Woody Woodpecker is an iconic American cartoon character. He first debuted in the early 1940s, becoming the official mascot of Universal Studios along the way.

In multiple cartoons starring Woody, he's identified as a "Campephilus principalis." More casually known as an ivory-billed woodpecker. But even by the time, Woody hit the big time, and the ivory-bill was already in trouble.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it's extinct

Officials with the United States government have decided that the ivory-billed woodpecker has sadly gone extinct. As such, they've motioned for it to be removed from the Endangered Species List.

It's been decades since the last confirmed sighting of the bird. The last official time was in Cuba, well over 30 years ago, and it was much longer than that in the United States. In the United States, ivory-bills had tended to reside in the South, often in swampy areas.

The ivory-bill was formally categorized as an endangered species in the 1960s. As indicated by the Associated Press, experts already grim about the bird's prospects then. Other species have made significant comebacks after going on the list and receiving the accorded protections. Including, but not limited to, the bald eagle and the humpback whale.

Not everybody agrees that the ivory-bill is gone. There've been many unconfirmed reports of the species in the U.S.

and Cuba in more recent years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has not changed its status regarding the ivory-billed woodpecker. Rather, it continues to be considered critically endangered.

At the same time as the ivory-bill, 22 other species were also categorized as extinct by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The list includes ten other types of birds.

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Along with eight species of mussels, two kinds of fish, one bat, and one plant.

Apparently not the only species to influenced Woody Woodpecker

Although Woody was identified as an ivory-bill, he's (not surprisingly) an exact representation of one. Perhaps the most key shared trait is their size. Ivory-bills are considered one of the largest woodpecker species ever to exist, matching up with illustrations of Woody.

There are also some other similar physical attributes.

What type of species Woody has actually, believe it or not, been a hot topic of debate among ornithologists. Many believe he more closely resembles the pileated woodpecker. Including the character's famous laugh. An often-times smaller variety of the bird, native to much of North America. Both the ivory-bill and the pileated woodpecker closely resemble Mexico's imperial woodpecker, possibly also extinct.

The character was created by animators Walter Luntz and Ben Hardaway. Both had also helped create Bugs Bunny along with Daffy Duck for Warner Bros.. According to popular lore, the original inspiration Woody began with an acorn woodpecker.

As the story goes, a loud one pecked holes into the roof of Luntz's cabin. Later, his wife supposedly suggested he make a cartoon out of the bird.

Woody first appeared cinematically as a supporting character in a short entitled "Knock Knock". His television debut came with the now-iconic series "The Woody Woodpecker Show" in 1957. Other major appearances by the character included several comic books and comic strips.