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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Picoides scalaris ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small black-and-white woodpecker of the southwestern United States and Mexico that forages and nests in cactus.

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Appearance

Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • A small black-and-white woodpecker of the southwestern United States and Mexico that forages and nests in cactus.

Male Description

Red cap extends from nape to mid-crown, where it turns spotted red, black, and white.

Female Description

Black from nape to forehead. May have white spots or streaks on forehead and crown.

Immature Description

Juveniles of both sexes have red on crown. Red feathering is less extensive than on adult male.

Range Map Help

Ladder-backed Woodpecker Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Nuttall's Woodpecker male has red on hind crown only. Also has narrower white stripes, especially the stripe below the eye, white nasal feathers, whiter underparts, and outer tail feathers with spots and not complete barring.
  • Downy Woodpecker has pure white in the middle of the back, pure white underparts, no white streaking on crown, and the black eye and malar stripes do not join.