The Red-headed Woodpecker is a ferocious, vibrant bird that can be found over a large portion of the swamps, grasslands, and clearings in the continental United States. With a bright-red head, white underparts, and black backs, these feathered fowl are easily identifiable whether they are deep in a forest or hanging out on trees roadside. Among their strong flight abilities, Red-headed Woodpecker’s unique traits make them stand out.
These nomadic birds prefer to differ their breeding location year-after-year. However, even when not in breeding season, Red-headed Woodpeckers can be found nesting in dead trees and cavities in dead parts of living trees. Although both partners build a nest, the male woodpecker is the dominant craftsman. Speaking of mates, Red-headed Woodpeckers prefer to play “hide and seek” with potential partners as they dart around stumps, branches, and trees: once a mate is chosen, woodpeckers remain monogamous for a few consecutive years.
Fun Facts About the Red-headed Woodpecker
One-third of their diet are animal materials (insects) and two-thirds are plant materials (fruit, nuts, and seeds).
One of the most skillful flycatchers among the North American woodpecker species.
The only North American woodpecker to store food and cover it with wood or bark.
Cherokee Indians use Red-headed Woodpeckers as a symbol in war.
Ornithologist Alexander Wilson realized his passion for wild birds because of his interest in this woodpecker in the 1700s.
The Red-headed Woodpecker that visited your yard last year is probably not the same one you are seeing this year. The birds tend to be very nomadic.
Did you know that some wild birds get nicknames? Well they do! The Red-headed Woodpecker is also referred to as: half-a-shirt, shirt tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, or flying checker-board.
Have you spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker in your neighborhood? Visit us on Facebook to share your pictures and stories! Also, be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to be notified of other interesting birding articles, as well as exclusive deals on your favorite bird feeders and accessories.