Bird of the Week: Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are conspicuous residents of any woodland they call home, both visually and vocally. With a crisply striped black back and vibrant red cap, these medium-sized woodpeckers are easily seen and identified, even from a distance, and their chattering call is loud enough to be heard from even farther away. Like other woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers feed on insects and other food they glean from tree limbs, scooting along the limb with their tails as they go. Their tongues are longer than their heads, barbed and sticky, which allows them to extract insects from deep crevices, and even steal nectar from bird feeders! Central Texas represents the western edge of the Red-bellied Woodpecker’s range, where it overlaps with its desert cousin, the Golden-fronted Woodpecker. In this zone, the two species hybridize, producing birds that resemble both species.

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.