- 9.4 in
- 16.1 in
- 1.8–2.8 oz
- Pic des saguaros (French)
- Carpintero de Gila, Carpintero del desierto (Spanish)
- When a pair of Gila Woodpeckers excavates a nest hole in a saguaro cactus, it typically does not use it for several months. Drying time is required for the inner pulp of the cactus to form a solid casing around the cavity.
- The male Gila Woodpecker forages mainly on the trunk and main branches of saguaro cacti, while the female concentrates on the periphery and diseased areas.
- Then oldest recorded Gila Woodpecker was a male in Arizona, who was at least 7 years, 9 months old.
Found in deserts that have large cacti or trees suitable for nesting (especially saguaro cactus), dry subtropical forests, riparian woodlands, and residential areas.
Insects, fruit, seeds, occasional birds' eggs, and lizards.
- Clutch Size
- 2–7 eggs
- Egg Description
- Condition at Hatching
- Naked and helpless.
Hole in saguaro cactus or tree. Cavity unlined.
Gleans insects from bark, probes into holes and dead wood, takes food from ground.
Gila Woodpecker populations declined by about 49% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 1.6. million birds, with 28% living in the U.S., and 72% in Mexico. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. These woodpeckers are threatened by human development of Sonoran Desert and by competition for nest sites with European Starlings.
- Edwards, H. H., and G. D. Schnell. 2000. Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis). In The Birds of North America, No. 532 (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.
- Partners in Flight. 2012. Species assessment database.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2014. North American Breeding Bird Survey 1966–2014 Analysis.