This small woodpecker named for the famous British naturalist Thomas Nuttall, is confined primarily to the oak woodlands of California, US, but its distribution does range into northern Baja California to the south and slightly into Oregon to the north. A black-and-white woodpecker with a barred back, the Nuttall’s Woodpecker is quite similar in overall appearance to the Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris). The ranges of the 2 species, for the most part, do not overlap.
The association of Nuttall’s Woodpecker with California oak woodlands has been the emphasis of much of the writing about this species. Other aspects of its biology have received only superficial or incidental attention. Clutch-size information comes primarily from egg collections. The recorded incubation period is available for only 1 nest; measures of hatching success and nestling growth are unknown. Many aspects of this species’ nesting biology and behavior are undoubtedly similar to other Picoides woodpeckers, especially the Ladder-backed Woodpecker.