The 7 Types of Woodpeckers Found in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there are seven different types of woodpeckers that can be spotted. These include the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. While the Downy Woodpecker is the smallest and most commonly seen species in the area, the Pileated Woodpecker takes the crown for being the largest. If you want to attract these fascinating birds to your backyard, consider offering suet and black sunflower seeds at feeders, and provide dead trees for nesting and hunting insects. Planting native fruit-bearing plants and offering a water source, such as a bird bath, can also work wonders in catching their attention.

Types of Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are a diverse group of birds, with several different species found in Rhode Island. Here are some of the most common types of woodpeckers in the area:

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest and most common species of woodpecker in Rhode Island. It has a black and white pattern on its feathers, with a small patch of red on the back of its head. Despite its small size, the Downy Woodpecker is known for its loud and distinctive drumming sound.

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker is slightly larger than the Downy Woodpecker and has a similar black and white pattern. It can be distinguished from the Downy Woodpecker by its larger bill and lack of red on the back of its head.

Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is a larger woodpecker species with a unique appearance. It has a brown body with black bars and spots, and a bright yellow underbelly and tail feathers. The Northern Flicker is known for its habit of foraging for ants on the ground, as well as drilling holes in trees.

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest species of woodpecker in Rhode Island. It has a striking black body with white stripes on its face and neck, and a bright red crest on its head. The Pileated Woodpecker is known for its powerful drumming sounds and its ability to excavate large holes in trees.

Red-headed Woodpecker

The Red-headed Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a bright red head and white body. It has a distinctive flying pattern, with a series of quick wingbeats followed by a glide. The Red-headed Woodpecker is known for its acrobatic foraging behaviors, often catching insects in mid-air.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a red cap on its head and a pale belly. Despite its name, the red coloration on its belly is often not visible. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is known for its ability to store food in tree crevices, which it can retrieve later.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a small to medium-sized woodpecker with a yellow belly and black and white patterned feathers. As its name suggests, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a unique feeding behavior – it drills holes in trees to feed on tree sap, which also attracts insects that the woodpecker can eat.

Characteristics of Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers have several distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other bird species. Here are some important characteristics of woodpeckers:

Size

Woodpeckers come in a range of sizes, from the small Downy Woodpecker to the large Pileated Woodpecker. Their size is determined by their species, with the Downy Woodpecker being the smallest and the Pileated Woodpecker being the largest in Rhode Island.

Commonality in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, woodpeckers are a common sight in suburban and rural areas. There are seven different types of woodpeckers found in the state, including the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Their presence adds beauty and vitality to the local ecosystem.

Attracting Woodpeckers to Your Backyard

If you want to attract woodpeckers to your backyard, there are several steps you can take. By providing the right resources and habitat, you can create a welcoming environment for these fascinating birds. Here are some tips for attracting woodpeckers:

Offering Suet and Black Sunflower Seeds

Woodpeckers are attracted to high-energy foods, such as suet and black sunflower seeds. These foods provide the necessary nutrients and calories that woodpeckers need to sustain their active lifestyles. By putting out suet feeders and offering black sunflower seeds, you can entice woodpeckers to visit your backyard regularly.

Providing Dead Trees for Nesting

Woodpeckers rely on dead trees for nesting and finding insects. Dead trees provide soft wood that is easy for woodpeckers to excavate and create cavities for nesting. By leaving dead trees standing in your yard, you can provide a natural habitat for woodpeckers and also promote a healthy ecosystem.

Planting Native Fruit-Bearing Plants

Woodpeckers have a varied diet that includes insects, nuts, and fruits. By planting native fruit-bearing plants in your yard, you can attract woodpeckers and provide them with a source of food. Some examples of native fruit-bearing plants that woodpeckers enjoy include dogwood, serviceberry, and wild cherry.

Providing a Water Source

Just like any other bird species, woodpeckers need access to water for drinking and bathing. By providing a bird bath or a shallow water source in your yard, you can attract woodpeckers and provide them with a place to quench their thirst and maintain their feathers.

In conclusion, woodpeckers are fascinating birds that can bring life and beauty to your backyard. By following these tips and providing the right resources, you can attract woodpeckers and enjoy their presence in your outdoor space. From offering suet and black sunflower seeds to providing dead trees for nesting, there are many ways to create a welcoming habitat for woodpeckers. So get started and create a woodpecker-friendly backyard today!

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