Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Melanerpes
Species: formicivorus


This bird has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Canyon Country, California
Kelseyville, California
Klamath River, California
Gold Hill, Oregon

Members' Notes:


On Dec 30, 2008, rntx22 from Puyallup, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Description: Medium-sized woodpecker; white eye surrounded by black; black surrounding bill; white cheeks and forehead; red on crown; pale yellow throat; white eye; black head, chest, nape, back, and wings; white bases to outer primaries appear as small white crescent in flight; white rump, belly, and vent; fine dark streaks on flanks; black tail

Adult male - Red cap extends back from white forehead

Adult female - Red cap at rear of head separated from white forehead by black area at top of head

Habitat and Behavior: Common and very conspicuous in the west. Seen in oak woods, pine-oak woodlands where oak trees are common, parks, towns. Found in small (2-15) noisy colonies. Drills holes in "granary tree" in fall to store acorns. During sum... read more


On Dec 30, 2008, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

The acorn woodpecker averages 23 cm (9 inches) in length and weighs an average of 82 g (2.9 oz). The upperparts of the body are black, and the underparts are white with black streaks, and this woodpecker sports a red crown.

They lay between three to seven white eggs in a hole in a tree. Both parents incubate the eggs, which takes from 11 to 14 days. The acorn woodpecker is a colonizing bird, and the nests are usually in colonies with all members sharing in the excavation of nesting holes, which are mostly in dead oak branches.

They store nuts in individually drilled holes (granaries) in trees. The acorns are jammed in so tight that even a squirrel can't get them out. Acorns seem to be an emergency food for this bird, as on mild winter days they catch flying... read more