Cover image for The Red-cockaded Woodpecker : surviving in a fire-maintained ecosystem
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker : surviving in a fire-maintained ecosystem
Conner, Richard N.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Austin : University of Texas Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xix, 363 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.P56 C66 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"I have the greatest admiration for this work, presented as it is in such a readable style and with such a convincing argument. I think the book sets a new standard for works of this type."--from the ForewordThough small among its woodpecker relatives, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker poses a huge dilemma for its human neighbors. Uniquely adapted to live in the old-growth pine forests of the southeastern United States, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker has nearly disappeared as the forests have been cleared for agricultural, commercial, and residential uses over the last two centuries. Today, it waits at a crossroads. Scientific management practices could restore the woodpecker's habitat and population, but the imperative to convert old-growth forests to other uses remains. In this book, three of the leading experts on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker offer a comprehensive overview of all that is currently known about its biology and natural history and about the ecology of the fire-maintained forests it requires for survival. As the most visible endangered species in the Southeast, and the one whose conservation impacts the largest land area, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker holds a compelling interest not only for ornithologists, but also for wildlife managers, foresters, developers, environmentalists, and government officials. For all of these groups, this book will be the essential resource for learning more about the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and ensuring its survival.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This rather nondescript woodpecker with a remarkably unique life history is one of the most endangered bird species in the southeastern US. This book reflects the research done by Connor, Rudolph, and Walters as well as many others. It offers a superb presentation of the biology of this bird, the historical aspects of its decline, relationships to bark beetle attacks, and management practices past and present; the chapter on "state-of-the-art management" is an original presentation. It includes an extensive bibliography (31 pages), an excellent index, and a readable and informative text. Illustrations are in black and white; photographs are in color (15 plates); the work includes line drawings. As this subject is of major interest across the southeastern US to private landowners, state and federal forest managers, as well as biologists, the book should have wide appeal. It may interest individuals dealing with endangered species elsewhere (i.e., the spotted owl). General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. K. L. Williams emeritus, Northwestern State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Frances C. James
An Introduction
A Brief History
The Southern Pine Ecosystems
Change across the Landscape
Woodpecker Populations Plummet
The Tide Begins to Turn
An Unknown Future
Fire-Maintained Pine Ecosystems
History of the Southeastern Forests
The Longleaf Pine Forest
Other Southern Pines
The Animal Community
A Summary Perspective
Threats to the Fire-Maintained Ecosystem
Evolution, Taxonomy, and Morphology of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Evolution- Taxonomy
Red-cockaded Woodpecker Distribution: Past and Present
Distribution Prior to Recorded History
Recorded Historical Distribution
The Logging Era
The Modern Era
The Extent of Population Decline
The Current Population
Cavity Trees in Fire-Maintained Southern Pine Ecosystems
Cavity Construction in Live Pines
Resin Wells
Cavity Competition and Kleptoparasitism
Cavity Tree Selection
The Cavity Tree Cluster
Social Behavior and Population Biology
The Cooperative Breeding System
Evolution of the Social System
Population Dynamics
Population Viability
General Behavior
Territories and Aggression
Foraging Ecology of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers
Foraging Substrates
Foraging Behavior
Sexual Dimorphism in Foraging Behavior
Foraging Requirements
Relationships with Other Insectivorous Birds
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Bark Beetles: A Love-Hate Relationship
Forest Landscape Interactions
Dynamics of a Beetle Infestation
Beetle Epidemics
The Causes of Population Declines
The Decline of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker as a Carrying Capacity Problem
The Role of Foraging Habitat
Extinction, Legal Status, and History of Management
Early Roots of Conservation Efforts
Designation of Endangered Status and Initial Guidelines
Expansion of Scientific Information and Refinement of Management Guidelines
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers on Military Bases
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Private Lands
The Dawn of a New Era
Development of New Woodpecker Management Guidelines
State-of-the-Art Management
The New Management Strategy
The Optimistic and Pessimistic Futures
New Management Policies
An Uncertain Future
Conflicts with Other Conservation Priorities- Conflicts with Other Land Use Priorities
Legal Challenges
Appendix. Common and Scientific Names of Species Mentioned in Text
Selected References and Additional Readings