Woodpecker Types: Learn About The Wonderful Woodpeckers In The World

Deepthi Reddy
Feb 25, 2023 By Deepthi Reddy
Originally Published on Nov 10, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala
Yellownape woodpecker bird on a clean tree.

Woodpeckers are avians and belong to the Picidae family.

The woodpeckers belong to the class Aves. They are arboreal and are widely populated around the world.

Woodpeckers are found in all countries except for Australia and New Guinea. They are significantly populated in America and Southeast Asia and are native to woodlands and dense forests. A few woodpeckers choose desert terrains, or rocky hillsides range as home. These birds are solitary and sedentary.

They have fascinating zygodactyl feet with which they can efficiently grip on tree trunks. Woodpeckers do not eat wood. These birds got their name from chisel-like beaks. They tap to pierce the tree trunks with their strong beaks.

These birds have a wingspan of about 30 in (76 cm). Their skin has feathers that protect their body. The weight of these peckers can range from 0.2 oz (six gram) to 21 oz (595 gm).

The small piculet woodpecker measure up to three inches ( 7.62 cm) to giant woodpeckers have head to tail length of 20 in (50.8 cm). These birds fly at a speed of 15 mph (24 kph). They have a feathery tuft-like crown on their head.

Woodpecker has strong legs. Their nostrils have feathers to avoid inhaling debris, and they have a shock-absorbing skull bone.

The woodpecker tongue is exceptionally long, and their tail is stiff enough to balance their body weight. Woodpeckers use loud audio calls to communicate warnings, express attraction, and display territorialism. Their vocal aids include twitters, trills, whistles, chattering, shrieks, wails, and rattles.

The average lifespan of the woodpeckers is six to 11 years.

If the above content has engaged your interest check out our fun facts articles on why woodpeckers peck wood? And woodpecker symbolism.

What type of woodpecker is all white with a solid redhead?

Woodpeckers are birds of the kingdom Animalia. They live primarily on trees making holes in the wood with their sharp beaks.

These woodpecker species roost and nest in the holes of wood they make with their beak. They are widely spread across the globe, so there are many types of woodpeckers. The woodpecker species are brown, gray, red, black, white, tan, and green.

The red-headed woodpecker is a woodpecker species that, by definition, has a significantly visible redhead. It is a medium-sized woodpecker with a bill-like chisel. The juveniles possess brown heads initially, which on molting becomes red.

They are local to open forests having clear understories and pine forests. This red-headed woodpecker always does not forage on trees. These birds catch insects during their flight.

What type of downy woodpecker does not have a red dot on it?

The downy woodpecker is the most prevailing backyard tree bird in North America. As there are many species of woodpeckers, it gets difficult to identify types of birds. So there are a few minute details to differentiate each bird. Also, the downy woodpecker is a species of the woodpecker whose appearance is gender-specific.

These black and white plumage birds have a short nub-like bill, clear underparts, black wings with white patches on their upper parts, and the bird's back are black with a visibly white patch.

The feet are zygodactyl, gray-black, and the stiff tail of these downy birds is strong and acts as an anchor for the bird to climb on the tree trunk.

The head of the downy woodpecker plays a vital role in identifying gender.

In males backside of the head has a red patch right under the crown area. But this patch is absent in the female downy woodpeckers; the outer tail feathers of the female have small black spots.

What type of woodpecker lives in a forest?

Many types of woodpecker species spend most of their time or life crawling and hanging on to tree trunks. Mostly they are found feeding on or catching insects, few on berries and fruits, and few sapsuckers like red-naped suck the sap of trees. Only a few woodpeckers are ground feeding.

The Picidae birds that are predominantly observed to be hanging in the forest are as follows. Found chiefly in deciduous forests of western North America and to Colombia down south is the acorn woodpecker, eight inches (20cm) long.

It stores its winter food acorns in the holes of oak trees it drilled. The red-headed woodpecker is identical in length to the acorn woodpeckers barely distributed in the temperate climates of North America.

It is found in farmlands, orchards, and open woodlands of the rocky mountains. Downy woodpecker of the Dendrocopos species six in (15cm) long is woodlands residents in most temperate North American gardens and southern Canada.

The great spotted woodpeckers are local to the forests and gardens endemic to western temperate southern Eurasia to North Africa. These peckers are as long as nine inches (23cm).

North America also hosts hairy woodpeckers, which is almost 10 in (25.4 cm) in body length. The species Dyrocopus includes the famous black woodpecker and the pileated woodpecker.

The temperate region of beech woodlands in Eurasia is the black woodpecker range. This bird is 18 in (46cm) long.

The pileated woodpecker is endemic to the fully grown forests of temperate North America. Found in the open woodlands of India and the Philippine Islands is the crimson-backed woodpecker, while the green woodpecker inhabits the temperate woodlands in the south of North Africa and Eurasia.

