White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus)

White-headed Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Picoides albolarvatus | [UK] White-headed Woodpecker | [FR] Pic a tete blanche | [DE] Nonnenspecht | [ES] Pico Cabeciblanco | [NL] Witkopspecht


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Picoides albolarvatus NA sw Canada, w USA
Picoides albolarvatus albolarvatus British Columbia (Canada) to sw USA
Picoides albolarvatus gravirostris s California

Physical charateristics

Our only woodpecker with a i white head. Male has a red patch on the nape; otherwise black, with a large white patch in the primaries. No white on the rump (as in Acorn).

Listen to the sound of White-headed Woodpecker

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/W/White-headed Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : Southwest Canada, West USA


Mountain pine forest
Seldom found away from pines, and favors those with large cones or prolific seed production, such as Coulter, ponderosa, Jeffrey, and sugar pines. Also forages in incense-cedars, sequoias, and other conifers, and ranges very uncommonly up to elevations d
ominated by firs.


Courtship displays include swinging head from side to side, short fluttering flights. Both sexes tap at potential nest site, and other displays around nest are apparently important in pair formation.
b Nest: Site is in cavity in heavy dead stub of tree (especially pines, also aspens, oaks, and others), usually 6-15′ above ground, sometimes 2-
25′, rarely up to 50′. New cavity each year, but often in same tree as used in previous years. Nest hole is excavated by both sexes. No nest material other than wood chips in bottom of hole.
b Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-7. White, often becoming stained by pine pitch on parents’ plumage. Incubation is by both sexes, about 14 days.
b Young: Both parents feed young, and young leave the nest about 26 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and pine seeds. At some seasons, eats mostly pine seeds. Diet also includes wood-boring beetles, ants, and other insects, as well as spiders.
b Behavior: Obtains pine seeds by prying open
cones in trees. Also forages for insects on trunk and limbs, and among needle clusters in conifers. Typically pries off flakes of bark rather than knocking them off, so foraging tends to be quiet. Sometimes catches insects in flight. Males and females of
ten have different foraging behaviors, but this varies with place and season.


This species has a very 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 very 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.
White-headed Woodpecker status Least Concern


Western North America. b Migration:
Generally permanent resident, although a few may move to lower elevations for winter.

Distribution map

White-headed Woodpecker distribution range map

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