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Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Melanerpes aurifrons ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A stripe-backed woodpecker of Mexico and Central America, the Golden-fronted Woodpecker reaches the United States only in the brushlands and open woodlands of Texas and Oklahoma.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
8.7–10.2 in
22–26 cm
Wingspan
16.9 in
43 cm
Weight
2.3–3.6 oz
65–102 g
Other Names
  • Pic à front doré (French)
  • Carpintero cheje (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is composed of four subspecies that differ in size, amount of barring on the tail, and the color of the nape, nasal tufts, and belly. Whereas the nape of the form found in Texas and most of Mexico is yellow to orange, it is red on the Yucatan Peninsula and orange farther south. The four forms were formerly considered different species.
  • The Golden-fronted Woodpecker consumes about as much fruit and nuts as it does insects. In summer in Texas, the faces of some woodpeckers become stained purple from eating fruit of the prickly pear cactus.
  • The oldest recorded Golden-fronted Woodpecker was a male, and at least 5 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Texas.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Open to semiopen woodlands, second-growth forests, and brushlands.

Food


Insects

Insects, fruit, seeds, occasional birds' eggs and lizards.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–7 eggs
Egg Description
White.
Condition at Hatching
Naked and helpless with eyes closed.
Nest Description

Nests in holes in limbs and trunks of live or dead trees.

Nest Placement

Cavity

Behavior


Bark Forager

Gleans insects from bark, probes into holes and dead wood, scales bark, hawks for flying insects.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Golden-fronted Woodpecker populations declined between 1966 and 2014 by about 46%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 3 million, with 23% living in the U.S., and 64% in Mexico. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Golden-fronted Woodpecker populations may benefit from the proliferation of mesquite on rangeland.

Credits

Range Map Help

Golden-fronted Woodpecker Range Map
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