Red-headed Woodpecker – Call | Habitat | Range | Size | Facts | Diet

Red-headed Woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker, scientific name Melanerpes erythrocephalus is a small or medium-sized woodpecker from temperate North America. Their breeding habitat is open nation throughout southern Canada and the eastern-central United States. It is rated as the least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Endangered species, having been downlisted from close to threatened in 2018. In this article, I am going to talk about the Red-headed Woodpecker call, habitat, sounds, range, size, female, facts, diet, etc.

Red-headed woodpecker profile

The red-bellied woodpecker additionally has its most outstanding red a part of its plumage on the top, however, it seems fairly totally different in different respects.

The attractive Red-headed Woodpecker is so boldly patterned it’s been known as a “flying checkerboard,” with a completely crimson head, a snow-white body, and half white, half inky black wings.

These birds don’t act fairly like most different woodpeckers: they’re adept at catching bugs within the air, and so they eat plenty of acorns and beechnuts, usually hiding away additional meals in tree crevices for later.

This magnificent species has declined severely prior to now half-century due to habitat loss and modifications to its meals provide.

This hanging and unmistakable bird was a favorite of early ornithologists corresponding to Alexander Wilson and Audubon. Often conspicuous due to its robust sample, harsh calls, and energetic conduct in the semi-open nations, it tends to happen in small colonies.

Although it migrates solely brief distances, little teams of migrants could also be noticeable in early fall and late spring. Once a quite common bird in eastern North America, the Red-headed Woodpecker is now unusual and native in lots of areas.

Red-headed woodpecker Description

Adults are strikingly tri-colored, with a black back and tail and a redhead and neck. Their underparts are primarily white. The wings are black with white secondary remiges. Adult men and women are similar in plumage. Juveniles have very related markings, however have an all-gray head.

While red-bellied woodpeckers have some shiny red on the backs of their necks and heads, red-headed woodpeckers have a lot deeper red that covers their complete heads and necks, in addition to a dramatically totally different total plumage sample.

These are mid-sized woodpeckers. Both sexes measure from 19 to 25 cm (7.5 to 9.8 in) in size, with a wingspan of 42.5 cm (16.7 in). They weigh from 56 to 97 g (2.0 to 3.4 oz) with a mean of 76 g (2.7 oz).

Each wing measures 12.7–15 cm (5.0–5.9 in), the tail measures 6.6–8.5 cm (2.6–3.3 in), the bill measures 2.1–3 cm (0.83–1.18 in), and the tarsus measures 1.9–2.5 cm (0.75–0.98 in). The most longevity within the wild is 9.9 years.

They give a tchur-tchur name or drum on their territory.

Color Pattern

Adults have bright-red heads, white underparts, and black backs with giant white patches within the wings, making the decrease back seem all-white when perched. Immatures have gray-brown heads, and the white wing patches present rows of black spots close to the trailing edge.

Red-headed woodpecker Behavior

In addition to catching bugs by the conventional woodpecker methodology of hammering at wooden, Red-headed Woodpeckers additionally catch bugs in flight and hunt for them on the bottom.

They additionally eat appreciable quantities of fruit and seeds. Their raspy calls are shriller and scratchier than the Red-bellied Woodpecker’s.

These birds fly to catch bugs within the air or on the bottom, forage on timber or collect and retail nuts. They are omnivorous, consuming bugs, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and sometimes small rodents and even the eggs of different birds. About two-thirds of their food regimen is made up of vegetation.

They nest in a cavity in a lifeless tree, utility pole, or a lifeless part of a tree that’s between 2.45 and 24.5 m (8.0 and 80.4 ft) above the bottom. They lay 4 to 7 eggs in early May that are incubated for 2 weeks.

Two broods will be raised in a single nesting season. Northern birds migrate to the southern elements of the range, with most having arrived on the breeding range by late April, and having left for winter quarters by late October; southern birds are sometimes everlasting residents.

Feeding Behavior

Opportunistic, with a number of foraging strategies. Flies out from a perch to catch bugs within the air or on the floor; climbs tree trunks and main limbs; clambers about in outer branches; hops on floor. Gathers acorns, beechnuts, and different nuts in fall, storing them in holes and crevices, then feeding on them throughout winter.

