White-headed Woodpecker

Dryobates albolarvatus




Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Breeding Type:


Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

3 - 7

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

4 - 25 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Few wood chips in tree.





White-headed Woodpecker: Medium-sized unmistakeable woodpecker. Body is mostly black with large white wing patches; head and throat are white; nape patch is red and narrow; the very thin black postocular stripe connects to black hindneck; bill is black and small; legs and feet are black. Sexes are similar except female has a black nape and no red nape patch. Juvenile resembles adult but are browner with a red-orange crown patch that is more prominent in males and may be completely absent in females. Flight is direct but undulating, alternating several wing flaps with glides. Pecks and chisels into bark for insects and larvae as well as conifer cones for seeds; visits backyard feeders. In 2018, the American Ornithological Society moved ten woodpecker species, including the White-headed Woodpecker, into the genus Dryobates after genetic data showed that these species do not share a common ancestor with the Picoides species.

Range and Habitat

White-headed Woodpecker: Resident of extreme south-central British Columbia, northeastern Washington, central Oregon, western Idaho, and south to southern California and western Nevada. Some birds migrate down mountain slopes in the winter. Ponderosa pine belts in mountains are the preferred habitat.

Breeding and Nesting

White-headed Woodpecker: Three to seven white eggs are laid in a nest cavity in a pine stub or snag, often close to the ground. Both parents incubate eggs for about 14 days.

Foraging and Feeding

White-headed Woodpecker: Feeds on insects and conifer seeds. Peers into cracks of bark and probes crevices with tongue; generally forages on cones in late summer or winter.

Readily Eats

Suet, Sunflower Seed, Nuts, Sugar Water, Fruit


White-headed Woodpecker: Usually silent; call is a sharp "pee-dink" or a more prolonged "pee-dee-dee-dink."

Similar Species

White-headed Woodpecker: Acorn Woodpecker has white rump and belly, and black on face and crown.

The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X