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Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Dryobates scalaris


This is a male. It is a small woodpecker with a red cap (females do not have a red cap), short straight black bill, and zygodactyl feet. They have black and white markings on their backs which resemble the rungs of a ladder. Their wings are checkered black and white. The underparts of these woodpeckers are buff or white in color and speckled with black markings.


Habitat: thorn forests, deserts, river woods, groves and depending on location areas with the following trees and plants: mesquite, paloverde, catclaw, yucca, hackberry, and juniper to name a few. Range: southwestern United States, southern Nevada and southeastern Colorado, throughout Mexico, Central America, and Nicaragua. Nest: Cavities within trees,large cacti, and wooden posts. Ladderbacks have one brood per year with a clutch size of 2-7 eggs. Diet: Mainly insects. Will eat some berries and fruits.


In recent years I've seen more and more Ladderbacks in our area! FUN FACTS: 1. Ladderbacked Woodpecker's often hybridize with Nuttall's Woodpeckers. 2. The oldest Ladderback on record was four and a half years old. It was a male that was caught and then released again. Ref:

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I agree Lauren! I have had the privilege of observing two nesting pairs within the past two years.

LaurenZarate 11 months ago

Beautiful Woodpecker!

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Spotted on Feb 5, 2018
Submitted on Jun 25, 2019

Spotted for Mission

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