Ladder-backed Woodpecker Life History


Habitat DesertsFound in deserts and desert scrub.Back to top


Food InsectsInsects and arthropods.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cavity

Nest Description

Nest in cavity in trees and cactus.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:4-7 eggs
Egg Description:White eggs
Condition at Hatching:Young hatch naked and helpless.
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Behavior Bark ForagerForages by gleaning, probing, prying, and tapping; only occasionally excavates.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernLadder-backed Woodpecker populations were relatively stable between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 6 million with 36% living in the U.S., and 63% in Mexico. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Ladder-backed Woodpecker is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Back to top


Lowther, Peter E., Peter Pyle and Michael A. Patten. 2017. Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris), version 3.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. 2014. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center 2014b. Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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