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Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

Dryobates scalaris

The Ladder-Backed Woodpecker is resident from the American Southwest from the Mojave Desert in California, east across southern Arizona and New Mexico, and into Texas. Found year-round wherever they live, these birds are common from the southwest USA and southward over much of Mexico. Ladder-Backed Woodpeckers closely associate with cactus for both foraging and nesting.

Ladder-Backed Woodpeckers are closely related to Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, but there are differences (see <this link> for details). The ranges for these birds seldom overlap, though when working with the San Diego Natural History team near Campo in eastern San Diego County, we found both birds in the valley where we were surveying the fauna.

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