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Picidae

Picidae (piculets, woodpeckers, wrynecks; class Aves, order Piciformes) A family of small to large, black, white, yellow, red, brown, or green birds, some of which are crested and many of which have yellow or red on the head. Most have long, stout bills, used for drilling holes, and long, fine tongues used for feeding. Their wings are short and rounded, and their tails are usually wedge-shaped with stiff feather shafts. Piculets (about 25 species of Picumnus of which one occurs in south-east Asia and the remainder in S. America) have short bills not used for drilling and tails that do not have stiffened shafts. Their legs are short, and their feet are zygodactylous with three or four toes. Picoides, comprising typical woodpeckers, is often split by retaining in that genus the two three-toed species and placing the 31 four-toed species in the genus Dendrocopos. Woodpeckers are arboreal, climb tree trunks for insects, fruit, and sap, and nest in tree cavities, banks of earth, and termite mounds. The 15 species of Picusare arboreal but many feed on the ground on ants. The two species of Jynx(wrynecks), of Europe, Africa, and Asia, are cryptically coloured and rarely cling to trees (J.torquilla, common wryneck, is highly migratory). The 21 species of Melanerpes, mainly black and white, most of them with red crowns and rumps and white or black, barred, central tail feathers, occur only in America. There are 27–35 genera in the family, and about 200 species, found world-wide.

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piculet

piculet (pĬk´yələt), common name for a small bird of the family Picidae, which includes the woodpecker and the wryneck. Like the true woodpeckers, piculets are large-headed and have long, sticky tongues, but they lack the stiff, balancing tail feathers of the larger woodpeckers. Hence, while they can climb vertically, they are often found perched on horizontal branches. Their short, rounded bills also lack the power to drill into living trees and are used instead to probe for insects and larvae in rotted logs. Gray or olive green above with black-marked, white underparts, piculets are found throughout the tropical forests of both the Old and New Worlds. A common species is the Antillean piculet, Nesoctites micromegas. Solitary and vagrant birds, piculets lay from two to eight glossy white eggs per clutch in unlined tree-hole nests. Both mates share in incubation and in the care of the young, which are blind and featherless. Piculets are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Piciformes, family Picidae.

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