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Nuttall's Woodpecker - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by digishooter
Kern County, California, USA, April 2006
Dryobates nuttallii

Picoides nuttallii


Photo © by djleahy
Los Trancos Woods, Portola Valley, California, 16 November 2007
  • Black and white barred back, wings, and outer tail
  • White undersides with spotted flanks
  • Black and white striped face

Male: Red nape
Female: Black crown
Juvenile: Red crown

Similar Species

Ladder-backed Woodpecker of the desert southwest is paler, with narrower black bars on back and face. Barring extends to upper back. Has different voice. Range barely overlaps.


Map-Nuttall's Woodpecker.png
Pacific coast of North America: across California to northern Baja California, Mexico. Isolated population east of the Sierra Nevada along Owens River in Inyo County.

 P. nuttallii; year-round
Maps/Texts consulted1,2,3


This is a monotypic species[1].


Chaparral and oak woodlands.


Photo © by digishooter
Wofford Heights, Kern Co., California, USA, July 2010


Nest holes are excavated in trees. The clutch consists of 3-6 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about two weeks.


Diet includes insects such as beetles, caterpillars, ants, and bugs.


Common call is a distinctive rapid low rattle recalling Belted Kingfisher. Also double pitit or single pit notes recalling Western Tanager.


Mostly resident with some altitudinal movement. Casual records outside breeding range.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Sibley, DA. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0679451228
  3. Lowther, P. E., P. Pyle, and M. A. Patten (2020). Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.nutwoo.01
  4. Brinkley, Edward S. 2007. Field Guide to Birds of North America. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
  5. Winkler, H. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/56232 on 1 April 2020).

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1