WatchList Species Account for Arizona Woodpecker
(Picoides stricklandi)

Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Arizona Woodpecker

Photo: Alan D. Wilson

A medium-sized, predominantly brown-and-white montane woodpecker, the Arizona Woodpecker is one of several primarily Mexican species whose range barely extends into the southwestern U.S. It is found from southeastern Arizona and adjacent New Mexico south into Mexico along the Sierra Madre Occidental. An uncommon species, it is found primarily in dry pine-oak habitat and adjacent riparian woodlands, most often at elevations of 4,900-5,500 feet, but as low as 2,950 feet and as high as 8,200 feet in Mexico.


Though resident in its range, it sometimes moves downward into oak woodlands during the winter, possibly in response to food shortage. Though the U.S. populations seem to be relatively stable, living in rough terrain and in woodlands of low commercial value, the habitat for the bird in northwestern Mexico is being decimated by rapid growth in human populations with a resultant rapid rate of deforestation. In Arizona, it excavates nest cavities in evergreen oaks, sycamores, walnuts, maples and cottonwoods but apparently does not reuse these cavities. It is secretive and inconspicuous during nesting.


There is no information on population trends in the U.S. and little information in general about the species in Mexico, though habitat fragmentation and lumbering resulting from increased rural development there may result in diminishing populations. Heavy grazing and lowering of the water table may harm the bird in both countries, since sycamores, which require a permanently high water table for seedling survival, are particularly important to the bird.