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Acorn Woodpecker


The Acorn Woodpecker is a distinctively marked medium size woodpecker, approximately 9 inches in length. I personally find their most distinguishing mark to be their facial markings near the beak which, together with the beak, resembles the look of a black golfing tee. We have usually observed them in groups of 3 to 10, but have seen them in much larger groups. They seem to be very sociable and tend to be very talkative. One sound they often make sounds like laughter.

The Acorn Woodpecker is a very common bird and may be the species of woodpecker you will see most often in southern California. We have seen them in just about every environment - the desert areas of the Inland Empire, the San Gabriel Mountains and Foothills, the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests and the southern California coastal habitats to name a few. For a list of sightings of this bird, you can view our Sightings and Observations Log and search on "Acorn Woodpecker".

Their name was most likely derived from the way that they store acorns in the trunks of trees and wooden poles in what is called a granary. I have linked you to a nice picture (since I don't yet have one of my own) of a granary at

Family: Woodpecker.

Field Notes

I once observed a group of at least 30 Acorn Woodpeckers congregating in a large Oak tree near Charleton Flats (A Great Birding Spot - before the fire) in the Angeles National Forest. It sort of resembled a neighborhood or apartment complex where many birds were talking, a few were arguing and others were busy working at either gathering acorns or stuffing them into the granary. Some even appeared to be sitting around doing absolutely nothing.

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