SCIENTIFIC NAME: Melanerpes uropygialis
The Gila Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with long, pointed bill.
Both sexes measure about 8.7 - 9.4 inches in length, with a wingspan of 15.8 - 16.5 inches and weight of 51 - 79 grams.
They have black and white barred back, rump and central and undertail feathers. Face, neck and breast are pale brownish. There is yellow tinge on center belly.
Adult males have red patch on the top of head, and whitish forehead. Bill is pointed, black or darkish. Eyes are dark red. Legs and feet are brownish green or bluish.
Females lack the red cap. They have an entirely brown head.
Juveniles are similar but duller than adults.
CALL: Include a rolling “churr”, and a loud and high pitched “yip” given in series.
It also drums, and taps loudly on metal objects as a territorial call.
Feeds on cactus fruits, berries, nuts and many other items in addition to insects.
It visits hummingbird feeders and steal dog food. It may occasionally eat bird’s eggs and lizards.
Inhabits towns, scrub deserts with large cacti or trees for nesting, (especially Saguaro cactus – Carnegiea gigantea – Cereus giganteus), streamside woods, dry subtropical forests and riparian woodlands.
A year-round resident of southern and western Arizona. It is found in Sonoran Desert regions of the extreme south- western United States and northern Mexico.
Both male and female excavate the nest cavity, often in a tall saguaro cactus in a low area such as an arroyo rather than on a hill. The nest chamber is unlined.
The female lays 3 - 5 white eggs. Incubation lasts about 12 - 14 days, shared by both parents.