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Lewis's Woodpecker

Melanerpes lewis ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A dark woodpecker of open woodlands, the Lewis's Woodpecker is found westward of the Great Plains. Its slow, deliberate flight reminds one of a crow or jay more than a woodpecker.

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
10.2–11 in
26–28 cm
Wingspan
19.3–20.5 in
49–52 cm
Weight
3.1–4.9 oz
88–138 g
Other Names
  • Pic de Lewis (French)
  • Carpintero de Lewis (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Lewis's Woodpecker seldom, if ever, excavates wood for boring insects. Instead, it gleans insects from the tree surface, or most commonly, flycatches. It spends long periods of time watching for flying insects from the top of a pole or dead tree, and then flies out to catch them in flight.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Food


Insects

Nesting

Nest Placement

Cavity

Behavior


Aerial Forager

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Lewis's Woodpecker populations declined by about 82% between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimate a global breeding population of 70,000 birds, with 96% spending some part of the year in the U.S., 4% in Canada, and 7% in Mexico. The species rates a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. Lewis's Woodpecker is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats.

Credits

Range Map Help

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Meriwether Lewis Would be Proud: Helping Lewis's namesake woodpecker in Oregon. Story and photos in Living Bird Magazine.

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