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Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii


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Nuttall's Woodpecker, male
credit: Mike & Chris/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Picidae, Woodpeckers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly black upperparts, including upper tail, but with neat white barring on back, wings, and outer tail feathers. Face is mainly black, but with broad, white stripe surrounding ear coverts and white nasal "tufts" and facial stripe; rear crown is red (red on crown is more extensive in male Ladder-backed). Throat and underparts are mostly white, but with neat black spots on flanks and black barring on flanks. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but crown is black. Nasal tufts are white (grubby in female Ladderbacked). JUVENILE Recalls adult male, but red on crown is more extensive.

Dimensions Length: 7-7 1/2" (18-19 cm)

Habitat Locally common resident of oakdominated chaparral and woodland, often in vicinity of streams and rivers. World Population almost entirely restricted to California.

Observation Tips Easiest to locate by visiting suitable habitat and listening for call.

Range Northwest, California

Voice Calls include a sharp, upslurred k'wik-k'wikÖ and a trilling rattle.

Discussion A California specialty. Similar to Ladder-backed, but separable by differences in plumage, habitat preference, and range. Unobtrusive, and presence often first detected by calls. Sexes are dissimilar.