Woodpecker abundance and habitat use in three forest types in eastern Texas

  • Authors: Shackelford, Clifford E.; Conner, Richard N.
  • Publication Year: 1997
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Wilson Bulletin. 109(4): 614-629.


Woodpeckers were censused in 60 fixed-radius (300 m) circular plots (divided into eight 45B-arc pie-shaped sectors) in mature forests (60 to 80 years-old) of three forest types (20 plots per type) in eastern Texas: bottomland hardwood forest; longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna; and mixed pine-hardwood forest. A total of 2,242 individual woodpeckers of eight species was detected in 144 h of censusing. Vegetation characteristics in plot sectors with and without woodpeckers were compared. Woodpecker presence and abundance were primarily associated with the occurrence of large snags and logs. Red-bellied woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) were the most abundant and widespread species, especially in areas containing more hardwoods than pines. Red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) were the least abundant and most habitat-restricted woodpecker, occurring only in the longleaf pine savanna. Pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) were the most evenly distributed species among the forest types, but occurred primarily in mature forests with large snags and logs. Bottomland hardwood forests were important for northern flickers (Colaptes auratus), redheaded woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), and yellow-bellied sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) during the fall and winter, and for downy woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens) during the summer and winter. The hairy woodpecker (P. villosus) was most frequently encountered in areas of recent disturbance in the mixed pine-hardwood forests, especially in fall. Vocal imitation of a barred owl (Strix varia) increased the number of woodpecker detections by 71 percen

  • Citation: Shackelford, Clifford E.; Conner, Richard N. 1997. Woodpecker abundance and habitat use in three forest types in eastern Texas. Wilson Bulletin. 109(4): 614-629.
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: August 3, 2009
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