Endangered Species: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Joshua of Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, Virginia, U.S.A.

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
Source Unknown
Photographer Unknown
woodpecker art
Original artwork by Joshua
This original report may be found
on the Radical Report Resources
pages completed by the Web Weavers
of Christiansburg Elementary School.
Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

  I researched the red-cockaded woodpecker. I picked it to research because it sounds interesting and I never heard of it before. I looked for its habitat requirements, where it lives, and why it is endangered. People need to be more careful and stop cutting down as many trees, try not to mess with their nests, and do more studying on them. That is a lot to ask but it could help save a species.

What Was Already Known

  The red-cockaded woodpecker is endangered because of loss of habitat. People cut down too many trees, and the woodpecker can't find a place to live. They only live in eighty year old trees and up.

Search for Information

  I only encountered a few problems in my research. There was little information, and the papers I found were hard to read. I searched in three different places.

Description of Plant or Animal

  A woodpecker is 220 mm long, its wingspan is 45 mm, and its tail is 76.2 mm long. It is shaped like an oval. It is zebra striped with a black head, its flanks are black-flecked, and its white outer tail feathers have black bars. The males have two red dots on the side of their cap.

  Red-cockaded woodpeckers live in clans. The clans consist of two to four birds at the onset of the nesting season and four to six birds after the young have fledged. There are three different kinds of birds in a clan. The parents, the helpers and the juvenile fledglings.

  Red-cockaded woodpeckers have eggs from April 23 to June 4. By the second week of May, each nest has two to five white eggs. The male incubates the eggs at night for ten days.

Habitat Requirements

  The red-cockaded woodpecker eats worms, wood-boring insects, berries, beetles, ants, moths, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and pecans.

  It gets its water from lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks.

  It lives in eight year old pine trees such as the long leaf pine, the slash pine, the loblolly pine, and the shortleaf pine in the south eastern U.S. The trees have little undergrowth. The red-cockaded woodpecker needs at least one mile of space to live.


  The entrance to their nest is five cm in diameter. The nest is gourd shaped and is 30 cm deep. The red-cockaded woodpecker makes holes around the nest so resin (sap) will come out and keep predators away.

Reasons for Endangerment

  The red-cockaded woodpecker was put on the endangered species list in 1970.

Restoration Actions

  People are now taking more actions and precautions to protect it. Almost every red-cockaded woodpecker clan is monitored with cameras, tracked down where there might be members, tracked and recorded numbers of how many offspring they have, observed for their activity, and have all the trees marked that have members in them.

What Was Learned

  I learned much about the red-cockaded woodpecker in my search. I learned what they look like, what they eat, where they live, and who their natural enemies are. I also learned why they are endangered and what people are doing to help them.

Conclusions From Research

  It was good for me to do this report, because I now know why red-cockaded woodpeckers are endangered, and why other woodpeckers are too. I also have more confidence in doing a big report, because I have more experience, and I know how to do it better. 
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© copyright 1996 Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on March 7, 1998