Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
HABITAT: Inhabits mesquite and cactus deserts, rocky mesas, shrubby canyons, oak groves on hillsides, mesquite thickets along creek bottoms, open pinyon-juniper woodlands, and open groves of sycamore, oak, willow, or cottonwood along stream courses. Stands with a low percentage of canopy cover are preferred. Occurs from sea level to 9,000 feet in California, but is most frequently found at lower elevations.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Natural tree cavities or old woodpecker holes for nesting.
NEST: Uses a variety of cavities for nesting; natural cavities or knot holes in trees and stumps of mesquite, ash, oak, sycamore, juniper or cottonwood, or old woodpecker holes. May also nest behind loose pieces of bark, in abandoned nests of cactus wrens, in cavities in saguaro, in artificial structures, or in stalks of yucca or agave. Usually nests less than 20 feet above the ground.
FOOD: Forages over low shrubs, hawking insects and spiders. Also eats a few fruits and seeds.
REFERENCES: Beal 1912, Bent 1942, Johnsgard 1979, Terres 1980.