Skip to main content

Lewis's Woodpecker

Silhouette WoodpeckersWoodpeckers
Lewis's WoodpeckerMelanerpes lewis
  • ORDER: Piciformes
  • FAMILY: Picidae

Basic Description

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
image of range map for Lewis's Woodpecker
Range map provided by Birds of the World
Explore Maps

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.

Other Names

  • Carpintero de Lewis (Spanish)
  • Pic de Lewis (French)

Backyard Tips

Provide habitat in your yard for Lewis's and other woodpeckers by leaving a dead tree standing if it isn't threatening your home.

  • Cool Facts