Ladder-backed Woodpecker at work.


At Spring Creek park I came across this Ladder-backed Woodpecker cavorting among the trees.  On previous occasions, my photographs of them weren’t really anything to write home about.  But this time I got lucky.  I was able to walk into the trees and select my shooting positions at ease.  That is a big change for me, as I usually photograph from the car.  I guess he was pretty engrossed in whatever he was pecking away at.  The light was somewhat tricky, with the leaves filtering the sun.  I was carrying my Canon EOS 7D with a 100-400mm lens.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

As you can see, this is a male of the species.  It has the red crown on the head.  Of course, this does not mean that all woodpeckers with red crowns are Ladder-backs.  I have found out the hard way, since I was an ordinary person, (a non-birder), that several other woodpeckers have some red on their heads.  Most notably, of course, is the aptly named Red-headed Woodpecker.  So not to confuse you any further, it’s best to consult your bird guides for other field marks to determine the proper identification.

Click on either image to see an enlargement.

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18 thoughts on “Ladder-backed Woodpecker at work.

  1. Thank you for your lovely pictures of the Ladderbacked Woodpecker. We saw one for the first time here in Albuquerque, NM (pecking on our house, which our cat loved seeing through the window!). We were delighted to come across your site. Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for these great shots, Bob. They take me back to fond memories of seeing Ladder Backeds in New Mexico this past February. Also apologies for a delayed comment, workplace technology has trumped my desire to do so in a timely fashion.

    • Thank you so much, Alison. I really enjoy your reading your comments. These are my best Ladder-backed Woodpeckers to date, I think. I don’t get many chances to photograph them in the open. These were slightly shaded, but not enough to be difficult.

  3. I have a hard time with the smaller woodpecker varieties; a few varieties look so much alike. The pileated and the red-headed are the only two I can for sure identify from a distance. Striking, both. Isn’t it nice when they’re too busy dining to care about you and your camera?

    • Yes, I know. They all, the males, seem to have red on the heads somewhere. I have trouble with the sapsuckers. They look like the woodpeckers, but of course, that is what they really are. I’m still looking forward to seeing my first pileated.

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