A large, dark, black-backed woodpecker, with an extensive i pinkish red belly (the only North American woodpecker so colored). Has a i wide gray collar and d
ark red face patch. The pink underparts and wide black wings are the best marks. Sexes similar. Has straight crowlike flight; fly-catching habit.
Scattered or logged forest, river groves, burns, foothill
Because of aerial foraging, needs open country in summer, with large trees for nest sites and foraging perches. Often in cottonwood groves, open pine-oak woods, burned or cut-over woods. Winter habitat chosen in autumn for food supply, usually groves of
oaks, sometimes date palms, orchards of pecans, walnuts, almonds, fruit.
Mostly insects, nuts, fruits. Eats many insects; also fruits and berries, plus acorns and other nuts.
During spring and summer, forages mainly by catching insects in flight: sallying forth from a perch or circling high in air to catch flying insects, or swooping down to catch those on the ground. Also gleans some insects from tree surfaces and takes berr
ies in trees. During fall, harvests acorns or other nuts, breaks them into pieces, stores them in bark crevices or holes in trees, to feed on them during winter.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
Pairs may mate for life, and may use the same nest site repeatedly. Displays (used in both aggression and courtship) include perching with wings spread, head lowered, neck feathers ruffed out; floating circular flight around nest tree.
b Nest: Site is cavity excavated in tree (tree or limb usually dead), sometimes in utility pole, at site apparently chosen by male. Height of nest varies
, from 5 to well over 100 above ground, probably usually lower than 60. No nest material other than wood chips in cavity.
b Clutch 6-7, sometimes 4-9. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with males incubating at night and part of day), 12-16 days.
b Young: Both parents bring back insects in bill to feed nestlings. Young leave nest 4-5 weeks after hatching, remain with parents for some time thereafter.
Southwestern Canada, western United States. b
Migration: Some may be permanent residents, others move south and to lower elevations in winter. Quite variable from year to year; in some winters, large numbers invade lowlands of the Southwest. May migrate singly or in flocks.
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- Conservation Status