|Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers by Audubon|
Class : Aves
Order : Piciformes
Family : Picidae
Genus : Campephilus
Species : principalis
Length : 18-20in
Wingspan : 31in
IUCN Status : Critically Endangered, but quite possibly Extinct
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is/was one of the largest of all the Woodpeckers. Now, I say "is/was" because the current status of this bird is unknown. It was previously thought to be extinct, but then in 2005 a few birds were sighted in Arkansas. However, despite years of effort, and searches over thousands of square miles, no other birds have been located.
Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers were found in the South-East United States, living in old growth forests. During the 19th century these habitats were destroyed, causing the birds to lose their homes. By the mid 20th century, they were believed to be extinct in the United States. Report in Cuba continued until the 1980s, but that population is now also believed to be gone.
|Ivory-Billed Woodpecker circa 1935|
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology continued to put together searches for the Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, but no birds have turned up since the initial 2005 push. They suspended their searching in 2010. Other projects began in Florida, but they too came up relatively empty. Maybe they are still out there, maybe they aren't. It's another sad story of a species lost.