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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Gila Woodpecker

Melanerpes uropygialis ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A conspicuous resident in the deserts of the Southwest and Mexico, the Gila Woodpecker is a characteristic bird of the saguaro cactus forests.

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Appearance

Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium- to large-sized woodpecker.
  • Back barred black-and-white.
  • Brown face and neck.
  • Male with red cap.

Immature Description

Juvenile is similar to adult, but duller and with restricted red on head of male.

Range Map Help

Gila Woodpecker Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult male

    Gila Woodpecker

    Adult male
    • In U.S., occurs mainly in southern Arizona
    • Horizontally barred black-and-white back
    • Head mostly plain brown
    • Male has red crown patch
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, December 2008
  • Adult female

    Gila Woodpecker

    Adult female
    • Often seen on saguaro cactus
    • Horizontally barred black-and-white back
    • Barred central tail feathers and rump
    • Female has unmarked brown head
    • © GarretB, Tucson, Arizona, May 2009
  • Adult female

    Gila Woodpecker

    Adult female
    • Female has unmarked brown head
    • Horizontally barred black-and-white back
    • Barred central tail feathers and rump
    • © William Kendall/PFW, Tucson, Arizona, November 2007

Similar Species

  • Adult female

    Williamson's Sapsucker

    Adult female
    • Range overlaps with Gila, but found in mountains
    • Much more barring on flanks and nape
    • White, unbarred rump
    • Black band on breast
    • © Vicki Blitz, Okanogan, Washington, March 2009
  • Adult female

    Northern Flicker

    Adult female
    • Barred back is black and brown, not black and white
    • Underparts strongly marked with black
    • Gray head with brown through eyes, instead of uniform gray-brown
    • Conspicuous white rump patch instead of barred rump
    • © Darin Ziegler, Colorado Springs, Colorado, February 2009

Similar Species