Red Bellied Woodpecker

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Description:

Named for its light red stomach, the Red bellied Woodpecker is most easily identified by the red spot on the top of its head. It is a very attractive bird with a brightly barred black and white back that also stands out against dark backgrounds. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium to large-sized bird with a height of around 9 inches and a wingspan of 13-17 inches. They weigh in the range of 1.98-3.21 ounces.

Diet:

Red-bellied Woodpeckers eat quite a range of food--their favorite is any of the large number of insects that live on tree bark and leaves. The bird can also pluck insects out of the air. They will eat seeds, suet bird food, nuts, and berries and are common sights at backyard bird feeders. Their tastes include black-oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, pieces of dried fruit and suet. They will even store their food in the hollows of trees to eat later. Red bellied Woodpeckers can be seen hanging upside down to feed on berries found on bushes. Strangely enough, this woodpecker also eats tree frogs, small lizards, fish, nestlings, birds, and eggs.



Nesting Habits

This woodpecker nests in the holes it finds in dead trees and limbs. It will nest in man-made bird houses as long as it is of the proper bird house dimensions and mounted on a tree. It is extremely territorial and has been known to drag another woodpecker from a hole and kill it. Unfortunately  the European Starling frequently drags Red-bellied Woodpeckers out of their own holes. These woodpeckers usually have 2-6 white eggs in a clutch and lay them on wood chips they have dug from the hole.

To attract a mate, these woodpeckers will tap not only on trees, but also on utility poles, house siding, metal roofs and even the occasional automobile. Overall, the Red bellied Woodpecker is a beautiful bird with many unique qualities.

More Information:

While the male Red-bellied Woodpecker can be identified by its brilliant red head and neck, the female has the red only on the nape of the neck and it does not extend into the forehead. The rest of the coloring is the same whether male or female. The bird's rump is white and quite easily spotted in flight. The under parts and face are light gray to whitish. The rest of the woodpecker (legs, feet, eyes and bill) is very dark in color. The black tail feathers are striking with white barring on mid and outer feathers.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers will make sounds like "kwirr", as well as "cha" noises. They have an unusual barbed tongue that can extend beyond their bill by 2-½ to 4 cm, which makes them more adept than any other species of woodpecker at getting insects out of trees. In addition, they have larger glands under their tongues than other woodpeckers and these glands excrete an unusually sticky saliva.

As for habitat, the Red bellied Woodpecker likes deciduous trees, whether in forests or suburban locations. They are not a migratory bird and can be found from Southern New England across New York, Minnesota and Wisconsin, south as far as the Gulf Coast and west into Eastern Texas and Colorado. In extremely cold winters, this bird may prefer to remain within the southern-most sections of this area. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is the most common woodpecker found in the Southwestern United States.

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Red-bellied Woodpeckers are one of the most interesting wild birds to visit our backyard feeders. Unfortunately not everyone gets to see them. If you are fortunate enough to see them in your yard please tell us about them.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Red bellied woodpeckers at my feeder 
I have a pair of resident red bellied woodpeckers that visit my squirrel-proof feeder filled with black oil sunflower seed. They usually announce their …

Definitely an appropriate name! 
I read one reader's comment about these birds' name, (as being inappropriate) and wanted to submit these photos I took today of one of "my" little "red-bellied" …

New family 
We have in our back yard dead pecan tree. And for several years small woodpeckers where very busy on this tree. Finally they dig a nesting hole. They occupied …

Red belly shows! 
Here's a local red bellied wood pecker the photo of which really shows off its "red-belly!" Great yard visitor who likes peanuts.

