Small woodpecker of arid habitats, including mesquite scrub and dry woodlands. Look for black-and-white barring on the back, patterned flanks, and buffy wash on the body. Males have a red cap, often raised and fluffy-looking. Often forages on small branches, and sometimes visits bird feeders. Most similar to Nuttall’s Woodpecker, but range barely overlaps. Also compare with Downy Woodpecker, which has clean flanks and lacks bars on the back.
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