There are more than 200 different kinds of woodpeckers in the world, some 45 of which are in the United States. Kansas has 13 different kinds of woodpeckers. Woodpeckers prefer habitat in the form of mature and old woodlands where there are standing dead trees or large dead limbs in older living trees.
The bills of woodpeckers are straight, sturdy and sharp pointed and are used to chisel through or under the bark in search of wood-burrowing insect grubs, spiders and ants. The woodpeckers also use their bills to chisel out their nesting cavities as well as night roosting cavities.
Woodpeckers have special adaptations in their tongues that enable them to capture and eat insects. Sapsuckers, which are true woodpeckers, eat sap they obtain by pecking rows of small holes through the bark of live trees. Small brush-like bristles on their tongues lap up the insects attracted to the sap as well as lapping up the sap itself.
The tail and feet hold the bird firmly anchored to the tree trunk. Strong neck muscles provide the force necessary to drill holes, and special bristly feathers around their nostrils filter out the wood dust as the woodpeckers chisel away.