C W 
My beautiful red-bellied woodpecker was at the feeder again this morning. I have a metal fly-through large gazebo style feeder; he clamps onto the side …

Male Red-bellied only 
We have been feeding birds for several years now. We added suet feeders 3 years ago. We added our third suet feeder this February. We have had a Red-belly …

Red Bellied 
We have a nesting pair in our back yard tree. They made a nest in a large cut limb right above our large wind chimes. The Starlings have been a problem. …

Injured Red-bellied 
I have a Red-bellied coming to my home. I watched as he tried and tried to hang on to the feeder to feed, but couldn't hold on. Then I seen that his left …

strange behavior of my red bellied woodpecker 
1/29/15 when I went to my bow window this am my regular visitor, the red bellied woodpecker was at my suet feeder, his behavior was very strange, never …

Red Bellied Woodpecker new to my feeders 
I noticed a different looking Woodpecker at my feeders one day. When I looked it up in my bird book it showed me that it was a Red Bellied Woodpecker. …

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Maine 
I live in Southern Maine and put out some suet cakes and bird seed and set up a large bird feeding station. Just today I looked out my bedroom window …

Red bellied woodpecker  
Our woodpecker in previous years pecked on trees,poles,posts anything really but this year has decided that western cedar Is where he wants to do his …

A New Visitor 
Well recently here in Pennsylvania; Butler to be exact, we feed an abundance of birds. In the winter now, we usually only get a lot of snowbirds (dark-eyed …

Joseph the Gardener 
I often see them pecking at power poles, both wood and sometimes steel. I thought that it was a bit weird like they didn't know any better. Now, I know …

battle of la cinuelica!!! 
I laid out a small flower bed earlier this year,all was going well till I came out 1 morning and found bed full of HOLES??upto about 4lnch dia &appx.1inch …

Nest building 
I have been watching the nest building of a pair of red bellied woodpeckers. The mom is on the nest but sadly the male has not returned in 2 days. What …

My neighbors the Woodpeckers 
We moved to Pembroke Pines,FL about two years ago. Our house had some palm trees on the backyard, my husband was about to remove one of them when I noticed …

Red Bellied 
I am very surpized to see this beautiful bird in my back yard eating dry dog food. I live in the Imperial Valley and I had never seen a wood pecker around …

Red bellied woodpecker in camp Douglas,wi 
I have been bird watching through my kitchen window for about a year now, today is the first time that I have seen him. Camera battery is charging so I …

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker 
For the last four days or so this bird has been making an appearance on my back patio helping to clean up the feeder spillage. only shows itself briefly …

red bellied woodpecker 
I found a red bellied woodpecker that can't fly. brought him home, but not sure what to do with him. any suggestions?

semiller 
I had a red bellied woodpecker at the feeder yesterday. Never saw one before but it was traveling with a downy wood pecker & came for a suet breakfast. …

Red bellied woodpeckers 
Hi everyone. I get these great woodpeckers ever year. We alway have multiple feeders out with just black oil sunflower seeds. Every so often we put out …

Red Bellied Woodpecker at our house 
We were watching the many birds that were flying to our bird feeder eating the black sunflower seeds. We often do have the Downy Woodpecker visit but this …

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Red Bellied Woodpecker recovers 
Someone brought me a Red-bellied last week. (I work at a vets office) He has a broken wing but is progressing nicely. Such a beautiful creature. I have …

Red-Bellied Woodpecker sits on window feeder 
I was standing in the kitchen and was talking to my 12 year old daughter when this huge bird decided to sit on the window feeder. Now mind you the …

Seldom Seen Red Headed Woodpecker  
When we built our home in 1991 we were visited several times the first spring by one of natures most beautiful birds a red headed woodpecker. He would …

First Year for Red Bellied Woodpeckers At Our Feeders! 
This year, we noticed a bird that we had never before seen at our feeders. It was perched on our fence, and then flew down to the feeder. I took note of …

Tandcloud  Not rated yet
I live in an apt complex surrounded by trees. I have put out suet for woodpeckers in a suet hanger. I have had small Downey woodpeckers and today I noted …

Melbourne, FL Red Bellied Not rated yet
Here's a local red bellied wood pecker the photo of which really shows off its "red-belly!" Great yard visitor who likes peanuts.

bequik Not rated yet
WE Live in upstate western New York just off Lake Ontario and most of the area around our home is open corn fields or apple orchards there fore we have …

