Can woodpeckers hear the bugs inside the wood?

A Cinnamon Woodpecker searches ants inside a Cecropia tree

A Cinnamon Woodpecker searches ants inside a Cecropia tree

Woodpeckers are among my favorite birds, they hit hardwoods and don’t get nuts! Seriously, if you think about it, it makes sense what I am saying.

They are just amazing:

  • Their tail as a “third leg”, used for support
  • They can hit the wood 10-16 times per second
  • Their tongues are long, sometimes extending 10 inches
  •  Their tongues have a feathery tip to pull their food out
  •  And they have the ability to hear insects in the wood! YES! you read well.

How can they hear in the wood? Their long and powerful tongues are like a harpoons, have some nerve-endings called Herbst Corpuscules which can sense the sounds of the insects as they walk inside the wood.

 

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