Arizona Woodpecker was once considered conspecific with the Strickland's
Woodpecker, but they are now considered separate species by most
authorities. They are primarily a bird of Mexico, with a range that
just crosses into the United States in extreme southern Arizona and New
Mexico. As with many Picoides woodpeckers, males and females are very
similar in appearance, except the male has a red patch on the back of his
head. While at first glance they may appear to be similar in shape and
structure to other North American woodpeckers species, they are the only
North American woodpecker with a solid brown back.
Habitat: In the United States portion of its
range, the Arizona Woodpecker is found in lower to mid-elevation oaks and
oak-pine woodlands. They tend to be found at higher elevations further
south in the Mexican part of their range, in pine forests.
Diet: Feeds mostly on insects, especially on the
larvae of wood-boring beetles. Also feeds on fruits and berries, and
occasionally nuts and acorns. They have also been seen feeding on the
nectar of certain flowers such as agaves.
Behavior: Forages by climbing on the trunks and
branches of trees, probing for insects and flaking off bits of bark to
access wood-boring beetles and their larvae. When foraging, they often start
at the base of a tree, work their way up, and then fly down towards the base
of another tree to start again.
Nesting: The nest of an Arizona Woodpecker is a
cavity in a dead portion of a tree, or sometimes in other cavities such as
in the stalk of a large agave. The male likely does most of the
excavation of the nest hole. Three or four eggs are laid, and both parents
help to incubate them. After hatching, both parents help to feed the
Song: Has a harsh rattling call that descends in
pitch. The common call is a squeaky peek.
Migration: Considered a permanent resident
throughout their range. The only movements are minor elevational
movements in response to season, with some birds moving short distances to
lower elevations in winter.
Distinctive plumage if seen well. Arizona Woodpeckers are the only
woodpecker in the United States with a solid brown back. Similar in
structure and behavior to the Hairy
Feeders: Will attend feeders for suet, fruit,