Species Profile: Arizona Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker, Picoides arizonae

Learn more about this species in the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Introduction to the species

“The Arizona Woodpecker is, outside of the alpine three-toed and pileated, the most interesting member of the woodpecker family, that I have ever seen. So far as I have noted, the species is never common, never noisy and never at rest. … Not even the chickadees are as active as this little woodpecker.”
-F.H. Fowler 1903

At the northern end of the Sierra Madre Occidental, a series of “sky islands” rises out of the parched Sonoran Desert. The oak-dominated encinal gives way to Madrean pine-oak woodland, and a sharp keek rings out over the morning chorus of the Painted Redstart, Hepatic Tanager, and Scott’s Oriole. Just beneath the shallow canopy, the sharp call note is appended with the distinctive tattoo of a woodpecker drumming from the snapped-off limb of a large Emory oak. A second keek emanates from the creek bed below, and the chocolate brown Arizona Woodpecker exits his nest cavity in a sycamore snag, finished with his nighttime incubation duty, and ready for another day in paradise.

Gallery of photos of the Arizona Woodpecker by Steve Shunk

Return to List of Species of North American Woodpeckers page.

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