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Overview of Picoides scalaris
Ladder-backed woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) can be found between the ranges from southwestern United States south to British Honduras (Lowther 2001). They are a non-migratory species that can be observed year-round in its desert environment. Although it is accustomed to arid brush it can be spotted in pinelands in Central America.
The Ladder-backed woodpecker main food source is arthropods and other insects. They forage by digging and probing trees, shrubs, cacti, agave stalks, and tall weeds. They have also been known to sometimes search the on ground. Male and female often forage together, concentrating on different spots such as males focusing on the trunks of trees and females twigs, bushes and cacti.
Breeding typically begins at the start of January and continues through March. The nest site is a cavity in tree (such as Joshua tree, mesquite, hackberry, willow, oak), agave stalk, or sometimes in giant cactus. A clutch is typically 4-6 eggs per season. Incubation is between April and May. Both sexes take turns incubating the eggs for about 13 days. Hatchlings are fed by both parents bringing insects in their bills to the nest. Age of leaving the nest is not well known.
Ladder-backed woodpeckers are closely related to Nuttall's Woodpecker of the Pacific Coast. Their breeding ranges meet in California foothills, and they sometimes interbreed there.
Known predators of the species are hawks, owls and snakes.