Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Locally common.
HABITAT: Occurs in wooded canyons, cottonwood groves, riparian woodlands in deserts, and dense growth of cholla cactus, creosotebush, catclaw, and other low-growing plants on borders of deserts. Also found in post oak and mesquite woodlands, and on lower slopes of mountains up to 5,500 feet.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Trees or other structures large enough for cavity nests.
NEST: Excavates nest holes in a variety of trees (mesquite, screw bean, palo verde, hackberry, china tree, willow, cottonwood, walnut, and oak), usually 2 to 30 feet above ground. Sometimes uses saguaro, yucca stalks, telephone poles, and fence posts for nesting.
FOOD: Eats mostly insects, especially larvae of wood-boring beetles, caterpillars, and ants, but also eats fruit of various cacti.
REFERENCES: Bent 1939, Johnsgard 1979, Oberholser 1974a, Phillips et al. 1964.