White-headed Woodpecker

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White-headed Woodpecker

Dryobates albolarvatus
  • ORDER: Piciformes
  • FAMILY: Picidae
Basic Description

The White-headed Woodpecker is an unusual woodpecker restricted to mountainous pine forests of the western states and British Columbia. It’s a glossy black bird with a gleaming white head and neck, augmented in males with a red crown patch. White-headed Woodpeckers feed heavily on large pine seeds, and are most associated with old-growth ponderosa pine and sugar pine forests. They also often use recently burned areas. They tend not to drill into wood to get insects, but rather flake away bark or probe into needle clusters.

More ID Info
image of range map for White-headed WoodpeckerRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

To find White-headed Woodpeckers, look for large pines, particularly ponderosa pine and sugar pine. Keep an eye on these pines' large cones, as White-headeds often cling to them to extract the large seeds inside. They are not as noisy in foraging as other woodpeckers, but they do drum during the spring, and this can help you narrow in on them as well.

Other Names
  • Pico Cabeciblanco (Spanish)
  • Pic à tête blanche (French)

Backyard Tips

If you live in mountain pine forests, White-headed Woodpeckers may come to feeders that offer suet.

  • Cool Facts