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Lewis's Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis


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Lewis's Woodpecker

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Picidae, Woodpeckers view all from this family

Description ADULT Can look rather dark in dull light, but, seen well, upperparts, including upper tail, are mostly dark glossy green. Chest is pale gray and this extends as a narrow collar around neck; collar is striking in flight, particularly when seen from above. Breast and belly are pink while vent and undertail are dark. Face is deep red with dark surround on crown, nape, and throat. JUVENILE Resembles an extremely dull adult with rather scaly-looking underparts.

Dimensions Length: 10 1/2 -11 1/2" (27-29 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common summer visitor (mainly Jun-Aug) to a range of forested habitats, including ponderosa pine woodland and pine-oak forests. In winter, also found in more dry, open woods with grassland and nomadic to a degree if food is in short supply.

Observation Tips Often perches in the open, on dead branch, making observation easy.

Range Southwest, Northwest, Plains, California, Rocky Mountains, Texas, Western Canada

Voice Utters a range of agitated and rapid chattering calls.

Discussion A distinctive and easily recognized woodpecker. Feeds on nuts, seeds, and wood-boring insects, but also catches flying insects in aerial sorties, when flight looks relatively slow and controlled. Sexes are similar.