Gila Woodpecker, Female

A large, cultivated species of African aloe is currently blooming in my yard. The flowers are a brilliant golden yellow and very attractive. The always inquisitive Gila woodpeckers (Melanerpes uropygialis) have discovered that the flowers contain a sweet nectar, and these birds are now frequent visitors to the sweet, golden flowers. The Gila woodpecker below is a female because she lacks the red forehead of a male.

Female Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Gila woodpeckers are very noisy birds and accompany almost every action with their distinctive, repeated, screaming calls. I have seen members of rival woodpecker pairs scream and threaten each other over these aloe flowers. Gila woodpeckers threaten by opening their beaks, lowering their heads, and hunching up their backs. I have also seen them attempt to bite other birds.

Because my yard has plenty of food sources and available bird boxes, there are quite a few Gila woodpeckers living in a restricted area, which tends to promote aggression and competition.

Category:  Arizona Birds