10 1/2-11 1/2" (27-29 cm). A large, dark woodpecker, slightly smaller than a flicker. Metallic greenish-black back, head, and tail; collar and breast gray, pinkish-red belly; dark red face patch framed with greenish black. Sexes look alike. Immatures duller; lack red face and gray collar; have less extensive red below.
Usually silent; it occasionally gives a low, harsh churring note or a series of harsh churr notes.
Breeds from southwestern Canada, Montana, and southern Great Plains states, south to south-central California, central Arizona, southern New Mexico, and eastern Colorado. Winters mainly from northern Oregon, southern Idaho, central Colorado, and south-central Nebraska, south irregularly to northern Mexico, southern New Mexico, and western Texas.
Feeds mainly on insects (e.g., ants, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, tent caterpillars). Also eats fruits and nuts.
Nests in cavity in tree, frequently on dead limb; may nest on pole. Catches prey in air; also drops from perch to capture prey on ground. Stores nuts in natural cavities for use in non-breeding season. May damage orchard crops. Primarily uses cavities excavated by other species.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Saab, V.A. and J. Dudley. 1995. Nest usurpation and cavity use by Lewis' Woodpecker. USDA Forest Service Inter. Res. Sta. Rep., Boise. 13pp.