The female Red-bellied Woodpecker in my backyard
in northeast Iowa. USA
Melanerpes carolinus ORDER: PICIFORMES FAMILY: PICIDAE
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.
Size & Shape
A sleek, round-headed woodpecker, about the same size as a Hairy Woodpecker but without the blocky outlines.
Often appears pale overall, even the boldly black-and-white striped back, with flashing red cap and nape. Look for white patches near the wingtips as this bird flies.
Look for Red-bellied Woodpeckers hitching along branches and trunks of medium to large trees, picking at the bark surface more often than drilling into it. Like most woodpeckers, these birds have a characteristic undulating flight pattern.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common in many Eastern woodlands and forests, from old stands of oak and hickory to young hardwoods and pines. They will also often venture from forests to appear at backyard feeders.