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Gila Woodpecker


Southwestern United States and northern tip of Central America.


Saguaro deserts, dry washes, river woods, cottonwood groves, towns and cities.


Male has round red cap; both sexes fawn-colored with back, wings, and tail banded or cross-striped with black and white. Gray-brown head and underparts. Female similar to male in appearance except lacks red cap.

Gila Woodpecker Click to View Bigger Picture

A very conspicuous, noisy bird. Lives in nest cavities of trees and sometimes canyon foothills. May occupy the same nesting hole for more than 1 season until it is appropriated by an owl, kestrel, snake or large lizard.


3-4 white eggs are laid around April to May. Incubation lasts about 14 days and is shared by both sexes. Young are fed and cared for by adults for a long time after leaving the nest. Sometimes interbreeds with golden-fronted woodpecker.

Gila Woodpecker
Class: aves
Genus: Melanerpes
Species: uropygialis
Length: 8-10 inches
Weight: 2-2 1/3 ounces
Average Lifespan: 10
Wild Diet: Insects, fruits, berries, eggs of small birds, and corn.
Predators: Man - due to development of land; competition with European starling
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone

Learn more about aves or animals from North America!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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