LEWIS'S WOODPECKER


Melanerpes lewis


Description:

This woodpecker's mostly dark plumage sets it apart from all others. No other woodpecker in the U.S. has wings that are entirely solid in color. A common woodpecker of mountain ranchlands, the Lewis's Woodpecker is sometimes referred to as the "Crow Woodpecker" because of its distinctive crow-like flaps, which contrast markedly with the undulating flight of other woodpeckers. Also, unlike most woodpeckers, the Lewis's does not peck at wood for food and is seen more often on top of a fence post than clinging to it vertically. As with the Acorn Woodpecker, its main method of getting food is catching flying insects; both species also store acorns and other nuts for winter.


Appearance:

General: Sexes similar. 10.5 to 11.5 inches in length.

Adult: Dark metallic black-green head, back, upperwings, rump, and uppertail. Gray collar and upper breast. Dark red face. Pink belly. Black bill.

Juvenile: Metallic black-green upperparts. Brownish head and chest (with faint barring). Pink belly.


Habitat:

Open area woodlands with pine, oak, cottonwood trees. Farms and orchards.


Nesting:

6-8 white eggs. The eggs have a 13-14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 28-34 days. The nest is a tree or snag cavity. Nests in loose colonies.


Observed Locations:

  • Pamo Valley, Ramona
  • Santee Lakes





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.