Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) is a large North American species of woodpecker in the Picidae family.

Lewis’s woodpecker is locally common, dwelling mostly in open pine woodlands, and other areas with scattered trees and snags. Unlike other American woodpeckers, it enjoys sitting in the open as opposed to sitting in heavy tree cover. It ranges mostly in the western to central United States, but can winter as far south as the US border with Mexico and summer as far north as Canada. It has been seen in five Midwestern states: South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Although it does forage for insects by boring into trees with its chisel-like bill, the bird also catches insects in the air during flight, (typical insect hawking), a habit that only a few other woodpeckers, such as the Acorn woodpecker, the red-headed woodpecker and the northern flicker, engage in. Lewis’s woodpecker also feeds on berries and nuts, and will even shell and store nuts in cracks and holes in wood to store until winter.

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