Watching woodpeckers is a fun activity. They have a very unusual relationship with their ability to drill into trees at rapid speeds without getting hurt. We’ll look at the six types of woodpeckers found in Nebraska, provide a bit of information on where and when you might see them, and then move on to the next species. We’ll also provide some advice on how to entice woodpeckers to your property at the end of the article.
6 SPECIES OF WOODPECKERS IN NEBRASKA
Downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, red-headed woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, and yellow-bellied sapsucker are the six species of woodpeckers found in Nebraska.
1. DOWNY WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryobates pubescens
- Length: 5.5-6.7 in
- Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
- Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
These little woodpeckers may be seen all year in Nebraska, and they are found everywhere. They can be found nearly everywhere in the United States. In North America, they are the tiniest woodpeckers.
The white markings on the downy’s backs, as well as its bright white chest and belly, may be used to identify them. They are only about the size of a sparrow. At the back of the head of males, there is a red patch.
The woodpecker that visits most often in the backyard is the downy. They devour sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts in addition to suet. You may even witness them drinking sugar water at your hummingbird feeder, thanks to their tiny beak.
2. HAIRY WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
- Length: 7.1-10.2 in
- Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
You might be asking if this image depicts another downy woodpecker. They do not look alike, but they sure do resemble each other. Throughout the United States, hairy woodpeckers are commonly found in downy’s habitats. and, when attempting to differentiate between them, cause a lot of consternation.
In comparison to its body size, the hairy woodpecker is significantly larger and has a longer beak. You may learn how to distinguish them using our article here.
In terms of habitat and food, these two woodpeckers are virtually identical. Throughout Nebraska, they can be found all year. While they will visit backyard suet feeders, the hairy woodpecker is a bit more retiring and is less frequently seen than the downy.
3. NORTHERN FLICKER
- Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
- Length: 11.0-12.2 in
- Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
In backyards across the United States, these medium to big sized woodpeckers are rather common. They’re also one of the most gorgeous birds in North America, in my opinion.
Flickers prefer to hunt insects on the ground rather than in the trees, unlike other woodpeckers. The black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, barred black and gray wings, and brown face on a gray head are all good ways to identify them.
Females do not have a black “mustache,” whereas males do. You may find brilliant yellow feathers on the underside of their wings and tail in Nebraska, which is known as the “yellow-shafted” kind.
Throughout the year, Northern Flickers may be seen in Nebraska, and they may also stop by backyard suet feeders. You may observe them digging around for grubs if you have some leaf heaps in your yard.
4. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Length: 7.5-9.1 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5 in
During the spring and summer months, red-headed woodpeckers migrate to Nebraska to breed. They’ll return to the eastern United States after that. During the winter, the temperature may reach as high as 25°C. Despite the fact that they may be found in the southeastern corner of the state all year.
The crimson head and black and white striped body of the red-headed woodpecker distinguish it easily. They’ll sometimes visit suet feeders, but they’re seldom seen in the gardens like some other varieties of woodpeckers. They will eat nuts and fruits in addition to suet.
Acorns and beech nuts are among the four kinds of acorn woodpeckers that keep their food in caches for later use. The food is then covered with bark or wood by these woodpeckers, who go even farther by concealing it with their camouflage.
5. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
- Length: 9.4 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
The best place to look for the red-bellied woodpecker in Nebraska is in the eastern part of the state, where they have been seen.
In their range, these medium-sized woodpeckers are frequent feeders and backyard sightings. Suet and bigger nuts may help attract them.
The bright red streak along the back of their heads, as well as their heavily barred black and white wings, are the first indicators of their classification as “red-bellied.” Their breast is completely white, with a pinkish-red patch in the lower portion of their belly that is sometimes not visible.
The tongue of a red-bellied woodpecker may be stretched out almost 2 inches from its beak. They can lash their tongue out to snag insects from difficult to reach areas, with a barb end and gluey spit.
6. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
- Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
- Length: 7.1-8.7 in
- Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
- Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in
The yellow-bellied sapsucker can be found in the United States’ northeast. Summers in the southeast, followed by winters in Canada and Mexico. The best time to observe them would be during their spring and autumn migration, since they pass through Nebraska on their way back and forth.
They have yellow-wash on their white feathers and a crimson stripe across the crown of their head, which makes them look suspiciously similar to the downy woodpecker. Males will have a crimson neck as well.
Since sap is their primary food source, they aren’t common at bird feeders. They use their long tongues to drill holes into maple, elm, aspen, and birch trees and collect sap. Their presence is signaled by a row of tiny holes drilled in a tree trunk. They also consume a wide range of insects, some of which get stuck in the sticky sap near their wells, in addition to sap.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
- We want to attract as many different species of birds as possible. Woodpeckers may be a little more difficult to attract and prefer more particular foods than other songbirds, but they are relatively simple to attract with birdseed. Here are some ideas on how to make your yard more appealing to woodpeckers in the hopes of attracting them.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and decaying trees that are simple to bore holes in and provide enough insect larvae for them to devour. Leave dead trees alone.
- Northern flickers and pileated woodpeckers are two species known to utilize nest boxes.
- Woodpeckers may occasionally enjoy fruits and berries such as dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, and elderberries. Plant native fruit bearing plants and trees.
- Water is important, so make sure you have a water source available for Woodpeckers to use, such as a water mover or solar fountain to help attract them.