Lewis's WoodpeckerMelanerpes lewis
- ORDER: Piciformes
- FAMILY: Picidae
The Lewis's Woodpecker might have woodpecker in its name, but it forages like a flycatcher and flies like a crow. It has a color palette all its own, with a pink belly, gray collar, and dark green back unlike any other member of its family. From bare branches and posts, it grabs insects in midair, flying with slow and deep wingbeats. It calls open pine forests, woodlands, and burned forests home, but it often wanders around nomadically outside of the breeding season in search of nuts.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Lewis's Woodpeckers might be easiest to find during the breeding season (Late April–July) when they are less nomadic. In open ponderosa pine forests and burned forests look for a bulky flicker-sized bird perched on bare branches, fence posts, or even wires. Although they aren't very vocal, their aerial maneuvers will surely catch your eye. Watch for them sallying out to catch insects in midair with a steady, crowlike flight. Outside of the breeding season, they tend to turn up in areas with good crops of acorns and other nuts, but they can be rather unpredictable.
- Carpintero de Lewis (Spanish)
- Pic de Lewis (French)
Provide habitat in your yard for Lewis's and other woodpeckers by leaving a dead tree standing if it isn't threatening your home. Learn more about standing dead trees and how to create bird friendly habitat in your yard at Habitat Network.
- Cool Facts
- The Lewis's Woodpecker seldom, if ever, digs into trees for wood-boring insects. Instead, it gleans insects from the bark, or more commonly, flycatches. It spends long periods watching for flying insects from the top of a pole or dead tree, and then flies out to catch them.
- The Lewis's Woodpecker was described by Alexander Wilson in 1811 and named after Meriwether Lewis who first saw the bird in 1805 while on his famous westward journey with William Clark.
- Like other woodpeckers, hatchling Lewis's Woodpeckers are naked without a single bit of down, unlike songbirds, which have at least a bit of fluffy down on their head and back when they hatch.