White-headed Woodpecker: Medium-sized woodpecker, mostly black with large white wing patches. Head and throat are white; nape patch is red and narrow. Small black stripe behind the eye. Bill is black and small. Legs and feet are black. This is the only North American woodpecker with a white head.
Range and Habitat
White-headed Woodpecker: Resident from extreme south-central British Columbia, northeastern Washington, and Idaho, south to southern California and western Nevada. Some birds migrate down mountain slopes in the winter. Ponderosa pine belts in mountains are the preferred habitat.
The White-headed Woodpecker is approximately 20 cm long in adulthood, and is found in pine woodlands on mountains throughout western North America. The range of this species spans from the mountains of British Columbia to southern California. Nests are built in dead trees or snags via holes pecked by the bird. Food is either caught in-flight or foraged and found on the ground, and diets consist of insects, seeds, berries and nuts, including pine cones. Northern populations may migrate short distances, but most are permanent residents. The conservation rating for the White-headed Woodpecker is Least Concern.
The White-headed Woodpecker was first described in 1850 by John Cassin, an American ornithologist. It is one of the most poorly studied woodpeckers in North America.
Because they pry rather than hammer bark from trees and forage by excavating cones, their foraging tends to be quieter than that of other woodpeckers.
The larger bill of the southern subspecies may an adaptation for being better able to feed on the large, spiny cones of Coulter Pines.
A group of woodpeckers has many collective nouns, including a "descent", "drumming", and "gatling" of woodpeckers.