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A male Red-bellied Woodpecker enjoying some suet in
my backyard in northeast Iowa. USA

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

Color Pattern
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.

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Hello! I am a wife, mother, worship leader and piano teacher. Photography is a new passion of mine. I also enjoy singing, playing the piano & flute, bicycling and the theatre! Thank you for all your kindness and support here. God bless you!

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  • Ruth Lambert
    Ruth Lambertabout 2 years ago


  • Thank you so much, Ruth!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • barnsis
    barnsisabout 2 years ago

    Brilliant close up of this beautiful male, I got some more images his twin today!!!

  • Thank you so much, Byron & Julie!!

    – lorilee

  • Mark Hughes
    Mark Hughesabout 2 years ago

    Lovely capture Lori.

  • Thanks, Mark!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Phil Thomson IPA
    Phil Thomson IPAabout 2 years ago

    A wonderful capture, Lori !!!

  • Thank you, Phil!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Jack Ryan
    Jack Ryanabout 2 years ago

    Excellent color and clarity…nicely done.

  • Thank you so much, Jack!!

    – lorilee

  • Monnie Ryan
    Monnie Ryanabout 2 years ago

    Love these guys – well done!

  • Thanks, Monnie!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • mltrue
    mltrueabout 2 years ago

    Excellent! I can never seem to get very close to the birds. Need a bigger lens I guess. I have a 300mm

  • Thank you, Michelle!!! I just use a simple “point and shoot” camera, however, I feed the
    birds and they come very close to my window where I capture most of the birds!! LOL

    – lorilee

  • peaky40
    peaky40about 2 years ago

    Gorgeous capture Lorilee!

  • Thank you so much, Roy!!!

    – lorilee

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47about 2 years ago

    This is a wonderful catch of this beauty! We’ve had a spectacular male vying with our crazed Bluejay population for peanuts on the ground just outside our back door. We see the Red-bellieds on our trees once in a while, but this peanut predation is new! Would love to get a shot like this, but our subject is just too shy at the moment! ~ Sheila

  • Thanks, Sheila!!! Your woodpecker will get braver in time!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 2 years ago


  • Thank you, Dot!!! :o)

    – lorilee

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