Ladder-backed Woodpecker Dryobates scalaris

  • © Fabián Velásquez L.

Subspecies of the Ladder-backed Woodpecker inhabiting the southwestern United States were known as "Cactus Woodpecker and "cactus" is an appropriate word to associated with this species as it frequently forages on and nests in various species of cactus.  In plumage pattern and overall appearance, this small black-and-white woodpecker with a barred back is very similar to the Nuttall’s Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii); their ranges have little overlap.  Observations on the breeding biology of the Ladder-backed Woodpecker are limited, although many aspects of its biology are undoubtedly similar to those of other Picoides woodpeckers, particularly Nuttall’s Woodpecker.   The species occurs in the southwestern US and its distribution continues south through most of Mexico, with apparently disjunct populations scattered through  Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and northeastern Nicaragua.

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© Bob McGuire

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Dryobates scalaris), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: