Picidae – Woodpeckers & piculets

Legs made to cling to trees, beaks made to drill into the trunk

The picids are an ancient, distinctive, and easily identifiable tribe. Early picids were present in the Eocene’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but the fossil record is sparse and provides little insight into picid relationships. Barbets (Capitonidae), toucans (Ramphastidae), and honeyguides appear to be the Piciformes’ closest relatives (Indicatoridae). Wrynecks are the most basic picids, lacking many family adaptations for tree climbing and excavation.

Picidae may be found in almost every area with or without woody plants. Water is an essential component of woodpecker habitats that has received little study but deserves investigation. The richness and variety of picid species within areas are aided by high relative humidity, frequent precipitation, and standing or running water.