Acorn Woodpecker

Melanerpes formicivorus

Summary 3

The Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a medium-sized woodpecker, are solid black above, a streaked breast and have a red cap, white face, and black patch around the bill. Females have less red on the crown than males. These are the most common woodpeckers seen on campus and are very loud and gregarious with a laugh-like call.

You can hear examples of their calls here:

Where on campus 4

There is a very large colony of Acorn Woodpeckers on campus. Common places they are seen are near the administration building and the 8500-8700 building, where they have tried to use the siding to store (unsuccessfully) acorns. They are also commonly seen in the Environmental Horticulture area.

Habitat 4

In California, Acorn Woodpeckers are primarily found in oak woodlands.

Life History 4

Nesting Acorn Woodpeckers are monogamous or may have breeding collectives that consist of several breeding pairs or one breeding male with two breeding females. The breeding pair excavate a nest in a large cavity in a dead tree or a dead part of a tree and lay 3-7 eggs (more if communal nest). Breeding adults often have a large number of helpers that may include young from past years and other related individuals. The size of the cooperative group is dependent upon the acorn supply.

Feeding Acorn Woodpeckers eat acorns, which they store in granaries. They do allow some of the acorns to become "infested" with insect larva. Acorn Woodpeckers will also eat many other types of nuts and seeds, fruits, eggs, reptiles and small mammals.

Distribution 4

Acorn Woodpeckers are found from Southern Oregon through to Central America and northern South America.

Migration 4


Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Dmitry Mozzherin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  2. (c) Wayne Dumbleton, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  3. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  4. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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