The Acorn Woodpecker is one of many woodpeckers species found in Arizona, and one you may see visiting the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.
This colorful medium sized woodpecker has a red head with white above the black face. The body is black, while the breast is white with black streaks. Sometimes there are yellow feathers on the throat.
Although the common name for the Acorn Woodpecker would make you think they rely mostly on acorns, that is not the case. Acorn Woodpeckers prefer insects, but do store acorns for use during cold winters. This woodpecker stores acorns individually by drilling a hole and jamming the acorn into it so tightly no other animal or bird can get them out. This almost insures it will be there should they want to take it out for a snack.
They breed in groups, up to seven males for three females. They live in a commune-like atmosphere, sharing mates readily.
Spending their days drilling holes in trees adds up. Some trees have been found to contain nearly 50,000 holes from one group.
Reference: The Nature of Madera Canyon by Douglas W. Moore, Friends of Madera, 1999; whatbird.com