population trend of this species is constantly decreasing. There are no conservatory actions being taken right now, but researches are being conducted on these birds and the current status of their population range.

Great Slaty Woodpecker Fun Facts

What do great slaty woodpeckers look like?

The Mulleripicus pulverulentus has a medium-sized body with a small tail covered in gray feathers overall, and a slate-gray head with similar gray upperparts which is comparatively darker than its underparts.

Their neck and ears are white while their wings and tail have a darker shade, which is mostly blackish-gray with narrow blue and gray tips and edges.

On the underparts, their breast displays slight light dots and patches. They have creamy chin, throat and upper neck with a hint of yellow, however, their lower throat feathers have faint red tips.

Great Slaty Woodpecker 

How cute are they?

These birds are considered to be cute. Especially the male bird, because of the red patch on their cheek which the female bird lacks.

How do they communicate?

Despite being such a large bird, the Mulleripicus pulverulentus has a quiet and weak voice. Their whinnying calls usually have two to five notes. The call initially starts on a higher pitch and the middle call being blatantly lower.

The calls of this bird vary in sound, strength, and duration while they are perched or in flight. Breeding pairs typically mews at each other softly. They also use sharp calls when they get excited and swings their head.

How big is a great slaty woodpecker?

An average Mulleripicus pulverulentus is usually 19–23 in (48–58 cm) long, whereas, a bird like the red-headed woodpecker is only 8-10 in (21-25 cm) and a red-bellied woodpecker is 9-10.5 in (23-26.7 cm), which goes to show how large a Mulleripicus pulverulentus actually is, compared to other woodpeckers.

They are even bigger than some birds outside the Picidae family, for example, the pitta bird. This bird belongs to the Pittidae family and is one of the smaller species of bird found in a forest.

How fast can a great slaty woodpecker fly?

Most woodpeckers are swift fliers. They take flight by flapping their wings a few times. Unfortunately, the exact speed of this bird on a flight is unknown. They are not known to be very fast on flight however, they are exceptionally fast peckers. In a forest in India, an average woodpecker can drill a hole on trees at a speed of 20 pecks per second.

How much does a great slaty woodpecker weigh?

The approximate weight of this bird stays within the range of 0.8–1.2 lb (360–563 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There have been no separate names assigned for a male and female Mulleripicus pulverulentus.

What would you call a baby great slaty woodpecker?

A baby Mulleripicus pulverulentus is referred to as the young one. They do not have any specific name allotted to them by humans.

What do they eat?

The Mulleripicus pulverulentus usually feeds on insects that are easily found in the trees of a forest. Their diet includes ants, termites, wood-boring beetles, and stingless bees. Sometimes insects are replaced by small fruits that are easily available in a forest. Preferred feeding sites are generally found in big trunks of large trees.

Are they dangerous?

No, these birds are not considered to be dangerous. They are very calm and possess no big threat to their surroundings.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the great salty woodpecker is definitely a species that one can consider ideal for keeping as a pet, but keeping them away from their natural habitat is harsh. Their continuous decline in population range makes it more difficult and unethical to keep them as pets. They are better to be left alone in a forest, among large trees.

Did you know...

The great salty woodpecker builds a nest by pecking through the wood of large tree trunks.

Their primary work on a typical day includes foraging for food in their habitat range and build nests for themselves.

Do great slaty woodpeckers migrate? 

During summer, before their breeding season starts they migrate to colder places. They build new nesting holes. They often reuse their old nest during the breeding season.

Is the great slaty woodpecker the largest woodpecker species? 

The great salty woodpecker is the largest living species of woodpecker. Other woodpeckers that were bigger than them are all Extinct today.

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 harpy eagle facts and Arctic skua fun facts for kids.

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


Second image by Jason Thompson.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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