We examined comparative food use and provisioning of Golden-fronted (Melanerpes aurifrons) and Ladder-backed (Picoides scalaris) woodpeckers at the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation Refuge, in San Patricio County, Texas. We combined video surveillance and direct observations to monitor provisioning rates and identify items delivered by adult woodpeckers to nestlings. We collected 328 hours of data at Ladder-backed Woodpecker nest cavities and 230 hours of data at Golden-fronted Woodpecker nest cavities. Ladder-backed Woodpecker nestling diets consisted of 100% animal matter, comprised of invertebrate larvae (99%) and invertebrate adults (< 1%). Diets of Golden-fronted Woodpecker nestlings were also high in animal matter (77%) with more invertebrate adults (55%) and fewer invertebrate larvae (27%), but also included vegetable matter (16%). Morisita's measure of overlap suggested a relatively low dietary overlap of 31% between nestlings of these two sympatric woodpecker species. Foraging methods used by these species may explain their low dietary overlap and facilitate their coexistence.
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