|Conservation status||Was once persecuted as a pest because of its excavations in telegraph poles; many were shot in Texas in early part of 20th century. Current population apparently stable.|
|Habitat||Mesquites, stream woodlands, groves. In its limited North American range, found in most open woodlands, especially along rivers; also around orchards, stands of mesquite along dry washes, groves of trees in open country. In Central America, also around edges of tropical forest.|
Searches for insects on tree trunks and limbs, gleaning them from bark or probing below surface. Clambers about in branches of trees or shrubs to pick nuts, berries, or fruits. May forage on ground, and sometimes catches insects in flight. Cracks open mesquite pods to eat the seeds.
Usually 4-5, up to 7. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night and part of day), 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 30 days after hatching, may associate with parents for some time thereafter. 1-2 broods per year, rarely 3.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 30 days after hatching, may associate with parents for some time thereafter. 1-2 broods per year, rarely 3.
Omnivorous. Feeds on a wide variety of insects. Also eats nuts, berries, fruits, and seeds of many plants; will eat many acorns where they are available.
Advertises nesting territory with loud calls, sometimes with drumming. Nest site is a cavity in trunk of tree (live or dead) such as mesquite or oak, or in telephone poles or fence posts. Cavities are usually fairly low, typically less than 20' above ground. Both sexes help excavate the cavity, which may be used for more than one season.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Download Our Bird Guide App
Permanent resident, with some local movements, concentrating at good feeding areas in winter. A lone male once strayed to western Florida and remained several months, mating with a local Red-bellied and raising two young.
- 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 CallsLoud churrrr. Call a burry chuck-chuck-chuck.
Learn more about this sound collection.