Downy Woodpeckers

Types of Woodpeckers in Rhode Island (with Pictures)

We’ll show the most commonly seen birds in Illinois with pictures and key data. The information was collected only from reliable sources and verified with an Ornithologist.

Woodpeckers are interesting birds that play an important role in our ecosystem. They help to keep trees healthy by eating insects and drilling holes into trees. If you live in Rhode Island, it is important to know which species of woodpecker you might encounter!

The three most common woodpecker species in Rhode Island are the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, and Northern Flicker. The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of all woodpeckers in Rhode Island.

Most Common Woodpeckers in Rhode Island

Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpecker scientific name: Picoides pubescens.

Downy Woodpeckers are small in size and weigh only between 0.41 oz to 0.63 oz. They live mainly in coniferous forests with deciduous trees, parks, gardens, orchards, and urban areas like Rhode Island that have large numbers of trees.

The Downy Woodpeckers feed on insects during summer and eat seeds from plants during the winter season. They can be seen in most parts of the United States. They are very active and agile birds that constantly search for food by climbing up the tree trunks.

Downy Woodpeckers have a loud and distinct call that is often used to warn other birds about danger. When they feel threatened, they will fly away quickly.

In general, Downy Woodpeckers are very friendly and playful birds that can live for more than 15 years. They are huge fans of bird feeders.

Hairy Woodpecker

hairy woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

Its scientific name is Leuconotopicus villosus. Hairy Woodpecker is almost similar to Downy Woodpecker but it has a longer bill and wings. Males have a red patch on the back of the head, whereas females lack this feature.

Hairy Woodpeckers feed on insects, nuts, acorns, berries, and other fruits. It digs out insect larvae from tree trunks with its long chisel-like bill.

Hairy woodpecker generally feeds by hopping along the branch of a tree and pecking at wood with its bill. It also feeds on fruits of high-bush cranberry, black cherry, sumac, and many others.

The nest cavity is excavated by both male and female hairy woodpeckers in a dead or living tree that has softwood or decayed inner bark.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is the only North American member of the genus Colaptes, which includes 12 New World woodpecker species.

The Northern Flicker has two color morphs: red-shafted in the west and yellow-shafted in the east.

The Northern Flicker has two color morphs: red-shafted in the west and yellow-shafted in the east. Both have brown backs with black streaks, but the red-shafted has a reddish chest and belly, while the yellow-shafted has a yellow underbelly.

Northern Flickers are sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger than females.

Males have a black mustache stripe that is not found on females.

It frequents open areas more often than other woodpeckers and spends much time on the ground searching for ants, which makes up most of its diet.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus

Red Bellied Woodpeckers have black wings, red on their head nape, back, and rump but not belly or vent like another name of Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Red-bellied Woodpecker builds its nest in a tree cavity, but it is also known to inhabit manmade structures like birdhouses and telephone poles. It lays three to seven eggs at a time. After about two weeks, the young will leave the nest for good.

Red-bellied Woodpecker is a type of omnivore. They are typically seen perched on trees and utility poles, searching for insects in the bark. Although they prefer to eat insects, sunflower seeds and nuts also make up a significant portion of their diet.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be found throughout Rhode Island as well as southern Ontario and Mexico.

Black-backed Woodpeckers

Black-backed Woodpeckers

Black-backed Woodpeckers are small woodpeckers with pointed bills and short stiff tail feathers. They have a glossy black back, wings, and tail, a white belly and rump, black head with a white forehead patch. Male has red on the nape of neck; females do not.

Adult Black-backed Woodpecker: length about 16 to 18 inches, weight about one-half pound.

Black-backed Woodpeckers are diurnal (active during the day). They forage on bark and branches of trees, mainly eating insects. They also eat fruit, sunflower seeds, and nuts.

Black-backed Woodpeckers live in forests and woodlands. They prefer coniferous forests or forests with dead coniferous trees. They nest in the cavities of burned, diseased, or dying trees, usually conifers but sometimes deciduous trees.

The female incubates eggs for about 12 to 14 days and broods young birds for about 21 days after hatching. Both parents feed their young until they leave the nest.

Melanerpes Woodpecker

Melanerpes Woodpecker

Melanerpes woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with rounded heads, strong bills, and long tails. They have zygodactyl feet, two toes forward and two toes backward, which is an adaptation that improves their grasping of tree bark while climbing.

Melanerpes woodpeckers are omnivorous animals that feed on insects (wood-boring larvae, ants, beetles, and termites), fruits (berries), and nectar.

The scientific name of Melanerpes Woodpecker is Melanerpes erythrocephalus.

Male and female Melanerpes woodpecker look similar, but males are slightly larger than females. They have a blackhead, neck, and back with a red crown, nape, and throat. The wings and upper parts are barred black and white while the underparts are buffy or whitish.

