Golden-Fronted Woodpecker

Melanerpes aurifrons

I met the Golden-Fronted Woodpecker during my 2020 trip through Texas and found them at most places in south Texas I visited. They reminded me of the Gila Woodpeckers I’d met in Arizona, both in appearance and the way they sounded.

These birds do not migrate, and in the USA they confine their range to Texas and central Oklahoma, but they also make their homes in Mexico and Central America.

In south Texas, I’ve met these birds in the Rio Grande Valley from Big Bend to South Padre Island and Laguna Atascosa NWR.

The most recent scientific analysis concluded there are 12 subspecies of Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, arranged into four groups.

  • Aurifrons group:
    • Includes M. a. aurifrons, M. a. incanescens
    • Lives in Oklahoma, Texas, and the Mexican Plateau
  • Dubius group:
    • Includes M. a. veraecrucis, M. a. dubius, M. a. leei, M. a. turneffensis, and M. a. canescens
    • Lives in eastern Mexico through the Yucatán Peninsula and Guatamala
  • Polygrammus group:
    • Includes M. a. polygrammus
    • Lives in southern Mexico
  • Santacruzi group:
    • Includes M. a. grateloupensis, M. a. santacruzi, M. a. hughlandi, M. a. pauper, and M. a. insulanus
    • Lives in southern Mexico and norther Central America

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