Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Ivory-billed Woodpecker - Campephilus principalis
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General Comments As most birders are fully aware, the spectacular Ivory-billed Woodpecker is either extinct, or probably extinct. Though there was a flurry of reports in the past decade from eastern Arkansas, as well as less publicized reports from the panhandle of Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, if the species still survives, it might be in Cuba, where a population had persisted until a few decades ago. The Ivory-billed -- last conclusively seen in the United States in eastern Louisiana into the early 1940's -- was a denizen of old-growth and extensive swamps and bottomlands, from eastern South Carolina, and possibly extreme southeastern North Carolina, west to eastern Texas, as well as in Cuba. Interestingly, it seemed to require large living pines in the floodplains for some or much of its foraging; it was not a bird of pure cypress-gum stands, for example. Its demise was caused mainly by extensive logging of these floodplains.

NOTE: There have been scattered reports of Ivory-billeds over the decades in the state, mainly in the Coastal Plain, but these were made by inexperienced observers, and certainly there has never been any photographic documentation for these. There is only one state record accepted by the NC BRC (see below).

Breeding Status Extinct; Former Probable Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status E
U.S. Status E
State Rank SX
Global Rank G1
Coastal Plain One was captured alive in the early 1800's by Alexander Wilson and kept briefly in a motel room. The bird died within three days of capture, but apparently the specimen was not saved. The site was apparently near Wilmington. As this occurred before photography had been invented, we are left only with historical account writings.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2012-07-14], LeGrand[2011-12-10], LeGrand[2011-07-08]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Campephilus principalis