17 Kinds of Woodpeckers Present in the US! (2023)

What sorts of woodpeckers can you discover in the US?

types of woodpeckers in


Regardless of the place you reside in the US, you’ll be able to see a big number of woodpeckers. Most individuals are shocked at the wide range of species that may be discovered close to them.  

17 kinds of woodpeckers that stay in the US!

Beneath you’ll study extra about every and the right way to determine them by sight OR sound. Take note of the vary maps to see which woodpeckers stay close to you!

#1. Downy Woodpecker

Common Woodpeckers in United States

Figuring out Traits:

  • Comparatively small and has a small invoice in comparison with different woodpecker species.
  • Shade-wise, they’ve white bellies with a principally black again that options streaks and spots of white.
  • Male birds have a particular crimson spot on the again of their head, which females lack.


Downy Woodpeckers are probably the most frequent woodpeckers in the US!


You most likely acknowledge them, as they’re a well-known sight in most backyards and are present in many various habitats. Naturally, they’re seen in deciduous woods with a close-by water supply. However these birds have tailored effectively to human improvement and are generally noticed in suburban backyards, parks, orchards, and cemeteries.

Downy Woodpecker Vary Map


Fortunately, this woodpecker species is simple to attract to your yard. The perfect meals to make use of are suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts (together with peanut butter). It’s possible you’ll even spot them ingesting sugar water out of your hummingbird feeders!


As soon as you realize what to hear for, my guess is that you’ll begin listening to Downy Woodpeckers in all places you go. Their calls resemble a high-pitched whinnying sound that descends in pitch in direction of the tip. And for those who’re actually good, you’ll be able to attempt to determine this species by how they drum on bushes, which they do when in search of a mate or establishing a territory. The drumming is so quick it nearly appears like one uninterrupted sound!

Press PLAY above to listen to a Downy Woodpecker!


#2. Furry Woodpecker

Types of Woodpeckers found in United States

Figuring out Traits:

  • Their our bodies are black and white total with a protracted, chisel-like beak.
  • Male birds may be recognized by a crimson patch behind their heads, which females lack.  


Furry Woodpeckers are frequent in the US in mature forests, suburban backyards, city parks, swamps, orchards, and even cemeteries. However, truthfully, they are often discovered anyplace with an abundance of enormous bushes.


Look-wise, Furry Woodpeckers have been in comparison with troopers, as they’ve cleanly striped heads and an erect, straight-backed posture whereas on bushes. Sometimes, I see them probably the most throughout winter when their main meals supply, bugs, isn’t as plentiful. I’ve the most effective luck attracting them utilizing suet and sunflower seeds in my yard.

Furry Woodpecker Vary Map

Furry Woodpeckers may be tough to determine as a result of they give the impression of being nearly similar to Downy Woodpeckers! These two birds are complicated to many individuals and current an issue when attempting to determine the right species. Listed below are the THREE finest methods to distinguish these two woodpeckers:



  • Furry’s are bigger and measure 9 – 11 inches (23-29 cm) lengthy, about the identical dimension as an American Robin. A Downy is smaller and solely measures 6 – 7 inches (15-18 cm) in size, barely greater than a Home Sparrow.


  • Trying on the dimension of their payments in relation to their head is my FAVORITE approach to inform these woodpeckers aside. Downys have a tiny invoice, which measures a bit lower than half the size of their head, whereas Hairys have a invoice that’s nearly the identical size as their head.


Outer tail feathers:

  • If all else fails, attempt to get an excellent take a look at their outer tail feathers. Hairys shall be utterly white, whereas Downys are noticed.


Lastly, you’ll be able to hear for a Furry Woodpecker:

The commonest name is a brief, sharp “peek.This sound is just like what a Downy Woodpecker makes, besides it’s barely decrease in pitch. In addition they make a pointy rattling or whinny, which you’ll hear by urgent PLAY beneath.


#3. Northern Flicker

Northern Sparkles are splendidly good-looking birds and comparatively frequent in the US. They’re concerning the dimension of an American Robin and have a black bib and noticed stomach. However, relying in your location, these woodpeckers seem totally different. There are two distinct variations you must look ahead to:  

Variation #1: Yellow-shafted

This sub-species is generally discovered within the japanese half of North America. These birds are characterised by crimson on the again of their head and yellow feathers on their underwing and tail which can be seen in flight. Males even have a BLACK mustache stripe, which females lack.


