Red bellied woodpecker

Learn facts about red bellied woodpeckers to help with identificationIn this article you will find many interesting red bellied woodpecker facts. You will find cool pictures of red bellied woodpeckers, learn their size, color, markings, and features, find out what type of habitats they prefer to live in, range, mating, breeding, and nesting details, diet and feeding preferences, other noteworthy behavioral traits, and what types of voice patterns and communication (sound, song, call) they exhibit. All of this detailed information will assist you in their identification.



Red bellied woodpecker identification – color, markings, features

Red bellied woodpecker pictures

  • Face and underparts whitish / tan
  • Black wings with white barring
  • Faint red-orange color on belly (thus its’ name)
  • Male has red crown extending from base of bill to top of back (nape)
  • Female has red only on nape (does not extend to base of bill)
  • similar to Golden fronted woodpecker and Gila woodpecker of southwestern United States

Red bellied woodpecker size

  • about 9 inchesAdult red bellied woodpeckers feed their babies
  • bill is about 1.25 inches
  • wingspan about 18 inches
  • weight about 3-3.5 ounces

Red bellied woodpecker range

  • central and eastern United States – western North Dakota south to western Texas and all states east of that line (except for most of Vermont and New Hampshire and all of Maine)
  • extreme southern portions of Manitoba and Ontario in Canada

Red bellied woodpecker population statistics

  • according to various bird counts conducted through out its’ range, the population of red bellied woodpeckers is steadily increasing

Will red bellied woodpeckers come to a bird feeder?

Red bellied woodpeckers normally lay between 3 and 7 eggs in a nestYes, red bellied woodpeckers will readily accept supplemental feeding and will come to a specially designed woodpecker feeder.

Red bellied woodpecker diet

To learn other details about their feeding habits and what they like to eat read What do red bellied woodpeckers eat.

Red bellied woodpecker habitat

Red bellied woodpeckers forage on trunks of trees and tree branchesRed bellied’s inhabit old and new growth forests, forested woodlots, parks and suburban areas all across the eastern United States. These woodpeckers can be found in oak and pine forests, maple and hardwood forests, and mainly cypress swamps and along forested edges of lakes, rivers, and creeks in their southern range.

Red bellied woodpecker nest – nesting, breeding, and mating

Red bellied’s predominantly nest in free standing dead trees or dying trees, but they will also nest in dying parts of live trees. Both male and female Red bellied’s participate in chiseling out the nest cavity, but the male starts the cavity alone, then does most of the work after attracting a female. The entrance hole to the nest is normally about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter, the depth about 10 to 15 inches, and the hole is cylinder shaped, wider at the bottom of the hole to make room for eggs and incubation. The bottom of the nest contains nothing but some wood chips left over from excavating the hole. Red bellied’s are one of the few woodpeckers that will breed and mate more than once a year, but typically do so in mid spring first, and then if unsuccessful may breed again soon thereafter. They typically lay between 3 and 7 solid white colored smooth eggs, which measure about .75 inch by 1 inch. Egg incubation is about 12 days and the nesting period is normally complete after about 26 days.

Red bellied woodpecker call and sounds

Red bellied woodpecker photoBoth male and female red bellied’s use multiple chattering ‘chir’ calls that last for just a few seconds for locating and communicating with each other. Both sexes also do ‘drumming’ (rapidly pecking on the sides of trees and branches), but normally only in bursts that last for about 1 second.


Other noted behavioral traits of Red bellied woodpeckers

Red bellied’s are probably one of the more prevalent woodpecker species and are commonly observed all across their range. While they do make communication and drumming noises, they probably do so a lot less frequently than other woodpeckers. Red bellied’s are also one of the few woodpeckers that cache (store) food.

Related species:

Pileated woodpecker