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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Nuttall's Woodpecker -- Picoides nuttallii

RANGE: Resident from northern California south, west of the deserts and the Sierra divide, to Baja California. Casual or accidental in southern Oregon, southeastern California, and Arizona.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Occurs in oak woodlands, live oak forests, and chaparral, and in canyons with sycamores, alders, cottonwoods, and bay trees growing along streams lined with live oaks.


NEST: Excavates cavities in dead limbs and trunks of trees, 3 to 45 feet above ground in oak, willow, sycamore, cottonwood, elder, and alder trees.

FOOD: Consumes a diet consisting of about 80 percent insects (beetles, bugs, caterpillars, and ants) which are gleaned from tree trunks and limb surfaces, or captured on the wing. Also eats wild fruits, poison oak seeds, and occasionally acorns.

REFERENCES: Beal 1911, Miller and Bock 1972, Short 1971, Terres 1980.

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