Woodpeckers in New Mexico

New Mexico’s diverse ecosystems and vast expanse of forest land have made it the home of various woodpeckers. As many as sixteen species of these hammering birds live in the state, making it a woodpecker hotspot.

Some of these birds, however, are not permanent residents of New Mexico. The migratory species include Lewis’s woodpecker and the red-naped sapsucker. The northern flicker may travel north to breed if the summer gets too hot. The acorn woodpecker may also migrate to Mexico if it can’t gather enough acorns to last the winter. Otherwise, they live here year-round.

Woodpeckers in New Mexico (NM)

Different Types of Woodpeckers Found in New Mexico

NameIdentifying FeaturesWhere They Are Found in New Mexico
Ladder-backed WoodpeckerWhite ladder-like pattern on back, barred underpartsDeserts, arid scrublands, and riparian areas
Northern FlickerLarge size, spotted bellyThroughout the state, in various habitats
Acorn WoodpeckerBlack-and-white face, distinctive clown-like facial patternWoodlands and oak-dominated habitats
Hairy WoodpeckerLarge bill, black and white plumage with white spots on wingsForested areas and woodlots
Downy WoodpeckerSmall size, white spots on wings, short billWooded areas, parks, and suburbs
Lewis’s WoodpeckerDark plumage with pink belly, red face and collarOpen woodlands and burned forests
Gila WoodpeckerGrayish-brown plumage, black and white stripes on faceArid regions, desert canyons, and saguaro cactus habitats
Red-naped SapsuckerRed patch on nape, black and white facial markingsMontane forests and woodlands
Williamson’s SapsuckerBlack and white plumage with red throat and foreheadConiferous forests at higher elevations
American Three-toed WoodpeckerBlack and white plumage with three toesConiferous forests, especially in mountainous areas
Red-headed WoodpeckerVibrant red head, black and white plumageWooded habitats and open woodlands
Arizona WoodpeckerGrayish-brown plumage, white bars on wingsOak woodlands and rocky canyons
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow belly and undertail coverts, black and white facial markingsRiparian areas and mixed forests
Golden-fronted WoodpeckerGolden-yellow nape and forehead, barred wings and backWoodlands, scrublands, and urban areas
Red-breasted SapsuckerRed throat and breast, upperparts are black with white barsConiferous forests and mixed woodlands
Red-bellied WoodpeckerRed crown and nape, black and white barred backRiparian forests and woodlots

The most common in the state is the ladder-backed woodpecker. Other common species are the northern flicker, acorn, hairy, and downy woodpeckers. The rare species inhabiting the Land of Enchantment are the golden-fronted woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, and red-breasted sapsucker.

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