Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons)

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Melanerpes aurifrons | [UK] Golden-fronted Woodpecker | [FR] Pic a front d’r | [DE] Goldstirn-Specht | [ES] Carpintero Comun (Mex), Cheje Frente Dorada (HN) | [NL] Goudvoorhoofdspecht


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Male: Note the separated patches of bright color on the head (yellow near bill, poppy red on crown, orange nape). A “zebra-backed” woodpecker with light underparts and a white rump. Shows a white wing patch in flight. b
Female: Similar, without the red crown patch; has a yellow-orange nape patch. Young bird lacks color patches on its head.

Listen to the sound of Golden-fronted Woodpecker

[audio: Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America, Middle America : Texas to Southcentral Mexico


Mesquites, stream woodlands, grove In its limited North American range (central Texas and southwestern Oklahoma), found i
n most open woodlands, especially along rivers; also around orchards, stands of mesquite along dry washes, groves of trees in open country. In Central America, also around edges of tropical forest.


Advertises nesting territory with loud calls, sometimes with drumming. Courtship displays not well known, probably include bowing motions.
b Nest: Site is a cavity in trunk of tree (live or dead) such as mesquite or oak, or in telephone poles or fence posts. Cavities are usually fairly low, typi
cally less than 20′ above ground. Both sexes help excavate the cavity, which may be used for more than one season. No nest material other than wood chips in bottom of cavity.
b Eggs: Usually 4-5, up to 7. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night and part of day), 12-14 days.
b Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 30 days after hatching, may associate with parents for some time thereafter. 1-2 broods per year, rarely 3.

Feeding habits

Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and many others. Also eats nuts, berries, fruits, and seeds of many plants; will eat many acorns where they are available.
b Behavior: Searches for insects on tree trunks and limbs, gleaning them from bark or pro
bing below surface. Clambers about in branches of trees or shrubs to pick nuts, berries, or fruits. May forage on ground, and sometimes catches insects in flight. Cracks open mesquite pods to eat the seeds.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Golden-fronted Woodpecker status Least Concern


Southwestern Oklahoma, Texas south to Nicaragua. b
Migration: Permanent resident, with some local movements, concentrating at good feeding areas in winter. A lone male once strayed to western Florida and remained several months, mating with a local Red-bellied and raising two young.

Distribution map

Golden-fronted Woodpecker distribution range map

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