Red-cockaded woodpecker foraging behavior


We studied Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) to examine the effect of status and gender on foraging behavior. Foraging behavior of breeding pairs extended beyond separation by foraging height to include zones (bole, trunk in crown, primary limb, secondary limb) of the tree used and foraging methods (scaling, probing, excavating). Helper males and juvenile females maintained partial spatial separation from breeding adults. Helper males maintained spatial separation from breeding adults by exploiting limbs within tree crowns in both longleaf (Pinus palustris) and loblolly-shortleaf (P. taeda, P. echinata) pine forests, but also increased use of boles in loblolly-shortleaf pine in concert with reduced use of boles by adult females. Breeding males tended to forage less by scaling, probably due to the reduced proportion of foraging on boles of trees where scaling tends to predominate.

  • Citation: Rudolph, D. Craig; Conner, Richard N.; Schaefer, Richard R.; Koerth, Nancy E. 2007. Red-cockaded woodpecker foraging behavior. Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 119(2): 170-180.
  • Posted Date: September 20, 2007
  • Modified Date: July 31, 2009
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