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.

To view public comments or join the fray by adding your opinion, click here. Have fun!

Photos © 1999 Carole Sunlight All rights reserved.

Color perception has been a chronic problem in assessing photographic images on the web. This problem is compounded by the wide variety of hardware and software used to view these images. Please adjust your video to the highest possible number of colors. My logs show that over 25% of visitors view these pages with only 256 colors (8 bit). Sixteen bit (high color) is minimum and 24 bit (true color) desirable. Also you may wish to calibrate your monitor against a color standard and ensure that brightness and contrast are set correctly.

[Home] [California Birding] [More Mystery Birds]