Melanerpes Formicivorus – Acorn Woodpecker

Melanerpes Formicivorus - Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpeckers are rare woodpeckers of the United States and Mexico. Acorns and other nuts are stored in the “granary trees” of this species. Acorns are plentiful in the fall and stored in the granary tree holes for the winter. They belong to the Picidae family.

Quick Overview: Melanerpes Formicivorus – Acorn Woodpecker
Body size: Around 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 51 g (1.8 oz)
Main colors: Red, Black, White, Yellow
Range: Coastal United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year( January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Acorn woodpecker Description

The Acorn Woodpecker has a red crown, a glossy black and white head, white eyes, and a white rump and wing patches. On the throat is generally one red or yellow-tipped feather. To differentiate the male and female Colombian populations, a black stripe separates the red crown from the white forehead. The woodpecker’s wingspan is 13-15 cm.

Melanerpes Formicivorus - Acorn Woodpecker
Melanerpes Formicivorus – Acorn Woodpecker. Photo by: Allan Hack


These birds have a length of 8-9 in (20-23 cm) and a weight of 51 g (1.8 oz). Their wings could range from 16-18 in (41-46 cm).


Acorns make up a significant portion of the diet, particularly during the winter months when they are in abundance. Insects are also a significant source of nutrition for Acorn Woodpeckers, who are particularly fond of ants and flying ants. Fruits, berries, seeds, and tree sap are examples of additional food sources.


Acorn Woodpeckers are almost always seen in the vicinity of oak trees. These trees are most frequent in regions where there are several different kinds of oaks, a habitat choice that reduces the likelihood of an acorn crop failure for any one particular oak species in a given year.


It is gregarious at all times of the year, including during the breeding season as well as when feeding and foraging outside of the breeding season

Melanerpes formicivorus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Genus: Melanerpes
  • Species: Melanerpes formicivorus

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December

Distribution of the acorn woodpecker in the USA

Throughout its range, the Acorn woodpecker can be found from northwestern Oregon and California through the American Southwest and western Mexico, and into the Central American highlands and the northern Andes of Colombia, among other places. The Acorn woodpecker can be found in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.

Melanerpes Formicivorus – Acorn Woodpecker

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