Jul 31 2015
Though he’s called the Arizona woodpecker this brown-and-white bird is slightly misnamed. Most of his range is in Mexico.
He’s one of nine Picoides woodpeckers found in North America, each with its own special habitat. Some of them are familiar and wide ranging. Others have such specific needs that you must travel to see them.
Here’s how they’ve divided up the continent. At least one of them lives near you.
- Downy woodpecker: found in most of North America in open woodlands and along streams.
- Hairy: found in most of North America in mature woodlands.
- Ladder-backed: in desert and desert scrub among cactus in the Southwest.
- Nuttall’s: in California’s oak woodlands.
- Red-cockaded: found in mature longleaf pine forests in the southeastern U.S.; endangered.
- Black-backed: in Canada and northern U.S. in boreal and coniferous forests with burned trees.
- White-headed: in pine forests in Pacific Northwest and California mountains.
- American Three-toed: in the Rockies and Canada in boreal and coniferous forests disturbed by disease or fire.
- Arizona: in pine-oak forests in the mountains of Mexico and southeastern Arizona.
Like his familiar Downy and Hairy relatives in Pennsylvania, this woodpecker visits suet feeders and that’s where I saw him for the first time at Madera Canyon.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image to see the original)