November 2002 Mystery Bird
This woodpecker was photographed 20 April 1999, at a nest at Lukeville, Arizona. She and her mate were feeding
the babies in the nest in the tree. This location is well outside the known range of Nuttall's Woodpecker. I have
added a smaller image of the male below. I was surprised by how dark the female appeared on the back, but Sibley
(The Sibley Guide to Birds) illustrates two forms of female Ladder-backed, a darker adult and a paler adult.
This is an example of a darker adult. In this case the most reliable field mark may be the extensive barring
on the outer tail feathers of the Ladder-backed vs. Nuttall's.
In most areas, these species do not overlap, but in places like Inyo County, where Nuttall's occurs along the
Owens River, and Ladder-backed in the surrounding desert, there has been much confusion and misunderstanding with
regard to their distribution.
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||Photos © 1999 Carole Sunlight All rights reserved.
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