Variation #2: Purple-shafted

This selection is discovered within the west. To appropriately determine, search for a RED mustache stripe, which is discovered on each sexes. Additionally, when they’re in flight, you’ll be able to clearly see red-orange feathers on their underwing and tail. Purple-shafted Northern Sparkles even have a principally grey face with a brown crown, whereas the Yellow-shafted selection has a brown face and grey crown.


And right here is probably the most complicated half:  

The place these two types of Northern Sparkles overlap, they breed with one another! Not surprisingly, these hybrids have a combination of each options.  

Northern Flicker Vary Map


To discover a Northern Flicker, you must look on the bottom! These birds are distinctive and don’t act like typical woodpeckers. They spend a number of time trying to find ants and beetles on the forest ground by digging via the grime! They hammer away on the soil similar to different woodpeckers drill into bushes.


Northern Sparkles are pretty simple to determine by sound! Hear for a loud ringing name that appears like a piercing “wicka-wicka-wicka.”


#4. Pileated Woodpecker

Woodpeckers species that live in United States

Figuring out Traits:

  • Principally black however with white stripes on their face and neck.
  • Search for a big triangle crimson crest on the highest of their heads.
  • Males have a crimson stripe on their cheeks, whereas the stripe is black on females.


No different woodpecker species in the US make you cease in your tracks like a Pileated Woodpecker. These birds are HUGE; adults may be as much as 19 inches (48 cm) lengthy and have a wingspan of 30 inches (76 cm). For reference, that is concerning the dimension of a crow.  

Pileated Woodpecker Vary Map


Pileated Woodpeckers are present in the US in massive, mature forests with many useless and fallen bushes. They depend on rotting wooden consisting of ants, wood-boring beetles, and termites to seek out meals, though they’ll complement their food regimen with fruits and nuts. And for those who’re fortunate, it’s attainable to see them in your yard visiting suet feeders!


These birds are fairly vocal, and you should not have any drawback listening to one. Hear for a loud “cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk,” which rises and falls in pitch and quantity. Simply to warn you, Northern Sparkles sound extremely related!


#5. Purple-bellied Woodpecker

Common Woodpeckers species in United States

Figuring out Traits:

  • Males have a vivid crimson plumage that extends from their payments to the again of their necks, whereas females solely have crimson on the again of their necks.
  • The undersides are a combination of white and tan.
  • Their backs are a black and white barred sample.


Purple-bellied Woodpeckers are one among my FAVORITE birds to see at chook feeders. I believe they’re attractive with their black and white barred backs. However their identify may be complicated since their bellies don’t really comprise a lot crimson coloring aside from an vague crimson wash.  

Purple-bellied Woodpecker Vary Map



Curiously, it has been decided that Purple-bellied Woodpeckers are probably the most dominant birds at feeders. They hardly ever again down from some other chook. I can attest to this truth, as I generally see them keeping off quite a few starlings at a time by aggressively attempting to stab these invasive birds with their invoice!


Like most different woodpeckers, Purple-bellied Woodpeckers have a protracted tongue that may lengthen practically two inches previous their invoice!

The tongue’s finish is sticky and barbed, which helps them seize bugs from deep crevices inside bushes. To suit this lengthy tongue inside their head, it wraps up and across the again of their head!


One other nice approach to discover this woodpecker is to study its calls! It’s frequent to listen to them in forests, wooded suburbs, and parks. Hear for a rolling “churr-churr-churr.”  PRESS PLAY BELOW:


#6. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

United States Woodpeckers species

Figuring out Traits:

  • Black and white bottom and a big white shoulder patch.
  • Search for their distinctive crimson crown and black and white striped face. Males have a crimson throat, whereas females are white!
  • Because the identify suggests, most people have a yellowish-white stomach. 


This migratory woodpecker is discovered within the japanese United States in younger deciduous forests. They want habitats with many rising bushes, that are good for creating productive sap wells. Their favorites appear to be maples and birches, though Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been documented drilling into over 1,000 totally different tree species.  

