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White-headed Woodpecker Picoides albolarvatus


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White-headed Woodpecker, male
credit: Dave Menke

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Picidae, Woodpeckers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has white head, red on rear of crown, and otherwise mainly black plumage, including nape. Note the white patch at base of primaries. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but rear of crown is black, not red. JUVENILE Similar, but pale red wash on crown.

Dimensions Length: 9" (23 cm)

Habitat Local resident, restricted by precise habitat requirements and threatened by modern forestry. Needs undisturbed mature montane pine forest comprising several species and of mixed age so that feeding and nesting requirements are met; standing dead and dying trees provide suitable nest sites.

Observation Tips Reasonably easy to find in remaining suitable habitat in California and Oregon.

Range California, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada, Southwest, Northwest

Voice Utters a rapid, staccato tik-er-tik.

Discussion Unmistakable woodpecker, with a largely white face and otherwise mainly black plumage. In flight, note the white patch at the base of the primaries and the proportionately long tail. Feeds on pine seeds, extracted from cones, and by probing for insects under bark and among needles. Nests in natural tree cavities and excavates fresh nest sites. Sexes are separable with care.