There are around 300 different woodpeckers throughout the globe, with 22 of them living in the US. In South Carolina, I discovered eight different woodpecker species. Several of these species live year-round in South Carolina, while others only visit for a few months.
All of the woodpeckers species in South Carolina will be discussed in this article. A photograph of each species, a brief description of its size, some interesting facts, and where and how it may be discovered in the state of South Carolina will be provided for your convenience.
We’ll discuss how to entice woodpeckers to your property at the conclusion of this article.
WOODPECKERS IN STATE
1. DOWNY WOODPECKER
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
South Carolina is home to the Downy Woodpeckers, who are the tiniest of all woodpeckers in North America. They may be seen all year. Suet, peanuts, combined seed, or black sunflower seed are all very popular at feeders and will attract them. Downys, along with chickadees and titmice, are always among the first to visit my new feeder whenever I put it up in my yard. They are not migratory and may be found throughout the winter.
They hammer trees for insect larvae or feed on berries and acorns, in addition to visiting bird feeders on a regular basis. A Downy Woodpecker may be seen slurping nectar from a hummingbird feeder, which is not uncommon. Dead trees or dead branches on live trees are preferred nesting sites forDowny 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 seems to be a Downy reincarnation, is next in line. Except from the Hairy’s greater size, they can be difficult to distinguish. They’re shown side by side in the photograph below. On the left is the Downy, and on the right is the Hairy. The Hairy Woodpecker is substantially bigger and has a longer beak, so the Downy shot is a bit closer up, making size comparison difficult.
South Carolina and the rest of the United States are home to the Hairy Woodpecker year-round. They eat the same foods as their little sibling, the Downy, and are frequently seen around bird feeders. You may have seen both, assuming they were the same species, or you may have seen only one. A bit more information on the distinctions between a Hairy and a Downy Woodpecker can be found in this piece we wrote.
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 may be found all over South Carolina. They’re comparable in proportions to Hairy Woodpeckers, but much bigger than Downy Woodpeckers. These birds may be seen at bird feeders, particularly suet feeders.
When you scroll down to the next woodpecker in South Carolina, you’ll notice the difference right away: their crimson heads are apparent at first glance. Resist the urge to call them Red-headed Woodpeckers. The red stomach of Red-bellied Woodpeckers is more of a pale red color that is seldom seen when they are perched against a tree or feeder. To identify them, look for their black and white barred 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 at bird feeders than the first three on this list of woodpeckers in South Carolina, red-headed woodpeckers can be found all year. They may be spotted attering at bird feeders before darting to a tree to hide the delicious morsels in crannies or on the bark for another day.
Insects, seeds, and berries are the major sources of food for Red-headed Woodpeckers. In addition, when it comes to woodpeckers, they are considered to be among the most accomplished flycatchers, and they will often store live insects in tree bark for later. They’re easy to see, with vivid red heads and black and white bodies. They have been dwindling in number for a long time, and in some regions, they are becoming increasingly scarce.
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 seen throughout the year at all suet feeders in South Carolina, but they are less plentiful than other species like the Downy. In South Carolina and North America, they are the biggest kind of woodpecker. They readily eat suet feeders when presented, as do other woodpeckers, but they are difficult to attract and may be elusive. I haven’t seen one of these birds at my new house yet, and I’m still trying to attract one to my yard.
If you have any on your land, they prefer dead or dying trees, and a pair may be attracted if you install a nest box. They drill massive holes in big trees in mature forests for nesting. Carpenter ants are their primary source of nutrition, but they consume beetle larvae, termites, other insects, fruits, and nuts as well.
6. NORTHERN FLICKER
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
North Carolina’s Northern Flickers prefer to hang around in people’s backyards and are quite colorful. They primarily eat ants from the ground, picking them off leaves and soil with their long tongues and visiting feeders on occasion. Other invertebrates, as well as berries, sunflower seeds, and thistle, will be eaten by them besides 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 yellow on the tails and red on the backs of their necks distinguish Northern Flickers from other species. They’re rather big, much bigger than a Hairy Woodpecker but smaller than a Pileated Woodpecker in 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 sapsuckers are not frequent visitors at bird feeders, they do visit suet feeders on occasion. While seeking for insects or collecting sap, they are more likely to be seen in tree limbs. Sapsuckers will bore holes in birch and maple trees, then stuff their bills inside to get as much sap as possible with their long tongues.
These woodpeckers, which have a non-breeding population across South Carolina, are about the size of an American Robin. Therefore, before they migrate north to breed, your greatest chance of seeing one would be in the winter. With light underbellies, yellow and black chests, and crimson feathers above and below their beaks, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are mostly black.
8. RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz
Wingspan: 14.2 in
Just a few regions of Southeast United States are home to the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Apart from the northwest parts near cities like Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg, South Carolina has a variety of terrain throughout much of the state. These woodpeckers only nest and roost in pine trees, so look for them in national forests with thick pine forests.
The U.S. has placed red-cockaded Woodpeckers on a red watch list because their population is dwindling. Fish and Wildlife Service These birds are difficult to find since they are endangered and no longer plentiful in the south. Look for pine trees with heart fungus disease to find them. The softness of the wood and the ease of excavation are both symptoms of this condition.
The backs and wings of red-cockaded woodpeckers are striped with black and white stripes, while the sides of their heads are mostly white with black streaks. Males have a barely noticeable crimson cockade, or streak, near the crowns of their cheeks.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Attracting woodpeckers to our feeders or yards is something we all enjoy. They add a little excitement to the chickadees, titmice, and cardinals that are so frequently seen. Nonetheless, they are more difficult to locate and capture. Attracting woodpeckers to your yard can be done in a variety of ways.
- Many types of woodpeckers are known for visiting bird feeders, so offer them food they like. Provide both black sunflower seed and a suet feeder. A suet feeder with a tail prop section that will aid attract bigger woodpeckers is recommended.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and decaying trees that are simple to bore holes in and have enough insect larvae for them to eat. Leave dead trees alone.
- Several woodpecker species will utilize nest boxes that have been placed up. From May to July, pileated woodpeckers use nesting boxes.
- Woodpeckers may occasionally enjoy fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, apples and mulberry.
- Woodpeckers will utilise bird baths in the same way as other birds, so make sure there is a water source accessible, preferably with a water mover or solar fountain to entice them. Batteries in solar fountains generally perform best if the fountain doesn’t stop every time the sun goes behind a cloud.