IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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The Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis), the world's largest woodpecker, was once widely distributed in Mexico (where it was endemic) but is now almost surely extinct, a victim of the logging industry. Imperial Woodpeckers were found in extensive stands of large pines, including many dead trees, in the oak-pine forest belt in the mountains, mainly between around 1900 m and 3050 m. Imperial Woodpeckers lived in pairs and in family groups of 3 to 5 (perhaps as many as 10?) individuals and presumably fed on large beetle larvae (e.g., cerambycids). Lammertink et al. (2011) located a film of  an Imperial Woodpecker from one of the last remnant populations. Those who wish to experience the magic (and profound sadness) of observing what is likely one of the last representatives of a species driven to extinction by human greed and thoughtlessness can view this film on the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website.

(Winkler et al. 1995 and references therein; Winkler and Christie 2002 and references therein; del Hoyo et al. 2014 and references therein)


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© Leo Shapiro

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