Foraging Behavior of the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker in South Carolina
Foraging Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) selected live pines (96% use; 71% availability) over hardwoods (1% use; 25% availability). Use of recently dead pines (3%) was the largest departure from use of live pines. Mast was rarely consumed, although abundant at times. Live pine stems greater than 23 cm in diameter at breast height represented only 19% of the available pines but received 65% of the use. The sexes exhibited strong divergence in foraging behavior. Most important was the partitioning of foraging sites on live pines. Males foraged on dead and live limbs of the crown and midtrunk 54% of the time and females only 4%. On the lower trunk, females foraged 38% of the time and males only 3%. On the midtrunk, females foraged 29% and males 12%. On the trunk-in-crown, females foraged 28% and males 32%. Mean foraging height of males was 14.1 m and that of females 8.7 m (P < 0.001). The sexes used tree sizes, tree types, and methods for capturing prey with similar frequencies. Within each sex, there were between-season differences in use of foraging sites and in methods used at each site.