8 1/2-10 1/2" (22-27 cm). A medium-sized, black-and-white woodpecker. Larger than its relative, the Downy. Black-and-white striped head with black eye-mask. Light belly and breast; white back; black wings with white spots; large bill. Tail black with white outer tail feathers. Male has small red patch on nape.
Similar Species- Downy Woodpecker, Strickland's Woodpecker
A loud, sharp, high-pitched peek!, and a short Kingfisher-like rattle.
Breeds from western and central Alaska, east to northern Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, and south to northern Baja California, highlands of Middle America, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida. Winters generally throughout breeding range; more northern populations are partially migratory.
Eats mainly insects (beetles, ants, and caterpillars, but especially boring larvae). Also eats other invertebrates, and some fruits and nuts. Seeds may be important food in winter.
Uses various foraging substrates, ranging from dead and live trees to downed wood and ground. May concentrate feeding in areas of insect outbreaks. Nests in cavity in tree or standing snag. Uses tree cavities for roosting and winter cover. Female spends entire year on breeding territory, and is joined in late winter by male. Reported territory size is 0.6-15 ha (varies with habitat quality). In eastern U.S., individuals use forest areas of 2-4 ha or larger, though much larger area (possibly 12 ha) may be needed to support viable breeding population. In Iowa study, minimum width of riparian forest necessary to support breeding population was 40 m. Idaho study in hemlock and grand fir forests found species occurring in all life forms from burned and shrub areas to mature forests.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Peterson, S.R. 1982. A preliminary survey of forest bird communities in northern Idaho. Northwest Sci. 56:287-298.