Next Article in Journal
Debitage and Drones: Classifying and Characterising Neolithic Stone Tool Production in the Shetland Islands Using High Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery
Previous Article in Journal
Powerplant Reliability Issues and Wear Monitoring in Aircraft Piston Engines. Part II: Engine Diagnostic
Article Menu
Issue 1 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Using a Drone to Search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)

Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA
Drones 2018, 2(1), 11;
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
PDF [23426 KB, uploaded 11 March 2018]


During the past several decades, there have been many reports of sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), but nobody has managed to obtain a clear photo, which is regarded as the standard form of evidence for documenting birds. A study was conducted in the Pearl River swamp in southeastern Louisiana to test the feasibility of searching for this elusive species and surveying its habitat using a DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone with a 4K video camera. Drone images are of much higher quality than images that were previously obtained at much greater expense during flights in a Cessna 172. The approach was found to be effective for searching for and inspecting trees that are potential foraging sites for woodpeckers and that might be suitable for nest and roost cavities. Large woodpeckers in flight are identifiable in video footage obtained from an altitude of 40 m, which was found to be sufficient to reliably avoid collisions with trees in the study area. View Full-Text
Keywords: ivory-billed woodpecker; conservation; photography; documentation; endangered species ivory-billed woodpecker; conservation; photography; documentation; endangered species

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Collins, M.D. Using a Drone to Search for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis). Drones 2018, 2, 11.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Drones EISSN 2504-446X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top