The typical call of Melanerpes woodpecker is a loud, sharp “churr”, which lasts several seconds.

Melanerpes Woodpecker is a monogamous bird; they form pairs for life. The female lays between three and five eggs in an unlined hole excavated into a tree trunk by the male. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker scientific name is Colaptes auratus.

Northern Flicker, also known as common flicker and yellowhammer, is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the woodpecker family. Northern Flickers are sexually dimorphic or have physical differences between males and females.

This is the reason why it’s a bit difficult to determine which bird is male and female except for feathers under their wings that are uniquely different.

The Northern Flicker has two subspecies namely yellow-shafted flicker (Colaptes auratus auratus) and red-shafted flicker (Colaptes auratus cafer).

Red-headed Woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpeckers
Red-headed Woodpeckers

Red headed woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a redhead, black back and wings, white belly, and grayish underparts. They have a long tail and are about 11 inches in length. Red-headed Woodpeckers are usually shy birds that live in forests or woodland edges. They eat insects, fruits, and nuts.

Red-headed Woodpeckers are opportunistic birds that may use tools to attract or capture prey. They often forage on the ground but climb trees to feed by drilling holes in rotten wood and tree trunks.

Their thick skull protects their brains from impacts caused when knocking against hard surfaces while digging through the bark with their beaks.

Red-headed Woodpeckers are usually solitary birds that may form pairs or family groups to forage. They nest in tree cavities and lay from two to eight eggs per clutch. Both parents incubate the eggs, feed the chicks, and care for them until they fledge. Nest predation by squirrels is a concern for Red-headed Woodpecker populations.

Related post: Types of Woodpeckers in NJ

American Three-Toed Woodpecker

American Three-Toed Woodpecker

It’s also easy to spot due to its black and white plumage. This bird has a size similar to that of the European Blackbird.

Its behavior is quite interesting. They have a monogamous mating system, and the male helps to build the nest. And once the chicks hatch, both parents take care of them.

The American Three-toed Woodpecker lives in deciduous forests, where it feeds on insects and other invertebrates.

This bird is in danger of extinction due to the loss and fragmentation of its habitat. However, it has a stable population and can be easily seen in some areas of Rhode Island.

Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated Woodpecker is a large woodpecker native to Rhode Island. It is the largest woodpecker in Canada and United States.

Pileated Woodpecker lives in deciduous forests, coniferous forests (forests of pine trees), swamps, and orchards of fruit trees. They are generally shy birds that avoid human habitation. They prefer a habitat with large trees, fallen timber, and dead wood which provide food and nesting sites.

Pileated Woodpecker is mostly black with white stripes on the face, throat, neck, and wings. Their bodies are about 16-19 inches long with an average wingspan of 26 inches. The tail feathers are about four to six inches long.

Pileated Woodpecker has very strong beak and powerful neck muscles that allow them to excavate deep rectangular-shaped holes in trees or telephone poles in search of insects, such as ants and termites. They can also use their beak to pry open woodpecker-style holes in trees to find hidden insects.

Pileated Woodpecker is mostly insectivores, but they also eat fruits and nuts. They forage on the ground, in trees, or utility poles. They store food items by wedging them into crevices in tree bark or under loose bark.

Pileated Woodpeckers excavate their nests in the sides of dead trees or telephone poles. Their nest cavities are large and rectangular, about eight inches deep by four inches wide. Both parents help to excavate the nesting cavity. They usually lay three to five eggs per clutch.

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker is a bird species that belong to Melanerpes. Lewis’s Woodpecker is named after Meriwether Lewis, who first described it as a new species in 1805.

The woodpeckers are found where there are large trees that provide food sources and nesting cavities such as open woodlands, riparian groves, and orchards. This woodpecker species mostly eats insects, seeds, and fruits. They are usually found in pairs or small flocks of 12-30 birds during migration.

Dryocopus Woodpecker

Dryocopus Woodpecker is a species of bird belonging to the Picidae family that inhabits Rhode Island.

The feathers are generally dark black or gray, although depending on the subspecies they can have some red or yellow markings on the body and head.

This woodpecker is a shy species that usually lives in forests, where it feeds mainly on insects, but also fruits and nuts. It is a very versatile bird capable of adapting to different habitats, although it prefers moist areas with plenty of trees.

Dryocopus Woodpecker is a monogamous bird that forms long-term pair bonds; the male and female take care of the offspring together. Nests are usually excavated in dead trees, although sometimes they are also built-in live trees or on buildings.

Conclusion of Woodpeckers Bird Species

All of the woodpeckers mentioned are interesting birds that can be found in various habitats throughout Rhode Island. They all have unique characteristics and behaviors, but they all share a common trait: their love of insects.

Woodpeckers are important for keeping trees healthy by eating the insects that bore into them. So next time you see one of these birds, take a moment to appreciate their hard work and thank them for keeping your trees in good shape!