Gila Woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis
Gilas are the common woodpeckers of the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and
northern Mexico. They usually are seen perched on saguaro cacti, live or (as above)
dead. The male, above, has a red patch on the crown; the female, below, perched on
a century plant, has no red marking.
The Gila Woodpecker is a cavity nester, and the most common host is the saguaro cactus,
shown here with a male perched at the cavity entrance. The pictures above and below
were taken in late April, the height of the nesting season.
A Gila pair at the entrance to a nest in a saguaro, male looking out. Both sexes
incubate in this species.
A close-up of a male looking out from a nest.