Acorn Woodpecker

Melanerpes formicivorus




Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Breeding Type:

Cooperative, Communal

Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:

3 - 7

Incubation Days:

11 - 14

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

5 - 60 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Wood chips in base of cavity.


Some migrate



Acorn Woodpecker: Medium-sized, clown-faced woodpecker with red crown, white forehead and glossy black face and body. The breast is white with black streaking, belly and rump are white. Yellow-tipped throat feathers may be present. Wings are black with white patches. Eyes are white. Female is similar except for a black patch between the white forehead and red crown. Juvenile is similar in color but has a dark eye.

Range and Habitat

Acorn Woodpecker: Year-round resident from southern Washington south through California, and east to Colorado and western Texas. Also found in western Mexico through the Central American highlands and into the northern Andes of Colombia. Prefers pine-oak woodlands and tropical hardwood forests, as long as oaks are available nearby.

Breeding and Nesting

Acorn Woodpecker: Three to seven white eggs are laid in a hole in a tree. Incubation ranges from 11 to 14 days and is carried out by both parents. Usually nests in colonies with all members sharing in excavation of holes, mostly in dead oak branches.

Foraging and Feeding

Acorn Woodpecker: Primary diet consists of insects, sap, oak catkins, fruits, and flower nectar; acorns are critical for winter survival. Occasionally eats grass seeds, lizards, and bird eggs. Most foraging is performed in or near the canopy; rarely goes to the ground except to pick up grit and fallen acorns.

Readily Eats

Suet, Nuts, Sunflower


Acorn Woodpecker: Emits a loud "ja-cob, ja-cob" or "wake-up, wake-up."

Similar Species

Acorn Woodpecker: White-headed Woodpecker lacks white rump, has a white face and head, and a black belly.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X