White-headed Woodpecker Dryobates albolarvatus

Jeffrey M. Kozma, Teresa J. Lorenz, Martin G. Raphael, Kimball L. Garrett, and Rita D. Dixon
Version: 2.0 — Published July 9, 2020

Priorities for Future Research

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Priorities for Future Research

Recent studies have filled many gaps in our knowledge of White-headed Woodpecker nesting ecology, nest survival, foraging ecology, habitat use, spatial ecology during the breeding season, and systematics. However, there are still many information gaps. Other than anecdotal observations, there has been no formal research on winter foraging and winter spatial ecology. Information is needed on survival rates of adults at all times of year, but especially in winter. Newer technologies could provide much needed information on causes of mortality and spatial ecology. For example, eDNA samples from depredated nests could be used to identify predator species (e.g., from wood shavings in the nest or from swabbing the cavity entrance for predator DNA). For adults included in telemetry studies, transmitters of depredated birds could similarly be swabbed to test for predator DNA. Regarding spatial ecology, although there are no GPS or satellite tags small enough at the time of this writing, it seems likely that small tags will be available soon that can provide less biased data on movement ecology, as well as information on survival and fidelity to breeding sites. In the past, information on nest predators has relied on anecdotal observations. With new video and photographic technology now available, progress could be made in identifying nest predators. Recent research has shown this species uses forests managed for intensive timber production as well as burned and salvage-logged forest. Studies that track adult survival and nest survival in such areas and in undisturbed forest, would be useful for managers tasked with providing habitat for this species.

Recommended Citation

Kozma, J. M., T. J. Lorenz, M. G. Raphael, K. L. Garrett, and R. D. Dixon (2020). White-headed Woodpecker (Dryobates albolarvatus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.whhwoo.02