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Arizona Woodpecker


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A Mexican species of the pine-oak mountain woodlands, the Arizona Woodpecker barely makes its way into the United States and is found only in parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
7.1–7.9 in
18–20 cm
14.2 in
36 cm
1.2–1.8 oz
34–51 g
Other Names
  • Strickland's Woodpecker (in part), Brown-backed Woodpecker
  • Pic d'Arizona (French)
  • Carpintero de Arizona (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • One bold Arizona Woodpecker landed on the leg of a horse and hammered on it as if it was a tree. It came back for another rap after the horse moved off, and caused the horse to plunge and kick to keep it away.
  • The Arizona Woodpecker was considered the same species as the Strickland's Woodpecker of southern Mexico. Current thinking is that they are similar, but separate, species.
  • Reports of Arizona Woodpeckers traveling in large social groups, like its cooperatively breeding relative the Red-cockaded Woodpecker were inaccurate. The Arizona Woodpecker is not social. A pair with their three offspring is the largest group that has been observed.


Open Woodland

Restricted to oak and pine-oak woodland and associated sycamore-walnut riparian areas.



Adult and larval insects, especially beetle larvae, fruits, and acorns.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–4 eggs
Egg Description
Condition at Hatching
Hatch naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest in cavity in trees; unlined.

Nest Placement



Bark Forager

Pries, probes, and flakes off bark more than excavates. Often forages near ground. Works up a tree then flies to base of next tree. Joins in mixed species foraging flocks.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of Arizona Woodpecker at 200,000, with 4% living in the U.S., and 96% in Mexico. They rate a 14 out of 20 on the Continental concern Score and are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Effects of human activity on numbers is hard to determine. Habitat loss in Mexico may be a problem. High levels of groundwater removal and grazing may have a negative effect.


  • Johnson, R. R., L. T. Haight, and J. D. Ligon. 1999. Strickland's Woodpecker (Picoides stricklandi). In The Birds of North America, No. 500 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.

Range Map Help

Arizona Woodpecker Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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