Acorn Woodpecker

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Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Piciformes
Family:Picidae
Genus:Melanerpes
Species:M. formicivorus
Binomial name
Melanerpes formicivorus
(Swainson,, 1827)

The Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) is a medium-sized woodpecker.

Adults have a black head, back, wings and tail. They have a white forehead, throat, belly and rump. Their eyes are white. Adult males have a red cap starting at their forehead; females have a black area between the forehead and the cap.

Their breeding habitat is forested areas with oaks in the southern United States south to Colombia. They nest in a large cavity in a dead tree or a dead part of a tree; the pair excavates the nest. A group of adults may participate in nesting activities: field studies have shown that breeding groups range from monogamous pairs to breeding collectives of seven males and three females, plus up to 10 nonbreeding helpers.

Missing image
Acorn.jpg
Acorn hoarded by Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn woodpeckers are larder hoarders. Breeding groups gather acorns; they drill holes in a dead tree and stuff acorns into them. The acorns are visible, and the group defends the tree against potential cache robbers. The acorns represent a significant part of their diet; they also eat insects, picking them off tree bark or catching them in flight, and in addition fruit, seeds and sometimes tree sap.

This bird is a permanent resident throughout its range. They may relocate to another area if acorns are not readily available.

References

  • Haydock J., Koenig W. D., & Stanback, M. T. (2001). Shared parentage and incest avoidance in the cooperatively breeding acorn woodpecker. Molecular Ecology, 10, 1515-1525.da:Agernspætte

es:Carpintero bellotero fr:Pic glandivore

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