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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.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
6.3–7.1 in
16–18 cm
Weight
0.7–1.7 oz
21–48 g
Other Names
  • Pic arlequin (French)
  • Carpintero listado, Carpintero chilillo, Carpintero mexicano (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Although it is restricted to desert and arid environments in the United States, the Ladder-backed Woodpecker is found in pinelands in Central America.
  • The oldest known Ladder-backed Woodpecker was a male and at least 4 years, 6 months old when he was caught and released in Texas. He had been banded in the same state.

Habitat


Deserts

Found in deserts and desert scrub.

Food


Insects

Insects and arthropods.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4–7 eggs
Egg Description
White eggs
Condition at Hatching
Young hatch naked and helpless.
Nest Description

Nest in cavity in trees and cactus.

Nest Placement

Cavity

Behavior


Bark Forager

Forages by gleaning, probing, prying, and tapping; only occasionally excavates.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Ladder-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.

Credits

Range Map Help

Ladder-backed Woodpecker Range Map
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