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Lewis's Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by day5creations
Melanerpes lewis


26–29 cm (10¼-11½ in)

  • Metallic greenish black upperparts
  • Grey collar and breast
  • Pinkish-red belly
  • Dark red face framed with greenish black

Sexes Similar


Fledgling (note lack of red on face and just the first blush of color on breast)
Photo © by Katy Penland
Overgaard, Arizona yard, July 2004

Most of the western United States west of the Dakotas, except rare in the coast states.
Rare vagrant to the plains states.
Casual vagrant to the northeast.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Open pine-oak woodlands, oak or cottonwood groves in grasslands, ponderosa pine country.



They lay 6-8 white eggs in a cavity in a dead stump or tree limb, often at quite a height. The male makes the nest and both parents incubate for 12 days. They nest in loose colonies.


Their main diet consists of flying insects in a similar way to the Acorn Woodpecker. They also store acorns and other nuts for winter, and sometimes damage fruit orchards.


Photo © by djleahy
Arastradero Open Space Preserve, Palo Alto, California, January 2008

They are generally silent, but they occasionally give a low churring note.


Flight is crow-like, not undulating.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. National Geographic
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2017)

Recommended Citation

External Links

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