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Bird Gallery

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (female)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (female)

© David McDonald, Lafitte's Cove on Galveston Island

Picoides scalaris

Family: (Picidae) Woodpeckers

Preferred Habitat: Dry, brushy areas; streamside thickets

Seasonal Occurrence: Occasional

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Notes: The Ladder-backed Woodpecker is a vagrant on the Upper Texas Coast and only occasionally reported. They are common to uncommon from the Hill Country westward. Best places to look for them are on the Katy Prairie and at Brazos Bend State Park. A female Ladder-backed Woodpecker has been seen in LaFitte's Cove Nature Preserve on Galveston Island beginning in 2006 and continuing at least through the fall of 2009. Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are small, just a little larger than Downy Woodpeckers and smaller than Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Like Red-bellied Woodpeckers, they have horizontal black and white back stripes ("ladder back"), but note the distinctive black horizontal facial stripes of the Ladder-backed which usually appear connected to form a U-shape. This is unlike any other woodpecker in our region.
- Susan Billetdeaux

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (male)
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (male)

© David McDonald, Pedernales Falls State Park