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Vary Map


Because the identify suggests, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers rely closely on tree sap as a high-energy meals. These birds drill holes into residing bushes, neatly organized into rows. These holes develop into sap wells, which slowly leak sap that’s eagerly eaten.  


Sap wells are even essential to hummingbirds! Some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds time their migration north every spring to correlate with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. The sugary sap ensures that hummingbirds have a meals supply since not many flowers are blooming but!


The commonest sound these birds make is a nasally, cat-like “meow,” which is usually repeated.


#7. Purple-headed Woodpecker

  • Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Figuring out Traits:

  • A big crimson head and a invoice bigger than most different woodpecker species.
  • Their again is totally black, apart from white wing patches, which contrasts in opposition to the pure white stomach.


This chook will get my vote for the best-looking woodpecker in the US! Due to their daring patterning, these birds are typically known as the “flying checkerboard.”


Sadly, populations of Purple-headed Woodpeckers have declined in the US by over 70% prior to now 50 years! The principle perpetrator is habitat loss because of the destruction of big beech forests, which produce beechnuts, one among their favourite meals. As well as, and for aesthetic causes, most individuals minimize down useless bushes, which these woodpeckers depend upon for nesting cavities.

Purple-headed Woodpecker Vary Map


Purple-headed Woodpeckers are one of many solely woodpecker species identified to retailer meals. They are going to conceal nuts, seeds, or bugs underneath bark, fence posts, and even wedged underneath roof shingles. Extremely, they’ll even retailer LIVE crickets by shoving them in a crevice so tightly they’ll’t escape!


When you occur to seek out your self within the appropriate habitat, be sure to hear for one! Their most typical name is a shrill “tchur,” which sounds just like a Purple-bellied Woodpecker, besides it’s a bit extra higher-pitched and doesn’t roll as a lot.  


#8. Purple-cockaded Woodpecker


Curiously, though the identify suggests in any other case, Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers don’t have a lot crimson plumage on their physique! Solely the males have an extraordinarily tiny, nearly invisible crimson spot behind their eyes. Along with white cheeks, the remainder of the physique options black and white bars, stripes, and spots.


Though as soon as widespread, Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers are actually exhausting to seek out in the US. They have been even added to the Endangered Species checklist in 1970.  

Purple-cockaded Woodpecker Vary Map


The issue for these birds is that they’re habitat specialists, as they strongly want residing in Longleaf Pine forests. Sadly, any such tree has been extensively logged all through many of the southeast and changed with different pine species.


These birds have an attention-grabbing method of deterring rat snakes, which climb bushes and prey on younger woodpeckers contained in the nest cavity. Sap wells are drilled close to the nest’s entrance, which leaks sap down the tree and makes it exhausting for the snakes to ascend!  


Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers are very vocal! The perfect-known sound is an alarm name, which appears like a raspy “sklit.” A rattling noise can also be given when in flight. LISTEN BELOW!


#9. Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpeckers are extremely distinctive in the case of woodpeckers.


  For instance, listed here are a couple of attributes that these birds possess:  

  • Lewis’s Woodpeckers look totally different and are bulkier than different species of woodpecker. Each women and men have a inexperienced again, pink physique, grey collar, and a crimson face patch! I believe it appears like Christmas determined to make a woodpecker! ?
  • It’s extraordinarily uncommon to seek out these birds drilling right into a tree in search of wood-boring bugs. As an alternative, they catch bugs in midair by ready patiently from a perch, just like flycatchers.
  • Lastly, Lewis’s Woodpeckers fly utilizing gradual, deep wingbeats and incessantly glide, which resembles how a crow flies. Most different woodpecker species have extra of a bounding flight sample.

Lewis’s Woodpecker Vary Map


Search for these nomadic woodpeckers within the western United States in open ponderosa pine forests, just lately burned areas, oak woodlands, orchards, and pinyon-juniper woods.  


Lewis’s Woodpeckers are extra silent than different woodpecker species. However in the course of the mating season, you might hear a harsh “churr” name given by the male, repeated a number of instances in a row. LISTEN BELOW!


