New York Natural Heritage Program
Red-headed Woodpecker
Melanerpes erythrocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Birds

Threats [-]
The reasons for the population decline remain unknown, but there are a number of potential threats. European starlings may be outcompeting red-headed woodpeckers for nest cavities. Loss of agricultural lands may have resulted in the loss of suitable breeding habitat in some areas. There has also been a reduction of mast producing trees with drastic population declines of some species. For example, American chestnut and American elm population have been nearly eliminated by chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, respectively. Land management practices that include removal of dead trees reduces suitable nest sites. Red-headed woodpeckers sometimes inhabit areas near roads, so car collisions are also possible (Cornell Unviersity 2016).

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Land management practices should allow trees to mature and dead limbs and trees should remain when possible to help preserve potential nest trees. Some open areas are desirable for foraging. 

Research Needs [-]
Reasons for recent population declines remain unclear, but declines appear to be range-wide. Research is needed to determine decline causes that test current theories such as declines in food supply, habitat loss, and competition with other cavity-nesting species.