In North America, there are up to 22 different woodpecker species, with 12 of them being found in Texas. We’ll look at each species in this article and discuss where and when you might see one in Texas. I’ll also offer you some advice on how to attract woodpeckers to your property at the conclusion of the article.
12 SPECIES OF WOODPECKERS IN TEXAS
1. PILEATED WOODPECKER
Length: 15.8-19.3 in
Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz
Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in
The Pileated Woodpecker, Texas’ and North America’s biggest woodpecker, is the first to be seen. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which may or may not be extinct, is the biggest woodpecker in North America. In eastern Texas, near cities such as Houston and north of there, Pileated Woodpeckers may be found all year.
Look for Pileated Woodpeckers in mature woodlands if you want to see one. They enjoy seeing decayed wood on ancient, dead trees. Bird feeders are occasionally visited by Pileated Woodpeckers, who like suet but I don’t think they’re particularly frequent. I observe Downys, Hairys, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers on a regular basis at the suet feeder in my new house. They’re quite big, and it’s difficult to mistake a Pileated for any other kind of bird, so grab your camera if you do encounter one.
2. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Length: 7.5-9.1 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 16.5 in
The Red-headed Woodpecker, which may be found across central and eastern Texas, is distinguished by its entirely red/crimson head. They’ll go to suet feeders from time to time, but other kinds of woodpeckers are less common. Outside of suet, they like to eat different nuts and fruits, as well as catch insects in mid-flight. They are quite talented.
Red-headed Woodpeckers may be quite territorial, and it’s not uncommon for them to assault nests by shattering eggs or piercing them to kill the young. One of only four species of woodpeckers that caches its food for later use is these guys. The Red-headed Woodpecker goes one step further, covering the food with bark or wood to help disguise it.
3. ACORN WOODPECKER
Length: 7.5-9.1 in
Weight: 2.3-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.8-16.9 in
In North America, Acorn Woodpeckers are only found in east Texas and have a very restricted range. They eat acorns and a variety of different insects, and may be found in oak or pine-oak woods. They will at least visit suet feeders, like other species of woodpecker, although they are less frequent than Downy.
They’re well-known for storing up to 50,000 nuts in theme holes they create in trees called granaries. Other creatures can’t remove them because they’re jammed in so tightly. This food is obviously being kept in storage until there is less of it. Anything that tries to steal from them will be fiercely guarded by these food caches.
4. GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER
Length: 8.7-10.2 in
Weight: 2.6-3.5 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-17.3 in
The Golden-fronted Woodpecker is a resident of Mexico and Central America, and may be seen all year. Nonetheless, they may be found throughout central Texas and southern Oklahoma’s open woodlands and brushlands. Insects, nuts, and seeds are the main foods they eat, with the occasional exception of other bird eggs.
The striped black and white backs of both sexes, as well as the yellow napes, make it difficult to distinguish between them. A bright red crown covers the male’s head. Only two U.S. states have golden-fronted woodpeckers: Because of their limited occurrence, little is known about them.
5. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
Length: 9.4 in
Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
I see a lot of these guys at my feeders, and they’re one of the most common. The suet feeder is their favorite, but I’ve also seen them eat sunflower seeds. In comparison to other backyard feeder birds, they are rather big, and most of the time when they swoop into a feeder, the other birds flee.
In my feeders, these are one of the most prevalent types of woodpeckers. The suet feeder is their preference, although I’ve also seen them eating sunflower seeds. As compared to other backyard feeder birds, they are rather huge, and most of the time when they swoop into a feeder, the other birds flee.
6. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
Length: 7.1-8.7 in
Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in
Most of Texas, as well as the eastern half of the United States, are home to the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. They migrate north to their breeding grounds in northern states and Canada during the non-breeding season in Texas. During the winter months, or late March and early April, when they migrate north, a good time to see one is. These creatures prefer sap as their primary diet and aren’t often seen at bird feeders. With their long tongues, they drill holes into maple, elm, aspen, and birch trees and collect sap. They will eat a variety of insects in addition to sap.
7. RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER
Length: 7.5-8.3 in
Weight: 1.1-2.3 oz
Wingspan: 16.1-16.9 in
In what is known as Big Bend Country, the Red-naped Sapsucker may be found in eastern Texas. They were once thought to be the same species, but researchers discovered in 1983 that they were actually two different species. They are closely related to Yellow-bellieds.
They drink sap from trees, but also eat insects, similar to other sapsuckers. They drink sap from aspen, birch, and pine trees. When they’re most active in the morning (early in the breeding season), look for them early. A sap-producing tree with neat rows of holes is a surefire sign that a sapsucker is around.
8. DOWNY WOODPECKER
Length: 5.5-6.7 in
Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
Unlike most woodpeckers, which migrate, you can find these little guys all year round in eastern and northern Texas. They may be found across much of the country, except in the deep south. and are the tiniest North American woodpeckers. They’re also frequent visitors of bird feeders, and are often the first to arrive at a new one. They enjoy suet, as well as sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts, in addition to other seeds. Their white spots on their backs and bellies distinguish them, and they are only about the size of a sparrow. A red patch will appear on top of males’ heads as well.
9. LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER
Length: 6.3-7.1 in
Weight: 0.7-1.7 oz
Wingspan: 13.0 in
From late January to early March, be on the lookout for Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, who are more active and pairing up. Except for the most eastern sections of Texas, where they aren’t as frequent, they can be found all year throughout most of Texas. Mealworms, peanut butter, and black oil sunflower seeds are all readily accepted by them, but they aren’t often seen at suet feeders.
If you want to attract a pair, leave those dead trees in your yard alone since they commonly nest in them. Since they often reside in deserts and thorn woodlands, ladder-backed Woodpeckers were once known as “Cactus Woodpeckers.”
10. RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER
Length: 7.9-9.1 in
Weight: 1.5-1.8 oz
Wingspan: 14.2 in
The range of red-cockaded woodpeckers is quite restricted, and they are only found in a few states. Texas is one of the states that has it. They can be found year-round in a little region in eastern Texas, just north of Houston, in a very restricted area. Their populations fell drastically as a result of logging, and they are now on a red watch list with around 15,000 breeding birds. Nowadays, they’re not very common in the wild, and a wildlife refuge is your best chance of seeing one.
11. HAIRY WOODPECKER
Length: 7.1-10.2 in
Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
You may be wondering if this image depicts another Downy Woodpecker. They don’t look alike, but they do have the same answer. Hairy Woodpeckers may be found across northern and eastern Texas, much like Downy. These woodpeckers feature a substantially bigger beak than Downy’s and are considerably bigger than him. They’re tough to distinguish from one another, and they look a lot alike. In general, bird feeders seem to be less common for them.
12. NORTHERN FLICKER
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
Much of North America, as well as the whole United States, is home to Northern Flickers. They have a winter range across most of Texas, although they are year-round in the northern and eastern sections. Between the size of a Hairy and a Pileated Woodpecker, these large woodpeckers exist. They’re among my favorite birds in North America, and I love seeing one fly by in my yard. They’re among some of the most vivid.
In comparison to other woodpeckers, Northern Flickers prefer to seek for food on the ground rather than in trees. When they’re not looking for insects, they’ll frequently be seen picking through dirt and leaves.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Attracting woodpeckers to our feeders or yards is a hobby for many of us. Chickadees, titmice, and cardinals are common sightings, and they bring a little excitement to the table. They are, however, more difficult to see and attract. Attracting woodpeckers to your yard is easier said than done.
- Many types of woodpeckers are known for visiting bird feeders, so offer them food they like. Consider installing a suet feeder as well as black sunflower seed for sale. A suet feeder with a tail prop area that attracts bigger woodpeckers is highly recommended.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and decaying trees that are simple to bore holes in and provide them with plenty of insect larvae. Leave dead trees alone!
- Many species of woodpeckers will utilize nest boxes that have been placed up. From May to July, pileated woodpeckers use nestboxes.
- Woodpeckers may like fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, apples, mulberry and brambles from native fruit bearing plants and trees.
- Woodpeckers will utilize bird baths, just like other birds, so provide them with a water source, preferably with a water mover or solar fountain to encourage them. To allow the fountain to continue functioning when the sun goes behind a cloud, solar fountains with batteries are recommended.