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    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

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?

Snow on the spines of a Saguaro Cactus

Even though the Sonoran Desert is known as very hot and dry place, snow sometimes falls and accumulates on the desert floor of Saguaro National Park. When it does it turns the desert into a winter wonderland. More...