“Their brilliant white bills contrasted finely with the black of their general plumage. They were noisy but wary, and they seemed to me to set off the wildness of the swamp as much as any of the beasts they chase.”
Campephilus principalis – the ivory-billed woodpecker – is among the world’s largest woodpeckers. Only the imperial woodpecker of Mexico, now thought by many to be extinct, was larger than the ivory-bill.
The ivory-billed woodpecker once ranged through swampy forests in the southeastern and lower Mississippi valley states: from North Carolina to Florida and west to eastern Texas and Arkansas, with some 1800s reports in Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma. John James Audubon reported ivory-bills as far north as the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers around 1825.