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Red-bellied Woodpecker

ID Info
Silhouette WoodpeckersWoodpeckers
Red-bellied WoodpeckerMelanerpes carolinus
  • ORDER: Piciformes
  • FAMILY: Picidae

Basic Description

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are pale, medium-sized woodpeckers common in forests of the East. Their strikingly barred backs and gleaming red caps make them an unforgettable sight – just resist the temptation to call them Red-headed Woodpeckers, a somewhat rarer species that's mostly black on the back with big white wing patches. Learn the Red-bellied's rolling call and you’ll notice these birds everywhere.

More ID Info
image of range map for Red-bellied Woodpecker
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Keep an eye out for this species in eastern woodlands all year round, particularly at middle heights and along main branches and trunks of trees. It pays to learn the bird’s calls, too: Red-bellied Woodpeckers are loud and call frequently during spring and summer.

Other Names

  • Carpintero de Carolina (Spanish)
  • Pic à ventre roux (French)

Backyard Tips

Red-bellied Woodpeckers bring bright colors and entertaining action to bird feeders. If you live near any wooded patches, you may be able to attract them using feeders filled with suet (in winter), peanuts, and sometimes sunflower seeds. They’ve even been spotted drinking nectar from hummingbird feeders. Dead trees may encourage the birds to forage naturally or even nest in your yard, and they may feed on berry trees such as hawthorn or mountain-ash in fall or winter. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts