Web Analytics
The Ivory Bill·Birds·Cavity Makers

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus

Acorn woodpecker cling to a tree pocket with holes bored for sap
Acorn Woodpeckers breed in oak and mixed oak-pine woodlands in North and Central America from March to July.

Acorn Woodpeckers are commonly found in oak woodlands and mixed oak-pine forests, where acorns are plentiful during the breeding season.

They forage on trees for acorns, sap and insects. They may also feed on fruits, seeds, and small vertebrates.

Acorn Woodpeckers have a distinctive habit of storing acorns in holes they drill into trees, telephone poles, and wooden buildings. This behavior, known as granary creation, helps them ensure a food supply through the winter.

Courtship involves mutual displays where both sexes spread their wings and tails, show off their plumage, and engage in mutual preening. Males may also offer food to females as part of the courtship ritual.

Cavities are typically made in dead or decaying trees, ranging from 2 to 20 meters above ground, in oak woodlands and mixed forests. They prefer trees with softer wood, such as oaks and pines.

Nest building involves both sexes excavating the cavity, which takes about 1 to 2 weeks. The nest cavity is unlined, with wood chips left at the bottom.

Egg laying typically begins in late April to early May, with the female laying 3 to 7 eggs. Both parents, along with other group members, incubate the eggs for about 11 to 14 days. After hatching, all group members help feed the chicks with insects and regurgitated food.

Chicks learn to forage by observing and following adult birds. They are vulnerable to predation by larger birds and mammals. As they develop, they begin to store their own acorns and forage more independently.

Chick fledging occurs about 30 to 32 days after hatching. Adults and other group members continue to guide and feed the fledglings for several weeks, during which the young woodpeckers learn to forage more effectively and expand their diet.

Acorn Woodpeckers do not migrate. They are resident birds, remaining in their territories year-round. They rely on their stored acorns during the winter months.