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    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

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  • Rincon Mountain District Backcountry Closures Due to Deer Head Fire

    For the safety of hikers and campers, some trail and campground closures have been enacted. All off-trail areas within Saguaro National Park east of Douglas Spring Trail and Manning Camp Trails are also closed. More »

Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker

NPS

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)

This common Sonoran Desert woodpecker makes nest cavities in the sides of saguaros inbetween the skin and the inner ribs (the outer cortex) of the cactus. With the saguaro tissue serving as insulation, these cavities provide safety from predators and refuge from extreme temperatures. Abandoned woodpecker holes make great nests for elf owls, kestrels, and purple martins.

Length: 9.25 in. Wingspan: 16 in.

Diet: Insects, cactus fruit, and berries

Did You Know?

The flower of a Staghorn Cholla

Many of the plants of the Sonoran Desert are not only edible, they are great sources of nutrition, including the buds of the staghorn cholla which is a great source of calcium and magnesium.