8 Species Of Woodpeckers In Utah (With Photos)

The woodpeckers are a fascinating avian family. It’s really unusual for them to be able to drill into trees so quickly and safely! We’ll examine eight species of woodpeckers in Utah, with some information on where and when you may see them, in this article. We’ll provide a few hints on how to attract woodpeckers to your yard at the end of the article.


In North America, there are at least 17 different species of woodpeckers. Utah is a fantastic location to discover woodpeckers, with 8 species that spend at least part of the year here. The best places to see some of the more uncommon species are in the state’s vertical forests, which stretch for miles through the middle of the state.

The American three-toed woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, Lewis’s woodpecker, Northern flicker, red-naped sapsucker, and Williamson’s sapsucker are the eight species of woodpeckers found in Utah.


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

Utah is one of the few places in the United States where you may find an American three-toed woodpecker, alongside a few other states in the west. Year-round, they stay in the state. The majority of them may be found in the northeastern part of the state, in the larger woodlands that run through its center. Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest are two excellent places to see wildlife.

They favor diseased, aged woodlands with numerous dead or burnt trees, where they may easily harvest insect larvae and mine for insects.

Woodpeckers have 4 toes, known as Zygodactyl toes, in the majority of their foot. These woodpeckers, on the other hand, have just three toes, as their name suggests. Because of the leverage provided by having just three toes, the three-toed woodpecker is thought to be able to lean back farther and strike a stronger blow on its target.


  • 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 Utah, and they are ubiquitous. They’re found practically everywhere in the United States. They are North America’s smallest woodpecker species. The white dots on the downy’s backs, as well as its pure white chest and belly, are the only identifying features. A crimson patch appears at the back of a male’s skull.

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


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

Maybe you’re thinking this picture is of another downy woodpecker. They don’t look identical, but they do have a similar appearance. Downy and hairy woodpeckers may be found in the United States in similar habitats. when trying to distinguish between them, and cause a lot of consternation.

In comparison to its body size, the hairy woodpecker is much bigger and has a longer beak. Here’s a guide to help you differentiate between the two.

In every way from habitat to diet, these two woodpeckers are extremely similar. They may be seen all year in Utah. While they will visit backyard suet feeders, the hairy woodpecker is a bit more retiring when it comes to humans, and they are less commonly seen than the downy.


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

In the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the state’s far southwestern corner, look for ladder-backed woodpeckers. National Conservation Areas such as Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash. They prefer to eat insects in the wild, so they aren’t often seen at suet feeders. Mealworms, peanut butter, and black oil sunflower seeds are some methods you can use to attract them.

The back of their body has long, horizontal white stripes that look like rungs of a ladder. Little black dots cover their white belly. Males have a crimson stripe that extends over their crown, whereas females have a black stripe.

If you want to attract a pair of ladder-backed woodpeckers, leave those dead trees alone in your yard. They commonly nest there. Because they often live in deserts and thorn forests where cactus are abundant, they were once referred to 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

During the spring and fall migrations, Lewis’ woodpeckers may be seen across Utah. Around the border in the northeast, southeast, and southwest, they stay around for the summer breeding season or year-round.

Lewis’ tend to dwell in pine woodlands and charred woodlands, but their numbers are often variable.

Their fall-winter population frequently ends up in different locations year-to-year after they’ve finished breeding season and are looking for stores of acorns and nuts. During the winter, they store these foods in nooks and crannies to keep them going.

During the fall-winter season, they roam around looking for acorn and nut stores, often ending up in various areas year to year after the breeding season. During the winter, they store these foods in nooks and crannies so that they will last.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, unlike many other species, catch insects in midair. Their wings are broad and rounded, giving them a graceful crow-like quality in flight.

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


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

Throughout the United States, these medium to big woodpeckers are very prevalent in backyards. They’re also one of the most vibrant birds in North America, in my opinion.

Unlike other woodpeckers, flickers prefer to find insects on the ground rather than in trees, and they feed mostly on them. Black markings on their bellies, solid black bib, barred blacks and grays wings, and brown face on a gray head help you identify them.

Females do not have a red “mustache,” whereas males do. The red-shafted variety is found in Utah, and their wings and tail feathers are vibrant crimson on the underneath.

The Northern Flickers may be seen in Utah throughout the year, and they may even stop by backyard suet feeders. You may observe them digging around for insects if you have leaf mounds in your yard.


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

Until 1983, when researchers discovered they were in fact two separate species, red-naped sapsuckers were regarded to be a subspecies of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Males have a completely red throat, while females have a white throat with a crimson necklet, and both sexes feature a crimson forehead.

They drink sap from trees, aspen, birch, and pine, but also eat insects like other sapsuckers do. A sap-producing tree with neat rows of holes is a surefire way to detect the presence of a sapsucker.

Look for them in the mornings when they’re most active in Utah early in the breeding season (mid-May). Throughout the summer, they stay in Utah, then return south in the autumn. It’s possible that the population in the southwest portion of the island lives all year.


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

Just a few midwestern states, including Utah, have Williamson’s sapsuckers. They’re mostly seen in the state’s heavily wooded regions. During the breeding season, these sapsuckers arrive in Utah, where they spend the winter.

They extract sap from coniferous trees by drilling sap-wells, and they primarily eat it. The sexes have different looks. Males have a little red on their chins and black backs with brilliant yellow bellies. Brown-headed females have brown bodies with black and white stripes.

Williamson’s sapsuckers are mostly located in hilly woodlands, but they are uncommon in backyards. They prefer to nest in bigger, older trees and roost in natural or excavated holes.


Those who adore observing wildlife in the yard want to see as many species as possible. Woodpeckers can be a little more difficult to attract and prefer somewhat different foods than many songbirds. To make your yard more enticing for woodpeckers, here are a few suggestions you can follow.

  • Several kinds of woodpeckers are courageous enough to approach feeders, so offer them what they want. Suet is the finest food for drawing woodpeckers, despite the fact that other species consume seeds and nuts. Make sure to include a tail prop zone in your suet feeder to entice bigger woodpecker species.
  • Woodpeckers like dead and dying trees that are simple to bore holes in and provide them with plenty of insect larvae, so leave dead trees alone.
  • Northern flickers and pileated woodpeckers have been known to utilize nest boxes, so put up some.
  • Woodpeckers may occasionally enjoy fruits and berries such as dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly. blueberries. mulberry and elderberries. Plant native fruit producing plants and trees to attract them

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