Deep Dive: Ladder-backed Woodpeckers

by OBDK on March 13, 2023

Ladder-backed woodpeckers stand about 7 inches tall and can be found throughout the southwestern regions of the U.S. and down into Central America.1&2 These woodpeckers have black and white markings on their backs and faces. Males will have red on their heads, which sets them apart from females. They look very similar to Nuttall’s woodpecker and Gila woodpeckers – which we spoke about last week:1

As you can see, the Gila woodpecker doesn’t have the same kind of markings on their heads or chests as the Ladder-backed woodpeckers.1 The Nuttall’s woodpecker and the Ladder-backed woodpecker have overlapping territory in California. While there, they tend to breed together and hybridize.3
These birds can usually be found in arid areas with brushland and mesquites. They feed on beetles, ants, caterpillars, fruit, and berries. They will forage both above ground – like on cacti and trees – and on the ground for their food. Males and females will often work together when they forage.3
Males will put on displays for females when it comes time to pair off together.2 When they reproduce, females will lay around 4 eggs. Both males and females will incubate the eggs for about two weeks and both will feed the offspring after they hatch.3
Discover the food chain with our owl pellet exploration activity! 
This pack comes with:
  • Owl Pellet
  • Forceps
  • Paddle Pick
  • Instructional Chart 
Take your children or students through this fun, hands-on activity that will help them understand the food chain and skeletal structure of animals! 
You can get owl pellets in various sizes – small to large! 

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