Lewis's (Melanerpes lewis) and Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) breeding ranges overlap slightly, but co-occurrence within habitats is thought to be rare because of niche similarity. Our objectives were to examine factors that allowed for co-existence in two burned pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in the Black Hills, South Dakota. We monitored 53 Lewis's and 38 Red-headed Woodpecker nests between 2002 and 2005, and compared clutch initiation dates and nest-site selection. Clutch initiation dates did not differ between species for 3 of 4 years. We compared multiple habitat factors surrounding nests of the two species, and only tree and snag densities differed between Red-headed Woodpecker nest sites (65.1 ± 5.78 stems/ha) and those of Lewis's Woodpeckers (48.5 ± 6.06 stems/ha). These results are consistent with the foraging techniques used by the two species. We suggest that habitat partitioning is an important mechanism of coexistence for these two species, but also recommend further research on their foraging strategies.
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Vol. 121 • No. 1