|Conservation status||Still widespread and common. Reliance on specific oak habitats may make it vulnerable to the effects of climate change.|
|Habitat||Oak woods, groves, mixed forest, oak-pine canyons, foothills. Seldom away from oaks. Most common where several species of oaks occur together (this insures against total failure of local acorn crop, as different oaks respond to different conditions). May be in open oak groves near coast, pine-oak woods in mountains, streamside sycamores next to oak-covered hillsides.|
Members of group harvest acorns in fall, store them in hole-studded trees, feed on them in following seasons. Insects are gleaned from surface of tree, or caught in swooping, acrobatic flight. Unlike most woodpeckers, rarely or never excavates in wood for insects. May feed on sap, digging pits in bark or visiting those made by sapsuckers.
3-7. White. Nests with more eggs (up to 17 recorded) must result from more than one female laying. Incubation mainly by both parents at first, with helpers soon joining in; incubating birds take turns, with rapid turnover, sometimes changing places many times per hour. Incubation period 11-14 days. Young: Are fed by both parents and by helpers, and leave nest at about 30-32 days. 1-2 broods per year, possibly sometimes 3.
Are fed by both parents and by helpers, and leave nest at about 30-32 days. 1-2 broods per year, possibly sometimes 3.
Omnivorous, eats many acorns and insects. Acorns make up about half of annual diet, and are of major importance during winter. Also feeds on insects, particularly ants. Diet also includes various nuts, fruits, seeds, sometimes eggs of other birds.
Breeding group consists of pair, usually assisted by additional birds, generally the pair's earlier offspring or other related individuals. Group may consist of 10+ birds (as many as 16), which defend communal food stores and nesting territory year-round. Nest site is a cavity in tree (almost always dead tree or dead branch of live tree), 5-60' above ground, usually 12-30'. Excavated by both sexes and by helpers.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Mostly permanent resident throughout range (which extends south to Colombia). Stragglers may appear far from nesting areas at any season. If acorn crops fail, may stage small invasions to lowland valleys in fall and winter.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA loud ja-cob, ja-cob or wake-up, wake-up.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Acorn Woodpecker
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Acorn Woodpecker
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.