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Gila woodpecker excavates nest cavities in large saguaro cacti of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts. It also thrives in suburbs with large saguaros and few houses, Pairs defend and reuse their nest cavities from year to year; abandoned cavities become homes for Elf Owls and other desert birds.
Perches vertically, clinging to poles, cactus’s, and trees, bracing itself with stiff tail feathers. Eats insects, fruits and berries. Like most woodpeckers, Gila’s are omnivores, sometimes eating small lizards and taking small bird eggs.
Males have a narrow red crown patch where females are unmarked
VOICE a rolling quirrr, similar to a Red-bellied Woodpecker; repeated wik notes; and repeated nasal, tinny deet or deetle