Woodpeckers remain one of the most popular families of birds, and they are certainly one of the more unusual. Their legendary ability to excavate holes in wood is well known, and they are uniquely adapted for living in trees – though a few species have become more adapted to ground-dwelling. The family ranges from the tiny piculets of tropical forests to the mighty Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico, sadly now extinct. In between there is a considerable variety of species, all of a roughly similar shape and design, inhabiting forests and woodlands throughout the world except Australasia and Antarctica.
Woodpeckers of the World is the first definitive guide to woodpeckers; it covers all 239 species. Detailed text looks at the biology of the birds, with particular emphasis on field identification, along with voice, habitat, status, racial variation and distribution. The text is accompanied by a series of high-quality photographs – more than 300 images, carefully selected to highlight identification criteria. Each species entry is completed by an accurate colour range map.
A sister to Owls of the World, Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere and the in-preparation Hummingbirds of the World in the Helm Photographic Guides series, Woodpeckers of the World is an informative, fact-filled and beautifully illustrated guide to a group beloved by all birders.
"[...] For most readers the big draw will be the high-quality photographs that illustrate each species. Over 200 photographers supplied images for the book and it is hard to find a page that does not include a photograph. The quality is outstanding and there is not a single photograph I would have rejected. A big effort has been made to find images of both sexes for dimorphic species, and in some cases juveniles are also shown. References are mostly restricted to those published since 2002, but this still results in details of about 350 papers. This is a really attractive book, which is well designed and provides concise information without compromising on quality."
- Keith Betton, British Birds 107(10): 658–659
"[...] How does this book compare with previous accounts of the species group (Winkler et al. 1995, HBW 2002)? There is no doubt that the photographs and clear presentation are the strong points but inevitably this means there is less space for supporting text. A reader wishing to delve into more detail will find this book a little frustrating. This is a small criticism but, although there is a bibliography of references, this is limited and individual references are not cited specifically in the text making it difficult to follow up on anything. Would I buy the book? Yes for its superb photographs and clear presentation but I will still reach for HBW if I seriously want to check out some facts or find my way into the literature."
- Ken Smith, BTO news, September 2014
" [...] This book is a photographic guide and can be used to help learn and maybe even identify most of the woodpeckers. However, for anyone wondering how to use this book, I would not call it an identification guide. The photos are good but do not show all the plumage variations; and, the text is geared towards giving an overall natural history account for the bird aided with detailed descriptions. Regardless, this is great book to have since it is the only photographic guide to include all woodpecker species on the planet and is replete with great photography."
- Jack at Avian Review, 6 July 2014