Certain birds, particularly woodpeckers, engage in a specialized kind of pecking, using their beak to drill holes in trees in order to find insects under the bark. Woodpeckers also engage in a kind of pecking called drumming, a less-forceful type of pecking that serves to establish territory and attract mates. Woodpeckers drum on various reverberatory structures on buildings such as gutters, downspouts, chimneys, vents and aluminium sheeting.
The phrase, pecking order, referring to the hierarchical system of social organization was coined by Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe in 1921, in reference to the expression of dominance in chickens by behaviors including pecking. Schjelderup-Ebbe noted in his 1924 German-language article that "defense and aggression in the hen is accomplished with the beak". This emphasis on pecking led many subsequent studies on fowl behaviour to use it as a primary observation, however, it has been noted that roosters tend to leap and use their claws in conflicts.
- Harris Philip Zeigler, Ralf Jäger, and Adrian G. Palacios, "Sensorimotor mechanisms and pecking in the pigeon", in Harris Philip Zeigler and Hans-Joachim Bischof, Vision, Brain, and Behavior in Birds (1993), p. 265.
- "Stopping Woodpecker Damage". Joy of Birds. March 22, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- "Three Reasons Why Woodpeckers Drill Holes on Houses". Woodpeckers. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2002. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Perrin, P.G., (1955). Pecking order 1927-54. American Speech, 30(4): 265-268
- Schjelderup-Ebbe, 1975 p. 36 cited in Rajecki, D.W. (1988)
- Rajecki, D.W. (1988). Formation of leap orders in pairs of male domestic chickens. Aggressive Behavior, 14(6): 425-436