Attempted conspecific cavity usurpation by Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Jacob L. Berl, John W. Edwards, Jeff S. Bolsinger


When breeding resources are scarce, intense competition for nest sites among cavity-nesting birds can result in agonistic encounters and cavity usurpation. Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) are known to usurp nest cavities from interspecific competitors, but the incidence of conspecific cavity usurpation remains unreported. We describe an attempted conspecific nest usurpation and depredation by a Red-headed Woodpecker in mixed-oak (Quercus) woodlands in northern New York State.


intraspecific competition; nest cavity; Red-headed Woodpecker; Melanerpes erythrocephalus; usurpation; New York

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