The white-headed woodpecker (Leuconotopicus albolarvatus) is a non-migratory woodpecker that resides in pine forests of the mountains of western North America. It has a black body (approximately 20 cm (7.9 in) long) and white head. It has white primary feathers that form a crescent in flight. Males have a red spot at the nape of the neck. Some taxonomic authorities, including the American Ornithological Society, continue to place this species in the genus Picoides.
|Male white-headed woodpecker|
|White-headed woodpecker range|
Most of the range is occupied by the nominate subspecies. In the southern part of the range, L. a. gravirostris, which has a longer bill - especially in males - and tail, is only found on mountaintops of the San Gabriel Mountains to San Diego County. Birds on Mount Pinos are somewhat intermediate. mtDNA cytochrome b and ATP synthase subunit 6 sequence data confirms this arrangement and also suggests that the Mount Pinos birds are closer to L. a. gravirostris (Alexander & Burns, 2006). Apparently, the larger bill of the southern subspecies is an adaptation for being better able to feed on the large, spiny cones of Coulter pines (Pinus coulteri).
- Alexander, Matthew P.; Burns, Kevin J. (2006). "Intraspecific Phylogeography and Adaptive Divergence in the White-headed Woodpecker". Condor. 108 (3): 489–508. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2006)108[489:IPAADI]2.0.CO;2.
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