12 Woodpeckers In Nevada (With Pictures)

To observe woodpeckers, you’ll want to get up close. Their extraordinary ability to drill into trees without injuring themselves is very remarkable! We’ll examine the 12 species of woodpeckers found in Nevada, as well as provide you with tips on where and when you may see them, in this essay. We’ll also offer some advice on how to attract woodpeckers to your property at the conclusion of the article.


While some woodpecker species are only found in restricted areas, Nevada has a large number of them. Some have adapted to the hot cactus-filled deserts, while others prefer mountainous regions with pine trees.

The American three-toed woodpecker, downy woodpecker, gila woodpecker, gilded flicker, hairy woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, Lewis’s woodpecker, northern flicker, red-breasted sapsucker, red-naped sapsucker are the 12 species of woodpeckers found in Nevada.


  • Scientific name: Picoides dorsalis
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in
  • Weight: 1.6-2.4 oz
  • Wingspan: 14.6-15.3 in

Only specific areas of the United States are home to American three-toed woodpeckers. Great Basin National Park in Nevada is where you may find them on occasion. They favor decayed, old growth woods with plenty of dead or burnt trees, because they can harvest insect larvae and mine for insects readily there.

Woodpeckers have four toes, or zygodactyl toes, in the vast majority of cases. These woodpeckers, however, have just three toes, as the name implies. Because of the leverage provided by having just three toes, it is thought that the three-toed woodpecker may be able to lean back further and deliver a stronger hit.

In the United States, woodpeckers are not particularly prevalent. Backyard feeders are rare, and they don’t visit them often.


  • Scientific name: Dryobates pubescens
  • Length: 5.5-6.7 in
  • Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

While they are mostly absent from the southern tip of Nevada, these little woodpeckers can be found all year.

They may be found practically everywhere in the United States. They are the North American woodpeckers’ smallest species. The white dots on the downy’s backs, as well as its pure white chest and belly, are the only way to tell them apart from a sparrow. Males have a crimson patch on their heads that runs the length of the skull.

The most common woodpecker seen at home bird feeders is the downy. They enjoy suet but also consume sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts in addition to other seeds. They may even be seen at your hummingbird feeder, where their tiny beak enables them access to the sugar water.


  • Scientific name: Melanerpes uropygialis
  • Length8.7-9.4 in
  • Weight1.8-2.8 oz
  • Wingspan15.8-16.5 in

Arizona and Mexico are home to the gila woodpecker, however their range extends as far south as Nevada’s southern tip. Therefore, head as far south as the Colorado State Recreation Area’s Big Bend to spot one.

The ability to live in treeless desert environments is legendary among Gila Woodpeckers. In the arid regions they live in, they excavate their nests in the saguaro cactus, one of the few living trees. They obtain practically everything they require to live from these giant cactus, including food and shelter.

Any number of birds, including American Kestrels, Elf Owls, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, and Cactus Wrens, take over Gila Woodpeckers’ holes after they have moved on.

They resemble the Red-bellied Woodpecker, which is their cousin to the east, in appearance. Males have a red patch on their forehead, and they have black and white barred wings, a gray head and chest.


  • Scientific name: Colaptes chrysoides
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in
  • Weight: 1.9-2.3 oz
  • Wingspan: 16.9 in

Only in the deserts at Nevada’s far southern tip can you find the gilded flicker. In the saguaro cactus forests, they are especially abundant. Because of its short range, little is known about this species compared to the Northern flicker, which has a larger range.

The brown wings have black stripes, a black belly, a gray head with a brown crown, and yellow beneath their wings. The golden flicker has yellow underwings. The male has a crimson mustache. Although their population has been slowly declining over time, they are not yet classified as endangered.


  • Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
  • Length: 7.1-10.2 in
  • Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
  • Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

It’s possible you’re thinking about another downy woodpecker in this photo. They do not look alike, but they do have the same answer. Hairy woodpeckers may be found across the United States, often accompanying downy woodpeckers. And when you’re trying to figure out which is which, there’ll be a lot of questions.

In comparison to its body size, the hairy woodpecker is substantially bigger and has a longer beak. There’s an article here that can teach you how to differentiate between them.

From the habitat to the diet, these two woodpeckers are almost identical. They may be found all year in Nevada. While they will visit backyard suet feeders, the hairy woodpecker is a bit more retiring than the downy woodpecker when it comes to humans.


  • Scientific name: Dryobates scalaris
  • Length: 6.3-7.1 in
  • Weight: 0.7-1.7 oz
  • Wingspan: 13.0 in

In southern Nevada, south of Las Vegas, you may see ladder-backed woodpeckers. They prefer insects in the wild, so they aren’t often seen at suet feeders. Mealworms, peanut butter, and black oil sunflower seeds may be used to attract them.

