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Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) male

General Description: Ladder-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides scalaris) are small, sexually dimorphic woodpeckers of the desert. They have black-and-white bars on the back and black-and-white stripes on the face. Males have a red cap. This is the only woodpecker with a "ladder-back" pattern around Las Vegas. Over in California, keep an eye out for the similar Nuttall's Woodpecker.

Taxonomy: Piciformes, Picidae, Picinae.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)

Favored Habitat: Desert scrub with tall Mojave Yucca or Joshua Trees, also canyons with Oak, Cottonwood, and other trees.

Where to Find: Hard to see anywhere because they try to hide, listen for their call (keeek) and pecking on trees. Check the Velvet Ash trees in the Calico Basin picnic area where they breed.

Comments: Ladder-backed Woodpeckers appear similar to Nuttall's Woodpeckers. However, Ladder-backs are lighter overall because the white bars and facial strips are wider than the black stripes. This gives Ladder-backs the appearance of a white face with black stripes, and Nuttall's the appearance of a black face with white stripes.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) If you were a tasty bug or a little bark beetle, this might be the last face you ever see!
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker male
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker female
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker male; note the barred back and red cap
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker female; note the barred back
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker male
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker; Balmorhea, Texas
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker hole in Utah Agave flower stalk
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker hole in Utah Agave flower stalk
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker hole in Utah Agave flower stalk
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker hole in Utah Agave flower stalk
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
In typical position on a Mojave Yucca -- hiding behind something
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker holes in Joshua Tree
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker holes in Joshua Tree
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
Woodpecker holes in Joshua Tree

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121028

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