Living Bird Magazine
White-headed WoodpeckerDryobates albolarvatus
- ORDER: Piciformes
- FAMILY: Picidae
The White-headed Woodpecker is a bird of the pine forests of the far western mountains where it makes a living digging into unopened pine cones and eating the seeds. It is the only North American bird that has a white head and a black body.More ID Info
- Pico Cabeciblanco (Spanish)
- Pic à tête blanche (French)
- Cool Facts
- The White-headed Woodpecker, like most woodpeckers, nests in holes in trees. This species prefers to make holes in dead trees, snags, stumps, and even leaning and fallen logs.
- When a White-headed Woodpecker forages at pine cones it usually clings to the sides and bottoms of the cone to avoid making direct body contact with the sticky sap. The woodpecker wedges a large intact pine seed into a crevice in the bark of the tree where it will hammer the seed to break it apart.
- Both the male and female incubate the eggs, with the male doing all the nighttime work. They are very attentive to each other during incubation, and often communicate by soft drumming from both inside and outside the nest cavity.
- The oldest recorded White-headed Woodpecker was a female, and at least 4 years, 1 month old, when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Washington.