Woodpeckers & Sapsuckers

White-headed Woodpecker

Look for The white-headed woodpecker has, as the name suggests, a white head and throat—distinctive in North America. Males have a small patch of red on the back of the crown, while the rest of its body plumage is a solid black. It has white patches on its wings and black legs and bill. Its… See details »

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Look for Lewis’s woodpecker is a medium-sized bird that was named after Meriwether Lewis who discovered the bird during his famous expedition. It has a dark greenish-black hood, black, wings and tail, and a dark crimson face. It has a gray collar and chest and a pinkish-red belly. Its bill and legs are both black… See details »

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn woodpecker, photo by Don Faulkner via Wiki Commons

Look For Loud, active, and boldly marked, the acorn woodpecker is hard to miss. Both males and females are black-backed and have a facial pattern resembling clown makeup (black and yellow face, white eye, black bill, red head patch), but the male has a more extensive red crown. White rump and wing patches stand out… See details »

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Red-cockaded woodpecker

Look For The red-cockaded woodpecker is black and white and medium-sized—slightly smaller than a hairy woodpecker. Both males and females have large white cheek patches, which separate red-cockaded woodpeckers from all other species in range. The male wears a little red “cockade” over its ears, but it is rarely seen. Listen For The red-cockaded woodpecker… See details »

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Alabama birding in winter could include spotting a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Photo by Robert Stanowski

Look For The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a medium-sized woodpecker (8 ½ inches in length) with extensive black-and-white barring over much of its back, wings, and tail. Adults have a brilliant red crown patch and adult males have a red throat patch outlined in black. Females have a white throat. The lemon-yellow belly can be difficult… See details »

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker, red-shafted (Photo: Dominic Sherony/Creative Commons)

Look for A familiar and fairly large (13 inches long) woodpecker, the northern flicker is a distinctively marked bird that—unlike other woodpeckers—is often seen foraging on the ground. The northern flicker is all field marks with its bright yellow wing flashes, white rump, spotted breast, and barred back. It is not easily confused with any… See details »

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker at nest site (Photo: Bill Thompson, III)

Look for A striking combination of red, black, and white, the red-headed woodpecker is our most easily identifiable woodpecker and a favorite of many bird watchers. The red-headed woodpecker could be called the red-hooded woodpecker because the red on adult birds forms a complete hood. Some mistakenly refer to the red-bellied woodpecker (which has a… See details »

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker (Photo: Dominic Sherony/Creative Commons)

Look for The pileated Woodpecker is the largest living woodpecker in North America. Both male and female pileated woodpeckers sport a red crest; the female’s forehead is brownish and the male’s is scarlet. A dull, dark charcoal-gray overall, pileateds reveal a large amount of white in the underwing when they take flight. Seen crossing high… See details »

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker (Photo: Dick Daniels/Creative Commons)

Look for A familiar visitor to bird feeders, the hairy woodpecker is named for the long, hair-like white feathers on its back. The hairy looks like a super-sized version of a downy woodpecker, but the best way to tell these two similar species apart is to compare the length of the bill to the length… See details »

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker, female (Photo: Emmett Hume/Creative Commons)

Look for The downy is the smallest (6 ¾ inches long), most common, and most widespread woodpecker. Its black-and-white plumage is similar to that of the larger (9 ¼ inches long) hairy woodpecker. In both species, the males have a red patch at the back of the head. Downy woodpeckers have an all-white breast and… See details »

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