Lewis’s Woodpecker

Photo Credit: Dave Herr, National Park Service


  • Species Common Name Lewis’s Woodpecker
  • Species Scientific Name Melanerpes lewis
  • Federal Listing Status Species of Concern
  • State Listing Status Sensitive


    Special needs

    This species has five major habitat types: ponderosa pine forests, oak woodlands, oak-pine woodlands, cottonwood riparian forests, and areas burned by wildfires. In all cases, special needs include aerial insects for foraging, large snags for nesting (especially soft or well-decayed snags), and relatively open canopy for flycatching.

    Limiting factors

    Lewis's Woodpeckers have experienced declines and local extirpations. Habitat loss and degradation, including loss of old cottonwood snags, have impacted this species. Availability of nest cavities may be limiting, particularly where Lewis's Woodpeckers compete with European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). Large areas of suitable habitat exist on private lands, limiting management actions.

    Conservation actions

    Maintain or restore open oak, ponderosa pine, and cottonwood woodlands, along with post-fire ponderosa pine habitat. Use nest boxes to enhance habitat in known nesting areas.

    Key reference or plan

    Lewis's Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis): A Technical Conservation Assessment