Ladder-backed woodpecker

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Ladder-backed woodpecker
Ladder-back Woodpecker on Cactus.jpg
Adult male outside cavity
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picoides
Species: P. scalaris
Binomial name
Picoides scalaris
(Wagler, 1829)

The ladder-backed woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) is a North American woodpecker.

Range and habitat[edit]

The ladder-backed woodpecker is fairly common in dry brushy areas and thickets and has a rather large range. The species can be found year-round over the southwestern United States (north to extreme southern Nevada and extreme southeastern Colorado), most of Mexico, and locally in Central America as far south as Nicaragua.

Description[edit]

The ladder-backed woodpecker is a small woodpecker about 16.5 to 19 cm (6½ to 7½ inches) in length. It is primarily colored black and white, with a barred pattern on its back and wings resembling the rungs of a ladder. Its rump is speckled with black, as are its cream-colored underparts on the breast and flanks. Southern populations have duskier buff breasts and distinctly smaller bills. Adult males have a red crown patch that is smaller in immatures and lacking in adult females. The ladder-backed woodpecker is very similar in appearance to Nuttall's woodpecker, but has much less black on its head and upper back, and the range of the two species only intersects a minimal amount in southern California and northern Baja California. Hybrids are known.

Comparison of ladder-backed (above) and Nuttall's woodpeckers

Ladder-backed woodpeckers nest in cavities excavated from tree trunks, or in more arid environments a large cactus will do. The female lays between 2 and 7 eggs, which are plain white. The eggs are incubated by both sexes, but the nesting period and other details are unknown.

Like most other woodpeckers the ladder-backed woodpecker bores into tree-trunks with its chisel-like bill to hunt for insects and their larva, but it also feeds on fruit produced by cacti.

References[edit]

  • Howell, Steve N. G.; Sophie Webb (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854012-4. 

External links[edit]