14 Types Of Woodpecker In The US: Your Birdwatching Guide

types of woodpecker

The life of a woodpecker is one that many birders and naturalists want to know more about. The woodpeckers in the US can be separated into 3 main categories: typical, wrynecks, and downy woodpeckers. 

These types of birds all have different habits and habitats but they are very similar in appearance to each other. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at 14 types of woodpecker in the US.

1. Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker is a medium sized bird that has a small population of about 20,000 individuals. As you might have guessed, it is known for its distinctive red head! This species of bird can be found in many types of habitat, from dense forests to open savannahs and swampy areas.

Red-headed woodpeckers are not very aggressive birds, so they will leave their nests once the young have hatched. The parent woodpecker will only spend about five minutes a day with the young birds to keep them safe from predators. 

You can attract the red-headed species of woodpecker to your yard by using a mixture of sunflower and safflower seeds. If you use these types of seed mixes in clearings or forested areas where woodpeckers like the red-headed one live, then they will get used to coming back to that location for their food.


2. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

The Acorn woodpeckers are very small birds that can only grow up to around 4 inches in size. This type of woodpecker is a very shy type of bird that likes to live in different types of forests.

Acorn types of woodpeckers make their homes in old, dead trees and will usually dig holes up to 3 feet deep. This little fella prefers to use acorns when it is making its home but any hard nut will do in a pinch.

Acorn woodpeckers live in groups and they decorate their nests with acorns and other types of seeds so that predators cannot find them easily. The Acorn woodpecker is a very aggressive bird so it will not back down from a fight. 

Male woodpeckers can be seen chasing each other away from their dens to protect the eggs and young.

If you would like to attract an Acorn woodpecker to your yard, you should create a feeding area that has acorns and pine tree seeds. You can also put up a suet feeder filled with peanut and nut mixes.


3. Downy Woodpecker 

Downy Woodpecker 

The Downy Woodpecker is a small bird that typically measures about 5 inches in size with gray feathers and a yellow underbelly. It has black wings, but it isn’t always easy to spot in the woods because it blends in so well!

The Downy woodpecker has adapted perfectly over time thanks to its coloring scheme that masks it from predators when hiding among other trees.

And if you want to attract a downy woodpecker to your yard, then you should create a bird feeder filled with thistle and niger seeds. This will definitely attract downy woodpeckers as they love these types of seeds very much!


4. Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker

This species of woodpecker is known for its adorable call. They often use it to announce the presence of insects that wouldn’t normally be detected by human ears, such as ants or termites!

But they are also known for being gentle types of woodpeckers. They work well in teams to locate insects deep within tree trunks so they can turn them over and get the delicious bugs inside.

To attract a Gila Woodpecker to your yard, you should use bird feeders that have gourds in them. The woodpeckers will flock around areas where they find food that they are interested in!


5. Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

The Golden-fronted woodpeckers are very beautiful birds with a bright yellow stripe on the top of their heads. They have grayish white feathers and a red patch behind their eye.

Golden-fronted woodpeckers make nests in dead trees by digging deep holes to store food for the winter. These woodpeckers can be seen in pairs during breeding season, usually flying overhead.

You can attract this type of woodpecker to your yard by having feeders filled with suet. This will attract woodpeckers because they are always looking for food sources!


6. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

The Ladder-backed woodpecker is a mid-size bird that can measure up to 13 inches in size. These birds have a black back and a red crown on top with a white throat.

Ladder-backed woodpeckers prefer to live in desert areas with warm patches of habitats where they can find food.

Ladder-backed woodpeckers are mostly solitary types of birds but they will gather together during breeding season. They usually build their nests in tree trunks and will lay 2 to 4 eggs.

There is one way to attract Ladder-backed Woodpecker birds to your yard, and that is by having bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds. These types of seeds are the Ladder-backed Woodpecker’s favorite type of food!


7. American Three-toed Woodpecker

American Three-toed Woodpecker

The American three-toed Woodpecker is one of the largest types of woodpeckers with a length up to 18 inches. These types of birds have gray bodies with white on their stomach and a yellow patch on top of their heads.

The American three-toed Woodpecker prefers to live in park areas with many trees. This species of woodpeckers are very territorial birds and will be aggressive to other woodpeckers that invade its territory.

