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Campephilus principalis, Ivory-billed Woodpecker
DigiMorph Staff - The University of Texas at Austin
Campephilus principalis
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Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CU 51246)

Image processing: Dr. Amy Balanoff
Image processing: Dr. Julian Humphries
Publication Date: 04 May 2005

CU 51246: head
USNM 345166: whole | head


The status of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the United States has been uncertain since 1942 when the last photographs were taken of this species. Recent sightings in Arkansas, however, confirm that Campephilus principalis is still living. The ecology of C. principalis has been well documented; yet, little is known about the osteology of this incredibly rare bird. The lack of skeletal specimens in museum collections makes this aspect of its biology even more difficult to study. DigiMorph obtained and scanned both a mounted specimen (shown here) and a preserved specimen (USNM 345166) of the ivory-billed woodpecker in order to produce imagery of the internal and external morphology of the organism, such as the falsely colored image above. Although both specimens are in less than excellent condition, this is one of the few ways to view the morphology of one of the rarest birds in North America.

More information about the ivory-billed woodpecker is available on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

About the Species

This specimen is a female ivory-billed woodpecker that has been mounted for display (Fig. 1). Unfortunately the preparation required that most of the skeleton be removed and replaced with medal wires and pins; however, the skull, wings, and feet remain in the specimen (Fig. 2).

Figure 1

Figure 2

The specimen was made available to The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning courtesy of the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates. Funding for scanning was provided by an National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Timothy Rowe of The University of Texas at Austin.

About this Specimen

This specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 3 May 2005 along the horizontal axis for a total of 339 slices. Each slice is 0.2 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.2 mm and a field of reconstruction of 152 mm.

About the

Baumel, J. J., A. S. King, J. E. Breazile, H. E. Evans, and J. C. Vanden Berge (eds.). 1993. Handbook of Avian Anatomy: Nomina Anatomica Avium, Second Edition. Publication of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, number 23. Nuttall Ornithological Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 779 pp.

Bock, W. J. 1999b. Functional and evolutionary morphology of woodpeckers. Ostrich 70:23-31.

Burt, W. H. 1930. Adaptive modifications in the woodpeckers. University of California Publications in Zoology 32:455-524.

Fitzpatrick, J. W., M. Lammertink. M. D. Luneau, Jr., T. W. Gallagher, B. R. Harrison, G. M. Sparling, K. V. Rosenberg, R. W. Rohrbaugh, E. C. H. Swarthout, P. H. Wrege, S. B. Swarthout, M. S. Dantzker, R. A. Charif, T. R. Barksdale, J. V. Remsen, Jr., S. D. Simon, and D. Zollner. 2005. Ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) persists in continental North America. Science 308:1460-1462.

Parker, W. K. 1875. On the morphology of the skull in the woodpeckers (Picidae) and wrynecks (Yungidae). Transactions of the Linnean Society, London 1:1-22.

Shufeldt, R. W. 1900. On the osteology of the woodpeckers. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 39:578-622.


More information about the ivory-billed woodpecker is available on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

& Links

None available.


To cite this page: DigiMorph Staff, 2005, "Campephilus principalis" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Campephilus_principalis/CU51246/.

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