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Ladder-backed Woodpecker

From Opus

Revision as of 21:44, 23 April 2019 by Jmorlan (Talk | contribs)

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MalePhoto by digishooter Kelso Valley: Kern Co., California, USA, November 2006
Photo by digishooter
Kelso Valley: Kern Co., California, USA, November 2006
Dryobates scalaris

Picoides scalaris; Dendrocopos scalaris; Picus scalaris



16.5 to 19 cm (6½ to 7½ inches) in length
Black and white, barred pattern on back and wings. Rump, breast and flanks speckled with black.
Adult males have a red crown patch that is smaller in immatures and lacking in adult females. The bill is very sharp, straight, and black.


South-western United States, Mexico, and Nicaragua.


FemalePhoto by bobsofpa Ash Canyon, Arizona, USA, April 2010
Photo by bobsofpa
Ash Canyon, Arizona, USA, April 2010

Placed in genus Dryobates by Gill and Donsker.


There are 8 subspecies[1]:

  • P. s. cactophilus:
  • Arid south-western US to north-eastern Baja California and central Mexico
  • P. s. eremicus:
  • Northern Baja California
  • P. s. lucasanus:
  • Southern Baja California
  • P. s. graysoni:
  • Tres Marías Islands (off western Mexico)
  • P. s. sinaloensis:
  • Coastal western Mexico (southern Sonora to Guerrero, south-western Puebla, western Oaxaca)
  • P. s. scalaris:
  • Southern Mexico (Veracruz and Chiapas)
  • P. s. parvus:
  • North Yucatán Peninsula, Cozumel Island and Holbox Island
  • P. s. leucoptilurus:


Dry brushy areas and thickets.



They nest in cavities excavated from tree trunks. 2 and 7 plain white eggs are laid and incubated by both sexes.


Diet includes insects and their larva, and also fruit produced by cacti.


  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
  2. Avibase

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