Population status

White-headed Woodpecker
(Dryobates albolarvatus)

Due to its relatively large territory size (up to several hundred hectares; Garrett et al. 1996) and very low numbers (possibly less than 10 individuals; Environment Canada 2014c), the White-headed Woodpecker is difficult to monitor; there are no survey data suitable for generating population trends for Canada. The numbers are too small to be detected regularly on the Christmas Bird Count, and there are no data at all from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) in Canada. BBS data for North America suggest an increase in the continental population, based almost entirely on birds in the United States. Most observations are incidental reports from the general public. Under the Recovery Strategy, monitoring is more or less limited to gathering reports from feeder-watchers and other observers (Chytyk and Fraser 2015a). Using the number of sightings reported by birders, the number of White-headed Woodpeckers in Canada in the 1990s was considered to be about half that of the early 1970s and only one-tenth that present in the 1960s (St. John 1992), but this is clearly a rough calculation. The recent Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia recorded only one probable breeding record (Chytyk and Fraser 2015). The objective for White-headed Woodpeckers in Canada, outlined in the Recovery Strategy, is to enable a population of White-headed Woodpeckers to exist within its historic range (Environment Canada 2014c). The White-headed Woodpecker population is currently below that objective.


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
White-headed WoodpeckerAbundance required for de-listing (SARA)Equal to goalNot applicable

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis

Additional information on: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis

Table 1: Population trends by geographic area
Geographic areaTime Period Table 1 - footnote 1 Annual trend Table 1 - footnote 2 Limits
North America Select to view graph of the geographic area: North America 1970-2016; Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) - Canadian analysis1970-20160.9-0.11.8