In contrast, the red-bellied woodpeckers ranging in the southeastern United States make deciduous forests their home. Critically endangered ivory woodpecker known for its beauty resided in the southern United States and Cuba.

The American three-toed woodpeckers include the northern American three-toed woodpeckers and the black-backed three-toed woodpecker that inhabit the Northern subarctic hemisphere and the central Canada forests. The yellow-bellied sapsucker is found in the United States and Canada. The golden fronted woodpecker found in open lands of Central America and Mexico forests is exceptionally territorial.

How many types of woodpecker are there?

There are around 200 known species of these Picidae birds. Of these, many are endemic to dense or open forests, and very few are migratory. During seasonal changes, some adapt to open lands and backyards.

Common woodpecker types include downy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, Gila woodpecker, and red-bellied woodpecker.

Identify Woodpecker Types In Your Backyard

Many bird watchers try to attract birds with various perks to watch their sight in their gardens or backyards. Woodpeckers are commonly seen in North America visiting the residents. With good knowledge of offerings to the woodpeckers, one can easily invite them to the backyard tree.

The expected visitors among the species of these Picidae family include downy, hairy woodpecker, red-bellied, red-headed, pileated, and yellow-bellied sapsucker of Canada and the northern flickers.

The downy woodpeckers in specific are frequent visitors that end up being permanent members of the house as it attracts with its small size. Other than downy woodpeckers, the northern flickers generally from Canada visit in winter; they are attractive and rare as they visit only during summer for the food offerings.

The red-headed though rare to visit but are a treat to see them flying or hanging to the backyard garden.

The Most Common Types Of North American Woodpeckers

Of the 200 or 180 species of these woodpecker family groups, few types are famous and familiar in North America. These birds are found in the open lands and many houses that offer them food.

The common types of these species found in North America can be namely downy, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, pileated, red-Headed, and red-bellied woodpecker. These birds hide better in summer and are more visible in colder weather.

They are found circling the trees and visiting feeders. The pileated primarily are known to eat the ants. Apart from woodlands, these birds also nest on utility poles and wooden or other construction that suits their nesting.

How do you attract downy woodpeckers to your feeders?

If one knows the right food for the wild bird, we can easily attract all kinds of backyard woodpecker visitors. Suet feeder food that includes peanut butter, nuts, berries, and insects are much to the delight of these visitors. Few woodpeckers may also prefer orange halves with sides of jelly or nectar.

Woodpeckers are omnivores. As such, the downy bird likes insects like caterpillars, beetles, gall wasps, ants, along with suet feeders of nuts and berries. The downy birds might eventually end up nesting.

The hairy woodpeckers also have similar interests in food as the downy woodpecker. Woodpecker red-bellied can be fed with supreme seed mix and light mix of the suet feeder, and it can also feed on sunflower seeds, orange halves apart from peanuts.

The downy and red-bellied visit almost throughout the year. The northern flicker specifically eats berries and fruits in fall and winter. Pileated woodpeckers prefer to peck wood of dead trees more frequently, sing beautifully in high pitch, and are happy with the suet feeder diet.

Conserving Endangered Woodpeckers

The woodpeckers play a very vital role in the ecological system by controlling the wood-boring insects' population. There are almost 250 recognized species of woodpecker, 20 of which are endangered due to habitat loss. Woodpecker Bermuda flicker is namely extinct. The ivory-billed and the imperial species of woodpecker are also believed to be extinct by ornithologists.

The Okinawa woodpecker is critically endangered. The population of Gila woodpecker of Canada has also reduced to half. Similar is the case with Lewis's woodpecker.

Loss of natural habitats due to deforestation, using open woodlands for agricultural purposes, or other construction can mainly be reasons for endangered species. A few species flock to artificial habitats and adapt to plantations, scattered trees, or forested remains of open countryside.

There are structured conservation projects exclusively made for conserving the woodpeckers. Conservation plans to preserve the red-cockaded woodpecker in the US have included the development of artificial cavities in the longleaf pines.

Constructing artificial cavities in longleaf pines to conserve the population is an initiative taken by the US. Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) protects all woodpeckers and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Lewis's woodpecker is named after Meriwether Lewis, who supposedly discovered the bird. The acorn woodpecker stores around 50,000 acorns in the wood holes trees. But the Nuttall's woodpecker found in the oak woodlands of California does not like an acorn.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for woodpecker types, then why not take a look at what do woodpeckers eat? or woodpecker facts.

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Written by Deepthi Reddy

Master of Business Administration

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Deepthi ReddyMaster of Business Administration

With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.

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Fact-checked by Amatullah Gulbargawala

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah Gulbargawala picture

Amatullah GulbargawalaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in the Language Arts

Amatullah is a passionate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education from Ashoka College of Education. With a keen interest in literature, she has excelled in elocution competitions and is an accomplished writer. She has completed courses like "History of English Language and Literature", "Introduction to Western Political Thought and Theory", and "Development of Soft Skills and Personality". In her free time, Amatullah enjoys reading books and writing poetry.

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