Great Slaty becomes World's Largest Woodpecker as Ivory Billed Goes Extinct

22 November 2021 | Vibhav peri | Crises

The Great Slaty Woodpecker, once the largest woodpecker in India, is now the largest woodpecker in the world.

This is because of the extinction of its western relative, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. The bird was last seen in 1944, and recently has been declared extinct.

A kayaker reported in 2004 that he had seen the bird, but it has neither been proven, nor has another definitive sighting occurred since.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is identified by its distinctive, contrasting black, white and red colouring. It was an icon of south-east USA.

The reason why it was not declared extinct so long was because keeping it on a list of critically-endangered species brings attention to it and keeps people on the lookout for the species.


The Great Slaty Woodpecker is a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List, due to habitat loss. Without proper conservation measures, its fate may be similar to that of its cousin.

Image Credits: By Original photo by Arthur A. Allen, 1935 [1], watercolored by Jerry A. Payne, USDA-ARS – This image is Image Number 2513013 at Forestry Images, a source for forest health, natural resources and silviculture images operated by The Bugwood Network at the University of Georgia and the USDA Forest Service., CC BY 3.0 us,

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