|Scientific Name:||Melanerpes erythrocephalus|
|Species Authority:||(Linnaeus, 1758)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Butcher, G., Rosenberg, K. & Wells, J.|
This species has shown long-term declines which have continued at a moderately rapid rate owing to loss and degradation of its habitat in recent decades. Consequently it is considered Near Threatened.
|Range Description:||Melanerpes erythrocephalus is found in central and eastern USA, from Montana to the Atlantic coast and south to the Gulf of Mexico, and in extreme southern Canada(del Hoyo et al. 2002). The northern populations are migratory (Smith et al. 2000, del Hoyo et al. 2002), and historically its movements were influenced by nut crops from the now non-existent northern beech (Fagus) forests (Smith et al. 2000). It has experienced a steady decline of 2.5% annually since 1966 (J. Wells and K. Rosenberg in litt. 2003), with the most severe declines in Florida and the Great Lakes Plain (del Hoyo et al. 2002).|
Native:Canada; Mexico; United States
Vagrant:Saint Pierre and Miquelon
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Rich et al. (2004).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It inhabits mature lowland forest with dead trees for nesting, open areas for fly-catching and a relatively open understorey. It is strongly aggressive, particularly when defending food storage sites, and is interspecifically territorial against the Red-bellied Woodpecker M. carolinus (Reller 1972). It is omnivorous, eating a high proportion of animal matter in spring, but seeds predominate in winter. It breeds from April to September.|
|Major Threat(s):||Habitat degradation, as a result of the removal of dead trees and branches in urban areas (Pulich 1988), and loss of nesting habitat to firewood cutting, clear cutting, agricultural development and river channelling in rural areas (Ehrlich et al. 1992, Melcher 1998), appears to be responsible. Collisions with moving vehicles may be a contributing factor, but persecution as a pest by farmers and utility companies is currently minimal (Smith et al. 2000, del Hoyo et al. 2002).|
Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in a number of protected areas, but no species-specific actions are known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation. Use fire for its positive effects - prescribed burning and understorey thinning increased numbers in Arkansas by creating more open forest stands, improving foraging opportunities; however, whilst burning may create nest-snags, it also destroys existing nest-snags. Creation or maintenance of snags for nesting and roosting is of prime importance. Snags should be retained, in groups if possible. Dead branches should be retained on big trees in non-urban areas and only selectively pruned where hazardous in urban areas. Selective thinning of live trees appears to have a positive effect (e.g. removal of 50% of oak trees for prairie restoration on a reserve in Ohio immediately attracted nesting birds).
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ehrlich, P. R.; Dobkin, D. S.; Wheye, D. 1992. Birds in jeopardy: the imperiled and extinct birds of the United States and Canada including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 June 2012).
Melcher, B. 1998. Red-headed Woodpecker. In: Kingery, H.E. (ed.), Colorado breeding bird atlas, pp. 250-251. Colorado Bird Atlas Paratnership and Colorado Div. Wildl., Denver.
Pulich, W. M. 1988. The birds of North Central Texas. A & M Press, College Station, Texas.
Reller, A. W. 1972. Aspects of behavioural ecology of Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. American Midland Naturalist 88: 270-290.
Rich, T.D.; Beardmore, C.J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P.J.; Bradstreet, M.S.W.; Butcher, G.S.; Demarest, D.W.; Dunn, E.H.; Hunter, W.C.; Inigo-Elias, E.E.; Martell, A.M.; Panjabi, A.O.; Pashley, D.N.; Rosenberg, K.V.; Rustay, C.M.; Wendt, J.S.; Will, T.C. 2004. Partners in flight: North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.
Smith, K. G.; Withgott, J. H.; Rodewald, P. G. 2000. Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus. In: Poole, A.; Gill, F. (ed.), The birds of North America No. 518, pp. 1-28. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia and the American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Melanerpes erythrocephalus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.|
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