Their dorsal surface has extended, horizontal white stripes that look like rungs of a ladder. Little black dots cover their white belly. Males have a crimson stripe across the top of their head, while females have a black stripe.

If you want to attract a pair of ladder-backed woodpeckers, leave those dead trees alone in your yard because they commonly nest in them. Because they prefer living in deserts and thorn forests with cacti, they were once known as “cactus woodpeckers.”


  • Scientific name: Melanerpes lewis
  • Length: 10.2-11.0 in
  • Weight: 3.1-4.9 oz
  • Wingspan: 19.3-20.5 in

Throughout Nevada, Lewis’ woodpeckers may be seen. They are seen in the southern tip of the state during the winter months, while they spend the breeding season in northern parts of the state. Their populations are frequently unpredictable, and they prefer to stay in pine forests and woods that have been burned.

Lewis’ woodpeckers can be found across Nevada, and They are seen in the southern tip of the state during the winter months, while they spend their breeding season in northern parts of the state. They prefer pine woodlands and those that have been burnt, but their numbers are often unstable.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, unlike many other species of woodpecker,catching insects in the air. Their flying has a graceful, crow-like quality due to their broad, rounded wings.

Most woodpeckers have black and white bodies, so their coloring is particularly unusual. Lewis’ have a pink belly, a crimson patch on the face, and a dark, iridescent green on their back and wings. They’re quite colorful.


  • Scientific nameColaptes auratus
  • Length: 11.0-12.2 in
  • Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
  • Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

In the United States, these medium to large-sized woodpeckers are ubiquitous in backyards. They’re among my favorite colorful birds in North America, in my opinion.

Females do not have a red “mustache” like males do. The red-shafted variety is found in Nevada, and the underside of their wings and tail feathers are bright red.

Throughout Nebraska all year, Northern Flickers may be spotted in the backyard suet feeders. You may observe them digging for insects if you have a few leaf heaps in your yard.


  • Scientific name: Sphyrapicus ruber
  • Length: 7.9-8.7 in
  • Weight: 1.9-2.2 oz
  • Wingspan: 14.6-16.0 in

In western Nevada, such as around Lake Tahoe, red-breasted sapsuckers are most common during the non-breeding season. They prefer to live in pine woodlands, which include aspen and alder.

The red-breasted sapsucker is a large woodpecker with a solid red head and chest. The black and white plumage covering the remainder of their bodies. They can be easily identified from other sapsuckers due to their red head.

They lap up the sap from trees in the same manner as other sapsuckers do, by creating little sap wells into which they drill.


  • Scientific name: Sphyrapicus nuchalis
  • Length: 7.5-8.3 in
  • Weight: 1.1-2.3 oz
  • Wingspan: 16.1-16.9 in

Before 1983, red-naped sapsuckers were considered to be the same species as yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Males have a fully red neck and females have a white neck with a red necklace, while both sexes have a crimson forehead.

They drink sap from aspen, birch, and pine trees, but also eat insects, like other sapsuckers do. A sap-producing tree with neat rows of holes is a sure sign that a sapsucker is nearby.

Only during the breeding season should you look for them in northern Nevada, but year-round in middle and southern Nevada.


  • Scientific name: Dryobates albolarvatus
  • Length: 8.3-9.1 in
  • Weight: 1.9-2.3 oz
  • Wingspan: 16.9 in

In the United States, only isolated areas are home to white-headed woodpeckers. They’re mostly seen in woodland without pines, and they prefer hilly pine woodlands. They’re most typically found in the western part of Nevada, around Carson City and Lake Tahoe.

Look for these woodpeckers in pine-covered woods, especially ponderosa, Jeffery, Coulter, and sugar pines. Pine seeds and cones are a favorite food of these birds. They prefer to rip and peel the bark instead of drilling into trees. To take advantage of the insects in burnt forests, they’ll also flock there.

Except for their brilliant white heads and white stripes on their wings, white-headed woodpeckers are roughly the same size as an American Robin. Similar to other woodpecker species, mature males have a bright red patch on the top of their heads.


  • Scientific name: Sphyrapicus thyroideus
  • Length8.3-9.8 in
  • Weight1.6-1.9 oz
  • Wingspan17 inches

Just a few tiny areas of Nevada are home to Williamson’s sapsuckers. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Great Basin National Park, Spring Mountain National Recreation Area, and Lake Tahoe have all reported sightings.

Sap is extracted by drilling sap-wells and is the primary food of these creatures. Males and femen have distinguishing features. Males feature bright yellow bellies and a little red on the chin, with black backs. The head of a female is brown, and her body is striped with black and white.

Williamson’s sapsuckers are mostly seen in hilly woods and are uncommon in suburban yards. They prefer to nest in bigger, older trees and roost in natural or excavated holes.

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