Is your Woodpecker’s Head Red?
When asked about woodpeckers most respondents identify a small black and white bird with a touch of red on its crown as a Red-headed Woodpecker. The problem is that the smaller woodpecker could be a Downy or a Hairy Woodpecker and the Red-headed Woodpecker is probably a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Some have seen the unforgettable Pileated Woodpecker, but they aren’t a common visitor to backyard feeders. Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker The Hairy Woodpecker is slightly larger than the Downy, but since size is relative it usually isn’t the determining characteristic. Instead look to the bill – the Hairy Woodpecker has a solid woodpecker profile while the Downy Woodpecker’s profile is much more delicate. An interesting fact from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "Male and female Downy Woodpeckers divide up where they look for food in winter. Males feed more on small branches and weed stems, and females feed on larger branches and trunks. Males keep females from foraging in the more productive spots. When researchers have removed males from a woodlot, females have responded by feeding along smaller branches". Red-headed Woodpecker The Red-headed Woodpecker is a stunning bird that is primarily black and sports a magnificent solid red head and neck. While it is a year-round resident of the Gulf Coast, it is relatively rare in backyard gardens. Red-bellied Woodpecker The Red-bellied Woodpecker has a red crown and nape, but the eyes, cheeks and throat are the same off-white as the belly. The back is covered in a pattern of black and white called “ladder-back”. Red-bellied woodpeckers can often be seen doing crazy contortions trying [...]