Golden-fronted Woodpecker Photo © Keith Alderman
CUBS Bird Guide

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Regional Species

A stripe-backed woodpecker of Mexico and Central America, the Golden-fronted Woodpecker reaches the United States only in the brushlands and open woodlands of Texas and Oklahoma.


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Open to semiopen woodlands, second-growth forests, and brushlands.

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Insects, fruit, seeds, occasional birds' eggs and lizards.

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Gleans insects from bark, probes into holes and dead wood, scales bark, hawks for flying insects.

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Nests in holes in limbs and trunks of live or dead trees.


Typical Sound


© Bob McGuire | Macaulay Library

Adult Description

  • Medium- to large-sized woodpecker.
  • Back barred black-and-white.
  • Orange-yellow back of neck.
  • White rump.
  • Male with red cap.

Immature Description

  • Juvenile similar to adult, but duller, with fine streaking on crown and breast, and only faint color on nape and nasal tufts. Eyes brown.

Plumage Photos

Similar Species

  • Red-bellied Woodpecker has red nape, crown (in the male), and nasal tufts, and white-barred, not black central tail feathers.
  • Gila Woodpecker has a plain gray head and nape, barred central tail feathers, and fine black bars on its rump.

Did you know?!

  • The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is composed of four subspecies that differ in size, amount of barring on the tail, and the color of the nape, nasal tufts, and belly. Whereas the nape of the form found in Texas and most of Mexico is yellow to orange, it is red on the Yucatan Peninsula and orange farther south. The four forms were formerly considered different species.
  • The Golden-fronted Woodpecker consumes about as much fruit and nuts as it does insects. In summer in Texas, the faces of some woodpeckers become stained purple from eating fruit of the prickly pear cactus.