|a male from the northern subspecies group|
The golden-fronted woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons) is a North American woodpecker. Its preferred habitat is mesquite and riparian woodlands. It is distributed from Texas and Oklahoma in the United States through Mexico to Honduras and northern Nicaragua. Cooke listed this species as an abundant resident of the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in 1884.
Recent genetic data indicate that the species as currently constructed is paraphyletic. The golden-fronted, golden-naped, wide-bar-backed birds from the north of the range ("true" golden-fronted woodpeckers) were shown to be more closely related to red-bellied woodpecker than the red-fronted, red-naped, narrow-bar-backed birds from the south. It was suggested that the latter population, the santacruzi group, be treated as a separate species, Velasquez's woodpecker. It is found from eastern Mexico to Nicaragua.
Nesting behavior of the golden-fronted is similar to that of the red-bellied woodpecker. Tall trees of pecan, oak, and mesquite are the major species used for nesting. Occasionally fence posts, telephone poles, and bird boxes are used.
The diet of the golden-fronted woodpecker consists of both insects and vegetable matter. Grasshoppers make up more than half of the animal matter and other insects include beetles and ants. Vegetable matter consumed consists of corn, acorns, wild fruits, and berries.
from the Mexican Boundary Survey
from Roma, Texas
A "Velasquez's" woodpecker (M. a. dubius) from the Yucatán.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Melanerpes aurifrons". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Husak, Michael S. and Terry C. Maxwell. (1998). Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/373 doi:10.2173/bna.373
- Agriculture Handbook No. 511. November 1977. Forest Service. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Virgil E. Scott, Denver Wildlife Research Center. Keith E. Evans, North Central Forest Experiment Station. David R. Patton, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Charles P. Stone, Denver Wildlife Research Center. Illustrated by Arthur Singer.
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