White-headed Woodpecker is a unique species of pine forests of the far
western United States. They are not only the only woodpecker with
similar plumage, they are the only bird in North America with a white head
and a black body. They have a rather limited geographic range, as they
require large pine trees with heavy crops of pine seeds, as well as dead
trees, snags, and tree branches for nesting. While overall populations
currently are not threatened, habitat destruction and intensive forestry
activity have impacted the species in many areas.
Habitat: Found in mountainous pine forests of the
West, using a variety of pine species. They are only rarely found in
forests comprised of other conifer species.
Diet: Feeds heavily on pine seeds if available.
Also feeds on insects and spiders.
Behavior: Much of the foraging of a White-headed
Woodpecker consists of looking for pine cones and prying open the cones for
the seeds inside. They will climb along the trunks and branches of
conifer trees, looking for insects. They tend to be quieter and less
obvious than many woodpeckers, as when foraging for wood-boring beetles and
other insects, they pry bark away from the tree rather than actively
hammering and chipping it.
Nesting: The nest of a White-headed Woodpecker is
a cavity in a tree, with most nests placed in pine trees, but also sometimes
in other trees. Bot the male and female will help to excavate the
nest, with a new nest hole created each year. The female lays 3 to 6
eggs, and both parents help to incubate them. Both parents also help
to tend to the young and feed them after they hatch.
Song: Has a long rattling, chattering call, as
well as a crisp staccato pik call, typically given two or three
Migration: Considered non-migratory throughout its
range. There may be some short-distance elevational movements, with
birds moving to lower elevations for the winter in some areas.
Distinctive if seen well. They are the only bird in North America with
a black body and a white head.