The United States is home to approximately 300 species of woodpeckers, 22 of which are native. I discovered eight species of woodpeckers in Alabama out of the 22 species I looked for. Some of the eight species live permanently in Alabama, while others only visit for a short time.
We’ll discuss all eight woodpecker species found in Alabama in this article. A photograph of each species will be provided, as well as a little information about its size and a short summary with some interesting information.
After that, we’ll go over how to entice woodpeckers to your yard at the bottom of the page.
WOODPECKERS IN STATE
1. DOWNY WOODPECKER
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
The smallest of all woodpeckers in North America, the Downy Woodpecker may be found across Alabama during the year. Suet, peanuts, mixed seed, and black sunflower seed are all very popular feeders and will attract them. Downys, along with chickadees and titmice, are among the first to visit my new feeder every time I put it up in my yard. They are a common sight throughout the winter and do not migrate.
They hammer trees in search of insect larvae and feed on berries and acorns, in addition to visiting bird feeders on a regular basis. Downy Woodpeckers are known to drink nectar from a hummingbird feeder, which is not uncommon. Dead trees or dead branches on live trees are preferred nesting sites for Downy Woodpeckers.
2. HAIRY WOODPECKER
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
The Hairy Woodpecker, who looks a lot like the Downy, is next on the list. Unless you can tell the difference between them by their larger size, they might be difficult to distinguish. These may be examined side by side in the picture below. The hairy is on the right and the downy is on the left. The Hairy Woodpecker is significantly bigger and has a longer beak than the Downy shot, which is a bit nearer up so the size difference is difficult to perceive.
Throughout the year, the Hairy Woodpecker may be found in Alabama and much of the United States. They’re fond of eating the same foods as their little brother, the Downy, and they’re frequently seen at bird feeders. It’s probable that you confused the two species because you’ve seen them both. A bit more depth on the distinctions between a Hairy and a Downy Woodpecker can be found in this article we published.
3. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
Throughout the year, red-bellied woodpeckers can be found all across Alabama. They are similar in size to Hairy Woodpeckers, but are considerably bigger than Downy Woodpeckers. They may also be spotted at bird feeders, particularly suet feeders.
When you scroll down to the next woodpecker in Alabama, you’ll see the difference. At first glance, you notice their red heads, but resist the temptation to call them Red-headed Woodpeckers. The red stomach of red-bellied Woodpeckers is somewhat pale, although it is usually inconspicuous when they are perched against a tree or feeder. To identify them, look for their black and white striped wings, as well as a red Mohawk down their neck.
4. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Length: 7.5-9.1 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 16.5 in
Although they are less frequent than the first three on this list of woodpeckers in Alabama, red-headed woodpeckers can be found throughout the year. They’re occasionally seen going to a tree to hide the delicious morsels in holes or around the bark for another day after visiting bird feeders.
Insects, seeds, and berries are the primary foods of red-headed woodpeckers. When it comes to woodpeckers, they are also regarded as some of the best flycatchers and will regularly store live insects in tree bark for later consumption. They are easily identifiable because of their vivid red heads and black and white bodies. They’ve been declining in population for a long time, and in some areas, they’re becoming increasingly scarce to see.
5. PILEATED WOODPECKER
Length: 15.8-19.3 in
Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz
Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in
Pileated Woodpeckers may be found year-round in Alabama, but they are less frequent than other species at suet feeders. In Alabama and North America, they are the biggest woodpecker species. When offered suet feeders, they readily eat, as do other woodpeckers, but they can be difficult to locate and attract. This is one of the birds I’ve been trying to draw to my property at my new house, but so far no luck.
If you have any on your land, they like dead and dying trees, and if you build a nest box, they may even attract a couple. They prefer nesting in huge trees in mature woods and can create enormous holes in them when necessary. Carpenter ants are their primary source of nutrition, but they will eat beetle larvae, termites, other insects, fruits and nuts.
6. NORTHERN FLICKER
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
The colorful birds known as Northern Flickers are common in Alabama backyards. They mostly eat ants from the ground, picking through leaves and dirt with their long tongues, although they do visit feeders on occasion. Other invertebrates, as well as berries, sunflower seeds, and thistle, may be eaten by them aside from ants.
They do drum on trees frequently as a form of communication, even though they find their food on the ground. Like most other woodpeckers, they prefer to nest in ancient and rotting trees. The spotted bellies, black bibs, crimson on the back of their necks, and yellow on their tails are all symptoms of Northern Flickers. They’re bigger than a Hairy Woodpecker but smaller than a Pileated Woodpecker when it comes to size.
7. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
Length: 7.1-8.7 in
Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in
While yellow-bellied Sapppers aren’t frequent visitors of bird feeders, they may appear at suet feeders from time to time. While looking for insects or collecting sap, they are more likely to be seen in tree limbs. Sapsuckers will bore holes into birch and maple trees, insert their bills, and collect as much sap as they can with their long tongues.
These woodpeckers, which have a non-breeding population throughout Alabama, are about the size of an American Robin. Thus, during the winter before they migrate to the north to breed, you have the greatest chance of seeing one. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have red feathers above and below their beaks, as well as a light underbody and yellow and black chests.
8. RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz
Wingspan: 14.2 in
Only a few regions of Southeast United States are home to the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. In parts of Northern and Southern Alabama, red-cockaded woodpeckers may be found, but they are not present throughout the state. These woodpeckers only nest and roost in pine trees, so look for them in thick pine woods in national forests.
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a rare bird species that has been placed on the US Endangered Species list. US Fish and Wildlife Service These birds are hard to come across due to their endangered status and declining population in the south. Look for pine trees with heart fungus disease to find them. Excavation becomes easier because the wood becomes soft.
The back and wings of red-cockaded woodpeckers are black with white bands, while their sides of the head are mostly white with black streaks. The cocks of the males have a barely noticeable red cockade (streak) near their cheeks’ peaks.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Attracting woodpeckers to our feeders or yards is something many of us enjoy. They add excitement to the chickadees, titmice, and cardinals that are commonly seen. They’re also more difficult to locate and attract. Here are some ways to entice woodpeckers to your yard.
- Many types of woodpeckers are known for visiting bird feeders, so offer them food they like. Offer both black sunflower seed and a suet feeder to attract birds. A suet feeder equipped with a tail prop zone that attracts bigger woodpeckers is a must-have item.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and decaying trees that are simple to bore holes in and teem with insect larvae. Leave dead trees alone.
- Many woodpeckers species will use nest boxes, so put them up. From May through July, pileated woodpeckers utilize nesting holes.
- Woodpeckers may occasionally enjoy fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, and elderberries. Plant native fruit bearing plants and trees.
- Woodpeckers will utilize bird baths as any other birds, so ensure you have a water source around, preferably with a water mover or solar fountain to attract them. Since the fountain doesn’t stop every time the sun goes behind a cloud, solar fountains with batteries perform best.