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10 Woodpecker Species Birders Should Know

Readers share photos of woodpeckers that show the beauty of these amazing birds. Look for these 10 woodpecker species across America.

red-headed woodpeckerCourtesy Burline Pullin

Red-Headed Woodpecker

“A pair of red-headed woodpeckers lived the woods behind my house in Tennessee after a nearby timber harvest. I set up a bird feeding station in the woods during late winter hoping to attract the woodpeckers below the forest canopy. After several weeks of patiently watching from a distance, the elusive woodpeckers finally came within camera range,” says Burline Pullin. Here’s how to feed and attract birds all year long.

red-bellied woodpeckerCourtesy Mary Flores Camacho

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

“The magnificent red-bellied woodpecker is a familiar year-round visitor to the suet feeders in my backyard. The patterns and colors of this  species are striking. Amazingly, they are not bothered by humans, so I can spend hours photographing them as they munch on their favorite food,” says Mary Flores Comacho. Check out the 4 best foods for woodpeckers.

downy woodpeckerCourtesy Ella Clem

Downy Woodpecker

This bird is a female downy woodpecker. I was in our side yard taking pictures of our flowers when I spotted the downy sitting on an old log looking for bugs,” says Ella Clem of Frankfort, Kentucky.

hairy woodpeckerCourtesy Mike Lasky

Hairy Woodpecker

“I was trying to get some photos of this young hairy woodpecker when the adult male suddenly showed up. I was happy to capture them before they flew away,” says Mike Lasky. Learn how to tell the difference between downy and hairy woodpeckers.

acorn woodpeckerCourtesy Kitty Warner

Acorn Woodpecker

“This year I’ve been putting oranges out for the songbirds in the backyard, and I was surprised to see acorn woodpeckers also enjoying them. We’ve had a whole family of these woodpeckers visiting the yard almost every day even though we don’t have any oak trees nearby. It’s a joy to be watch these funny and beautiful birds,” says Kitty Warner. Learn the 4 types of bird beaks and how birds use them.

northern flickerCourtesy Kathy Stewart

Northern Flicker

“The first time I saw a Northern flicker at my house I thought someone’s exotic pet got loose. I was awestruck with its markings and color. This photo was taken in January and the flicker came to feast on some suet. I loved his pose because it shows off all his glory. They are my favorite bird. I think they look like they have been painted to perfection!” says Kathy Stewart. Psst—woodpeckers love peanut butter. Here’s how to make a pine cone bird feeder.

pileated woodpeckerCourtesy Amy Boggan

Pileated Woodpecker

“A couple saw me walking with my binoculars and camera in hand in the north Georgia mountains,” says Amy Boggan. “They asked if I’d walked past the pileated woodpecker nest. They pointed out the exact tree to watch. About 20 minutes later, I took this incredible photo.” Learn how to safely observe nesting birds.

American three-toed woodpeckerCourtesy Harry Johnson

American Three-Toed Woodpecker

“I photographed this American three-toed woodpecker photographed on June 23 near Scott’s Pass, south of Sisters, Oregon. The bird had a nesting cavity in an area that was burned by a forest fire several years ago,” says Harry Johnson.

gila woodpeckerCourtesy Stanley Andrews

Gila Woodpecker

“This picture demonstrates the desert dwelling bird feeding young from the safety of a Saguaro nest,” says Stanley Andrews. Learn more about birds that nest in cavities.

yellow-bellied sapsuckerCourtesy Lori Dyer

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

“In May, my husband I saw this yellow-bellied sapsucker in a park near our home. We really enjoy the variety of woodpeckers in west central Minnesota and always like seeing this sporadic visitor to the neighborhood,” says Lori Dyer.

Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She enjoys growing vegetables in containers and raised beds and watching for birds in her backyard.