Watch out for woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are especially adapted for vigorous pecking on trees.  They have strong chisel bills, thick neck muscles and thick bone skulls.  Plus, their claws are perfect for clinging to tree trunks.

Two of the most common woodpeckers in our area are the golden-fronted and the ladder-backed.  I have both species in my backyard.

The golden-fronted woodpecker is a large, zebra-backed bird about ten inches long.  It features a small yellow patch above the bill, which justifies the “golden front” name.  The male sports a small, round red cap that is not found on the female.

Present year-round in the mid-section of Texas, the golden-fronted woodpecker ranges as far south as Nicaragua.

The ladder-backed woodpecker is about seven inches long and is generally found in the same range as the golden-fronted.  It sports a black-and-white-barred back and a black-striped face.  The male has a red crown while the female has a black crown.

Male and female ladder-backed woodpeckers share in the incubation of their four or five white eggs.

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