#10. Purple-naped Sapsucker

Figuring out Traits:

  • Smaller woodpeckers with black our bodies, a white vertical stripe down the wing, and a crimson crown.
  • Male birds have a crimson throat and crimson nape (again of the neck).
  • Females even have a crimson throat, however there may be additionally a small white patch slightly below the invoice, and their nape may be white or crimson.


Purple-naped Sapsuckers are generally present in the US close to aspen, birch, and willow bushes. Search for their presence by inspecting these bushes for tiny holes which have been drilled for sap.


To slurp up sap, these migratory woodpeckers have a specialised tongue. Imagine it or not, they’ve stiff hairs on the ends, which helps drink the sap extra successfully. The sap wells they create are essential to them, they usually spend a number of time defending them from different birds.  

Purple-naped Sapsucker Vary Map

Purple-naped Sapsuckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Purple-breasted Sapsuckers was once lumped collectively as the identical species. However in 1983, researchers decided that they wanted to be separated into particular person species. However the place territories overlap, these species will breed with one another. So for those who ever have bother differentiating between sapsucker species, please know you might be taking a look at a hybrid!


The commonest sound you’ll hear is a harsh, repeated “waah.” Some individuals assume they sound like a small baby crying. You may as well hear for his or her drumming, which is comparatively gradual and irregular.


#11. Williamson’s Sapsucker

Figuring out Traits:

  • Males: Their our bodies are principally black with massive white wing patches. Faces have two distinctive white stripes working horizontally. Bellies are yellow, and the throat shows a small crimson patch.
  • Females: Horizontal black and white barring enhance their backs. The top is brown. On their chest, search for a black breast patch.


Williamson’s Sapsuckers are frequent woodpeckers discovered within the western United States. These birds are sometimes present in intensive, mature coniferous forests.


These woodpeckers are distinctive as a result of women and men look totally totally different! This attribute is uncommon in woodpeckers, the place each sexes sometimes seem related. In actual fact, when these birds have been first found, it took scientists a very long time to even notice they have been the identical species!

Williamson’s Sapsuckers Vary Map


These birds rely closely on tree sap for meals. Shallow holes are drilled into bushes, known as sap wells, which permit the sugary liquid to movement. Williamson’s Sapsuckers ONLY eat sap from conifer bushes, leaving deciduous bushes alone.  


With regards to woodpeckers, these birds make a novel sound. Their nasally descending calls (“chyahh“) sound extra like a raptor!


#12. American Three-toed Woodpecker

Figuring out Traits:

  • Each sexes have black and white barring round and throughout their our bodies.
  • Males have a yellow crown on the highest of their heads, whereas females have a black crown with white spots and streaks.  


In the US, American Three-toed Woodpeckers stay amongst conifer bushes.

Particularly, these birds are present in disturbed areas, reminiscent of coniferous forests, which have been broken by fires, wind storms, or floods. These locations have a lot of useless bushes and limbs, which are a magnet for beetle larvae that these woodpeckers feast on!

American Three-toed Woodpecker Vary Map

One attention-grabbing truth about this chook is that it breeds farther north than ANY different woodpecker in North America!


American Three-toed Woodpeckers have a particular foraging fashion. They chip at useless or dying bushes till items of bark break off, which provides them entry to the bugs (and typically sap) beneath. A superb indication that these birds are within the space is that if yow will discover a tree with patches of darkish outer bark and lighter inside bark.


In-flight, you may additionally hear a descending rattle, which has similarities in sound to a kingfisher. Their typical name is a delicate, squeaking “mew” or “pik.”  


#13. Black-backed Woodpecker

Figuring out Traits:

  • These woodpeckers are comparatively simple to determine since they’ve a strong black again.
  • Males have a particular yellow patch on the highest of their heads, which females lack.  


Discovering a Black-backed Woodpecker is simple! All you must do is use forests which have been burned inside the final eight years!


These woodpeckers are habitat specialists and find just lately burned areas simply weeks after the hearth blazes via. These birds feast on the wood-boring beetles that begin infesting the useless bushes. The feasting is so good that Black-backed Woodpeckers will keep in these areas from 5 to eight years after the preliminary burn.  

Black-backed Woodpecker Vary Map


Their name appears like a tough or sharp “kyiik” or “pik.”



