Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Krementz, D. G., S. E. Lehnen, and J. D. Luscier. 2012. Habitat use of woodpeckers in the Big Woods of Arkansas. Journal of Fish & Wildlife Management 3:89-97.


The Big Woods of eastern Arkansas contain some of the highest densities of woodpeckers recorded within bottomland hardwood forests of the southeastern United States. A better understanding of habitat use patterns by these woodpeckers is a priority for conservationists seeking to maintain these high densities in the Big Woods and the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley as a whole. Hence, we used linear mixed-effects and linear models to estimate the importance of habitat characteristics to woodpecker density in the Big Woods during the breeding seasons of 2006 and 2007 and the winter of 2007. Northern flicker density was negatively related to tree density both for moderate (>25 cm dbh) and larger trees (>61 cm dbh). Red-headed woodpeckers also had a negative relationship with density of large (>61 cm dbh) trees. Bark disfiguration (an index of tree health) was negatively related to red-bellied woodpecker and yellow-bellied sapsucker densities. No measured habitat variables explained pileated woodpecker density. Overall, the high densities of woodpeckers observed in our study suggest that the current forest management of the Big Woods of Arkansas is meeting the nesting, roosting, and foraging requirements for these birds.