The American three-toed Woodpecker is a low-flying bird but it can fly quickly when fleeing from predators.

If you are thinking of attracting an American Three-toed Woodpecker to your yard, then you should try out feeders with suet in them. American three-toed Woodpeckers are drawn towards suet because they are high-energy birds that need a lot of fuel!


8. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is so named because of its thick, bushy feathers. It has an elegant black and white color scheme with accents on the wings that give off sparks when they flap in flight or rest against trees for protection from predators like snakes who find their fat seeds to be irresistible snacks!

This type of woodpecker lives in the forests with plenty of trees and they make their nests on high branches. These birds are very territorial so lots of arguments happen between them during the breeding season.

To attract Hairy Woodpeckers, you should put peanuts in your feeders. The Hairy woodpecker is a big fan of peanuts, so they will come to your yard looking for it!


9. Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Red-bellied Woodpecker 

Red-bellied woodpecker is a medium bird that measures about 10 inches in size. These types of birds have black and white feathers with red on their belly and the head crest.

These types of woodpeckers have a very loud call that can be heard miles away in the woods to help them communicate with other red-bellied woodpeckers when they are hunting for prey.

Red-bellied woodpeckers build their nests in the holes that they chisel into tree trunks or limbs. They can eat nearly anything, but they prefer crayfish and insects as a main food source.

You can attract these birds to your yard by having feeders filled with sunflower seeds. Red-bellied woodpeckers are very attracted to the seed so you should see them quickly!


10. White-headed Woodpecker

White-headed Woodpecker

The White-headed Woodpecker is a bird found in North America. This brightly colored creature has an appearance that makes it easy to spot, with its white head and black body of irregular shape.

There are two types of this specific woodpecker: the Northern (which can be identified by their larger size) or Southern whites, which closely resemble each other as adults but have unique young birds, where the colors vary from browns to grays.

The White-headed woodpecker prefers to live in park areas that have many types of trees.  These types of birds are solitary and will only gather together during mating season. They usually build nests high up on trees or cliffs.

If you would like to see the white-headed woodpecker in your yard, then feeders with suet in them are your friends. Suet is a high-energy food that white-headed types of woodpeckers will love!


11. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is a very noisy bird. It’s bill has an elongated shape with two black strips of skin on top and may also have some white tinge to it.

The male will often make loud honking sounds when displaying dominant status or warning others about potential dangers like seized prey items up for grabs in its territory – which it guards zealously against intruders (this sometimes includes people!).

This species of woodpecker can be found all across North America but prefers more open landscapes where trees are numerous enough that its drumming echoes through woods during mating season – this makes finding hidden nests easy since they’re often placed high off ground within cavities excavated by another animal such as bears!

If you want to attract the Pileated Woodpecker to your yard then you should have feeders filled with suet. Suet is a very popular food among woodpeckers and will keep them coming back for more.


12. Williamson’s Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsucker is a type of songbird that spends its life in the tops of trees, eating insects and small animals. They have an interesting way to find their prey – they use sound waves!

This clever bird has two sets of wings: one set with thin feathers for flying around looking at things up high; another larger set beneath used as ears which captures sounds from all angles. It then sends those vibrations through bone into a muscle attached near the throat area where they can be felt as a sort of rumbling before finally reaching vocal cords.

To attract the Williamson’s Sapsucker to your yard, you should have feeders filled with – you guessed it – suet.


13. Black-backed Woodpecker

Black-backed woodpeckers are very distinctive. They have a black back, white belly and yellow face markings. The Black-backed type of woodpecker also has two white stripes on the back.

This bird will eat almost anything! Its diet includes insects, larvae, carrion, and fruit. It will also clean up insect infestations in your yard such as termites, snails, and slugs.

Black-backed woodpeckers usually live near water or wet areas where they can find food and trees that they like to nest in. Since these species of woodpecker are relatively new to areas with people, you won’t see them that often.


14. Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker is a bird famous for its red crest and black back. It has the unique ability to tap on trees in search of insects, which it finds by hearing them using the sound waves bouncing off objects!

They eat insects, small animals, and fruit which makes them wonderful to have in your yard!


In conclusion

All these woodpecker types are just waiting to be found!

Are you ready to go on a bird-watching adventure? 

There’s so many different woodpecker species in the US, it might take some time before you see them all.

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