Family Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Least Concern

Arizona Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus arizonae)


French: Pic d’Arizona German: Arizonaspecht Spanish: Pico de Arizona

Picus arizonæ


, 1886,

Santa Rita Mts, Arizona


Apart from L. stricklandi (which see), closest to L. villosus, L. borealis and L. albolarvatus, and all previously placed in Picoides. Recent trend to treat present species as separate from L. stricklandi followed here, given its creamy mid-brown vs dark brown mantle, back, rump and wings (2); uniform, unmarked mantle, back and rump vs bold white-barred and brown pattern (3); broad spots on underparts rather than streaks (2); central rectrices with rusty wash (increasingly strong towards tips) (ns[1]); longer bill (effect size of smaller fraterculus vs stricklandi 3.18, score 2). Birds from SE Sinaloa E to W Zacatecas and S to S Jalisco separated as race websteri, but apparently only an intermediate form between arizonae and fraterculus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. arizonae (Hargitt, 1886) – SW USA (SE Arizona, extreme SW New Mexico) and Mexico in Sierra Madre Occidental (S to NE Sinaloa and neighbouring parts of Durango).
  • L. a. fraterculus (Ridgway, 1887) – S Sinaloa and adjacent Durango S to Michoacán.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; 34–51 g, male average 49.4 g, female average 44.1 g (arizonae). Male has buffish nasal tufts, medium to darkish brown forehead and crown, red nape, darkish... read more


    Loud sharp “peep” or “kweek” used in various contexts; rattling “keechrchrchr…” as alarm; numerous... read more


    Occupies mixed subtropical pine–oak (PinusQuercus) woodland, also riparian... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly beetle larvae, and some fruits and seeds (acorns). Forages mainly on pines; less selective during breeding season. Usually... read more


    Apr to end Jun; laying mainly late Apr to mid-May. Displays include head-swinging, wing-spreading and flutter-aerial display. Nest... read more


    Resident. Periodic downslope movements after breeding recorded in SE Arizona, possibly in response... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally uncommon throughout range, though locally quite common. Densities low: 4 pairs/40 ha in oak–juniper–pine woodland and 1... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Arizona Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus arizonae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).