Red-headed woodpecker Eggs

4-5, typically 3-7, hardly evermore. White. Incubation is by each sex (with males incubating at night time), 12-13 days. Young: Are fed by each mother and father, and go away the nest at about 27-31 days.

Pairs could also be beginning on a 2nd nesting try whereas nonetheless feeding the fledglings from the first; 2nd brood could also be raised in similar nest however more usually in new cavity, freshly excavated. 1 or 2 broods per year.


Are fed by each mother and father, and go away from the nest at about 27-31 days. Pairs could also be beginning on a 2nd nesting try whereas nonetheless feeding the fledglings from the first; 2nd brood could also be raised in similar nest however more usually in new cavity, freshly excavated. 1 or 2 broods per year.

Red-headed woodpecker Diet

Omnivorous. Perhaps essentially the most omnivorous of woodpeckers. Diet consists of a vast number of bugs, additionally spiders, earthworms, nuts, seeds, berries, wild and cultivated fruit, hardly ever small rodents. Sometimes eats eggs and nestlings of different birds. Also typically eats bark.

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Male establishes territory and advertises there with calling, drumming. In resident birds, the male’s winter territory could grow to be breeding territory.

Nest: Male’s winter roosting cavity could also be used for the nest, or new cavity could also be excavated (principally by a male); feminine signifies acceptance of website by tapping on a tree. Nest cavity is in a naked lifeless tree or lifeless limb, from just a few toes above the floor to 65′ or higher.

Red-headed woodpecker Conservation

The red-headed woodpecker is rated as least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Endangered species.

It was previously rated as close to threatened, having been reclassified from Least Concern in 2004 after it appeared to have skilled a 65.5% decline in inhabitants over 40 years; from 1966-2015 there was a higher than 1.5% annual inhabitants decline all through the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys and in central Florida. Increased habitat management, nevertheless, has brought about its numbers to stabilize, thus resulting in its downlisting.

The red-headed woodpecker was traditionally a standard species in southern Canada and the east-central United States. Consistent long-term inhabitants declines have resulted in red-headed woodpecker’s threatened standing in Canada and a number of other states within the US. Throughout most of its range, it inhabits areas that were closely altered by people.

Factors advised for red-headed woodpecker declines include lack of total habitat and, inside habitats, standing lifeless wooden required for nest sites, limitations of meals provide, and attainable nest-site competitors with different cavity nesters corresponding to European starlings or red-bellied woodpeckers.

Red-headed woodpecker Identification

Look for Red-headed Woodpeckers in scattered, open woodlots in agricultural areas, lifeless timber in swamps, or pine savannas. Walk slowly, listening for tapping or drumming, and hold your eyes alert for telltale flashes of black and white as these high-contrast woodpeckers fly in between perches.

The redhead will be arduous to see in the robust glare. Raucous, harsh weather! calls can even give away the presence of a Red-headed Woodpecker.

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Red-headed woodpecker Facts

  1. The Red-headed Woodpecker is one in all solely 4 North American woodpeckers identified to store meals, and it’s the just one identified to cover the saved meals with wooden or bark. It hides bugs and seeds in cracks in wooden, beneath the bark, in fenceposts, and beneath roof shingles. Grasshoppers are recurrently saved alive, however, wedged into crevices so tightly that they can’t escape.
  2. Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They could take away the eggs of different species from nests and nest containers, destroy different birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest containers and puncture the duck eggs.
  3. The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm illness outbreaks of the 20 th century. Though these illnesses devastated timber they supplied many nest websites and foraging alternatives for the woodpeckers.
  4. The hanging Red-headed Woodpecker has earned a spot in human tradition. Cherokee Indians used the species as a warfare image, and it makes a look in Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, telling how a grateful Hiawatha gave the bird its red head in thanks for its service.
  5. The Red-headed Woodpecker has many nicknames, together with half-a-shirt, shirt-tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, and the flying checker-board.
  6. Pleistocene-age fossils of Red-headed Woodpeckers—as much as 2 million years old—have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois.
  7. The Red-headed Woodpecker was the “spark bird” (the bird that begins an individual’s curiosity in birds) of legendary ornithologist Alexander Wilson within the 1700s.
  8. The oldest Red-headed Woodpecker on file was banded in 1926 in Michigan and lived to be no less than 9 years, 11 months old. Learn more about how many lovebirds are there?

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