Why "Red-Bellied" for its name? Not rated yet
We seem to have several "Red-Bellied" Woodpeckers stopping by at our feeders. They do not appear to have red bellies, but white to gray colors. I've tried …

Pileated woodpecker knocking for a mate Not rated yet
Several months ago we were visited by a family of pileated woodpeckers. Momma Daddy and three kids. It was quite a sight to see the antics of the young …

Red Bellied Woodpecker Nesting Not rated yet
Aug. 2013... We have had these beautiful Red Bellied Woodpeckers at our feeders for a number of years along with the occasional yearly visit of Downey, …

Bird lover Not rated yet
We have 3 or more pairs of red bellied woodpeckers that come to our feeders. It can get hard to tell them apart and to know exactly how many. We feed …

Joseph the Gardener Not rated yet
Just saw one pecking at some small papaya fruit on a male/female hybrid tree in yard. It was late afternoon at 7300 Central Avenue Saint Petersburg, Florida …

red bellied woodpecker  Not rated yet
I'm having trouble with black birds at my red bellied woodpecker feeder. Since this is a larger bird I can't use feeder that discourage large bully birds. …

Nesting red bellied Not rated yet
We have a dead tree in our back yard which I've been wanting to take down for a couple of years now. All of a sudden I have red-bellied woodpeckers nesting …

Red-Bellied Woodpecker in Nova Scotia Not rated yet
Just looking at one in our yard! Never saw one before, must have been blown here by Sandy! They are not supposed to be this far north. Thank you for listing …

Red Bellied Woodpecker visitor today Not rated yet
showed up to eat the peanuts and sunflowers I have out

Red Bellied Woodpecker eating niger seed Not rated yet
Watched a Red Bellied Woodpecker eating niger seed from my feeder, here in Waterloo Ontario Canada.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers in my oak tree -HELP! Not rated yet
I have 2 Red bellied woodpeckers drilling several huge holes in one of my trees branches. It looks like one male and one female preparing to lay eggs. …

Woopeckers Not rated yet
Hello I have been feeding our feathered friends for over 25 years and am fortunate to have a variety of woodpeckers; downy, hairy, red bellied and pilleated. …

Our Woodpeckers Not rated yet
Here are a few pictures of our red bellied Woodpeckers.

Daily woodpeckers Not rated yet
We are so thrilled to watch our 2 pair of woodpeckers everyday. We have a pair of little Downy's and a pair of the Red Bellied Woodpeckers. The Downy …

Our own "Woody" Not rated yet
A male red-bellied woody first came to our sunflower feeder a month ago and is a constant visitor now. A female came for several days and then we saw her …

A Starling Feeding a Redbellied Woodpecker at the feeder Not rated yet
I saw this starling feeding a red bellied woopecker the other day and it looked so wierd. Why would a starling be feeding red bellied woodpecker? …

Red Bellied Woodpecker Not rated yet
I put peanut butter on a hanging 1 foot piece of 4x4 and have seen the woodpecker come to it with a big brown spider, rub the spider in the peanut butter, …

Old Friend, New Habits Not rated yet
I've been a bird feeder for many years and always considered the appearance of a Red Bellied Woodpeckers a special occasion. Lately I've been excited …

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everyone welcome,only not the bluejay! Not rated yet
I have three birdfeeders in my backyard that are usually filled with some birdfood mixture that I've gotten because I happen to see it and remember …

Valentine's Day visit Not rated yet
We happened to spot a beautiful Red Bellied Woodpecker on our birch tree, near our feeder. It was majestic. The red was perfect for the date, Valentine's …

Daily sightings Not rated yet
Here all through the year -- nest cavities in dead tulip poplar trees 70' off the ground -- come to the feeders for suet with corn and peanuts -- …

Seen today 22-04-09 Not rated yet
Was seen having lunch on a small-medium tree trunk aprox. 8' off the ground. The tree is situated along a busy street at the edge of a teacher's parking …

Red Bellied Woodpecker Not rated yet
I have a few red beddlied woodpeckers that visit daily. I have several different feeds, but they seem to go for the corn more than anything else.

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