#14. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Figuring out Traits:

  • Black and white barred again and wings, with a grayish physique that features black spots.
  • They’re comparatively small and about the identical dimension as a Downy Woodpecker (I believe they give the impression of being related).
  • Males have a crimson crown, which females lack.  


The small dimension of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers permits them to be extremely agile. This talent is required as they navigate the sharp spines and thorns of the various crops they forage on.  

Ladder-backed Woodpecker Vary Map


Search for Ladder-backed Woodpeckers within the southwestern United States in locations that don’t comprise too many bushes. I do know that sounds humorous for a woodpecker, however this species is present in arid habitats reminiscent of deserts, desert scrubs, thorn forests, and pinyon-juniper forests.


Hear for a transparent, high-pitched “pik” name, which is commonly repeated and used to remain in touch with one another. These birds additionally give a harsh rattle name, which sounds just like different small woodpecker species.


#15. Purple-breasted Sapsucker

Figuring out Traits:

  • Search for a medium-sized chook with a crimson head, crimson breast, and a white spot in entrance of the attention.
  • Giant white patches seem on the wings.
  • Each women and men look the identical.  


Purple-breasted Sapsuckers are discovered within the western United States in coniferous forests, sometimes at decrease elevations.


Because the identify suggests, sapsuckers drill wells into bushes to eat the sugary liquid that leaks out. Their favourite bushes to make use of are willows and birches. Along with sap, these woodpeckers additionally eat bugs and a few fruits.

Purple-breasted Sapsucker Vary Map


Curiously, Rufous Hummingbirds are inclined to observe Purple-breasted Sapsuckers round. These tiny birds get pleasure from feeding on the sap the sapsuckers get flowing and are even identified to nest close to the wells.


Their name is a harsh, slurred “whee-ur” or “mew.


#16. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpeckers are sometimes simple to seek out within the western United States.

You simply want to seek out and take a stroll in a forest with LOTS of oak bushes and search for a chook that resembles a clown!  


These woodpeckers depend on acorns as one among their main meals sources (therefore the identify). They’ve an attention-grabbing method of storing these acorns, as they put every nut into individually drilled holes in “storage” bushes.  


These bushes, additionally known as granaries, can home as much as 50,000 nuts that the woodpeckers use for meals when wanted! The acorns are shoved so tightly into every area that different animals have issue getting them out. And amazingly, all of those tiny holes don’t kill the tree! However in case you have a home with wooden siding, and these woodpeckers have found it, you’ll have a tough time eliminating them. ?  

Acorn Woodpecker Vary Map


Acorn Woodpeckers even have extremely fascinating and sophisticated social lives. For instance, they stay in household teams of as much as twelve people. These teams cooperate in lots of elements, together with elevating younger, discovering meals, and guarding the meals saved of their granaries.


These birds make very distinctive sounds, so be sure to hear for Acorn Woodpeckers if you end up mountain climbing in an oak forest. Calls resemble “waka-waka-waka.”


#17. White-headed Woodpecker

With regards to woodpeckers present in the US, this species is exclusive!  


First, the White-headed Woodpecker has a really distinctive look. The chook’s total physique is roofed in black feathers, apart from its daring white head! One look, and you know the way it acquired its identify. Males have a small crimson patch on the again of their heads, which females lack.  

White-headed Woodpecker Vary Map


Second, these woodpeckers require a really particular habitat. Search for them in mountainous old-growth pine forests within the western United States, particularly ones with open canopies and LOTS of pine cones.


White-headed Woodpeckers LOVE to eat pine seeds. They receive their favourite meals by prying and hammering in opposition to pine cones till they’ve gotten their reward. These birds additionally eat bugs throughout hotter months, reminiscent of ants, beetles, and termites, like regular woodpeckers. And for those who stay inside their vary, be sure to place out a suet feeder, as they’ll go to backyards that supply a constant meals supply.


White-head Woodpeckers have a name that appears like a pointy “pee-dink” or “pee-dee-dee-dink.” Nevertheless it’s not typically heard, as these birds are principally silent.


Which kinds of woodpeckers have you ever seen earlier than in the US?


Depart a remark beneath! 


To study extra about different birds close to you, take a look at these guides!


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