Friday, 11 February 2011

Arizona woodpecker

Picoides arizonae

Photo by Alan Wilson (Naturepicsonline)

Common name:
Arizona woodpecker (en); pica-pau-do-Arizona (pt); pic d'Arizona (fr); carpintero de Arizona (es); Arizonaspecht (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Picidae

This species cccurs in the United States, the mountains of extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona, and in Mexico through the Sierra Madre Occidental of Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Zacatecas, and Michoaca.

This small woodpecker is 18-20 cm long and has a wingspan of 36 cm. They weigh 34-51 g.

The Arizona woodpecker is restricted to Madrean woodland and forests riparian areas, where they are especially dependent on evergreen oaks and adjacent riparian woodland, occuring in mountain oak or pine-oak habitats. They are found at altitudes of 1.200-2100 m.

They mostly eat adult and larval insects, especially beetle larvae. They also take fruits and acorns.

These birds breed in April-May. They nest in cavities, excavated by the male and possibly also the female, in dead wood in evergreen oaks, sycamores, maples and cottonwoods, riparian walnuts, and occasionally in agave stalk. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14 days. The chicks are brooded and fed by both parents and fledge 24-27 days after hatching. In the first weeks after fledging the chicks may continue to receive food from parents.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
Although this species has a restricted breeding range, the population of 200.000 individuals is believed to be increasing, so the Arizona woodpecker is not threatened at present. This species is dependent on healthy oak and riparian forests and being one of the primary cavity nesters in the area, it is responsible for providing nest sites for a large number of additional species.

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