Gallery: A Downy Woodpecker’s Swiss Army Beak

By Phillip Krzeminski, Bartels Science Illustrator
September 19, 2018
Downy Woodpecker by Bartels Science Illustrator Phillip KrzeminskiDowny Woodpecker by Bartels Science Illustrator Phillip Krzeminski.

From the Autumn 2018 issue of Living Bird magazine. Subscribe now.

Downy Woodpeckers drill for their food, but this species has a less chisel-shaped bill than other North American woodpeckers. Downies can also use their beaks as a pick to pierce open insect tunnels just beneath the surface of tree bark, and as a pair of fine-pointed forceps for picking up tiny insect eggs from a leaf.

Find out more about Downy Woodpeckers in our All About Birds species guide.

Bartels Science Illustrator Phillip Krzeminski created this illustration for the Beak Adaptations Exploration Station—an interactive exhibit at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that helps visitors understand how birds’ beaks are adapted to what they eat.