11 Species Of Woodpeckers In Washington State

The animals and birds in Washington State are plentiful. A wide variety of woodpeckers, including sapsuckers and flickers, may be seen here owing to its special geography, which is full of coniferous and mixed woods, high elevations, and coastal areas. There are a few unusual woodpecker species that aren’t readily accessible in most regions of the nation, among some of the more prevalent species. To learn more about Washington State’s 11 different types of woodpeckers, keep reading.


Woodpecker species may be found year-round in Washington State, and there is a wide range of them. Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Pileated Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers, White-headed Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers and Williamson’s Sapsucker are among the year-round species. Lewis’s Woodpeckers and Red-naped Sapsuckers are two other species that may be seen during the breeding season.


Length: 5.5-6.7 in

Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz

Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in

The smallest of the woodpeckers on our list is the first. Throughout much of the United States and Canada, the Downy Woodpecker is a common species of woodpecker that can be found all year. In Washington State, it may be found in a variety of environments, including open woodlands, forests, orchards, groves, and suburban locations year-round. In reality, it visits feeders and even residential parks on a regular basis. It may forage on high weed stalks and grasses because of its tiny size, which prevents it from reaching higher woodpeckers.

The Hairy Woodpecker, like the Downy Woodpecker, has a black and white color scheme. The undersides are white, while the uppers are black with checkering and a strong white stripe down the spine. Males have a little red patch on top of their heads that is also visible. When they perch on tree trunks and have straight, drill-like bills, their silhouettes resemble that of a bigger woodpecker. Downy Woodpeckers, on the other hand, have smaller bills in proportion to their bodies than other species.


Length: 7.1-10.2 in

Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz

Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in

In terms of plumage coloration, Hairy Woodpeckers resemble Downy Woodpeckers and have black and white plumage with a similar white stripe running down their backs. Hairy Woodpeckers, on the other hand, are bigger and have a longer beak. Hairy Woodpeckers spend a lot of time drilling and excavating to eat on wood-boring insects and larvae, as compared to other smaller sized woodpeckers. Listen for their drumming, which may be heard on tree trunks and the main limbs of trees, and look for them.

Hairy Woodpeckers are common in Washington State throughout the year, much like the Downy Woodpecker. They prefer bigger and taller trees, and are often seen in older forests and open woodlands than Downy Woodpeckers. While they may occasionally take advantage of a feeder, especially those loaded with suet, they are less likely to be found in suburbs and backyards.


Length: 11.0-12.2 in

Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz

Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in

Northern Flickers are the only woodpeckers with a bright coloration found in Washington State. Northern Flickers are brown all over, with extensive patterning on their undersides and wings, unlike other species that have predominantly black and white plumages. They have smooth, rounded heads and long, tapered tails, and are the size of an American Robin and Crow. Northern Flickers in the east have brilliant yellow patches beneath their wings, while birds in the west, including Washington State, have red. There are two types of Northern Flickers in existence.

Year-round woodpeckers in Washington State include Northern Flickers, who live in forests and woodlands with open areas for foraging. Northern Flickers are frequently seen on the ground, using their somewhat downcurved bills to dig for ants, despite the fact that most woodpeckers spend time on trees foraging.


Length: 15.8-19.3 in

Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz

Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in

The biggest woodpeckers in North America, Pileated Woodpeckers, have distinctive crimson crests on the tops of their heads that make them easy to spot. Nonetheless, despite their presence along the northern, eastern, and western boundaries year-round, Pileated Woodpeckers are uncommon in Washington State. They prefer vast, old woodlands with plenty of rotting and dead wood foraging.

Pileated Woodpeckers primarily eat Carpenter ants, but they will consume other wood-boring insects as well as fruits and nuts. If one is in the area, look for their unique, deep, rectangular holes left in trees and wood. Other nesting species, such as bats, owls, and birds, may also use these holes.


Length: 8.3-9.1 in

Weight: 1.6-2.4 oz

Wingspan: 14.6-15.3 in

Year-round American Three-toed Woodpeckers may be found in small pockets along the northern and eastern borders of Washington State. They aren’t often seen woodpeckers because of their tiny stature and unnoticed presence. Three-toed Woodpeckers, particularly those that sit motionless or flake off the bark, may spend a long time perching on a single tree. These woodpecker aren’t like most other woodpeckers; instead of drilling or excavating, they peel the bark off with their bills, much like a bird.

Between the size of a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, American Three-toed Woodpeckers are about the size of an American Robin. To help them pick off bark, their bills are rather short but robust and sturdy. Their white undersides are striped with fine black stripes, and they’re mostly black and white. On the foreheads of males, there is a faint yellow patch.


Length: 9.1 in

Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz

Wingspan: 15.8-16.5 in

The American Three-toed Woodpecker and Black-backed Woodpeckers are very similar. They may be found year-round in the same regions of Washington State. Although they are less frequent than American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Black-backed Woodpeckers are more noticeable. In regions where both kinds of woodpeckers live, black-backed Woodpeckers typically drive away American Three-toed Woodpeckers from their domains.

These medium-sized woodpeckers, comparable to a Hairy Woodpecker, are birds of similar size. They have less barring on the back and wings than the American Three-toed Woodpecker, which makes them similar to them. In woodlands where fires had happened, their solid black plumage aids them blend in with scorched trees. These burnt places attract Black-backed Woodpeckers, who will settle in these areas for years and feast on the larvae of wood-boring beetles and other creatures.


Length: 8.3-9.1 in

Weight: 1.9-2.3 oz

Wingspan: 16.9 in

Just a small portion of Washington State is home to the White-headed Woodpeckers. They prefer pine-covered mountains and are seldom found in pine-free woodlands. Look for these woodpeckers in forests with a lot of ponderosa, Jeffrey, Coulter, and sugar pines, because they love pine seeds and cones. White-headed Woodpeckers, like Black-backed and American three-toed Woodpeckers, prefer to pull and peel the bark off of trees rather than drill into them. To take advantage of the insects in the burnt forests, they’ll also flock to them.

Except for their brilliant white heads and white stripes on their wings, White-headed Woodpeckers are of comparable size to an American Robin. They have mostly inky black plumage all over. Males, like other woodpecker species, have a prominent crimson patch on their heads. They have long wings and tails as opposed to other woodpeckers, as well as a short, pointed beak.


Length: 7.9-8.7 in

Weight: 1.9-2.2 oz

Wingspan: 14.6-16.0 in

In Washington State, on the western coast, red-breasted Sapsuckers may be found all year. These prefer coniferous woods, however they may be found in other trees during the winter. Because little attention was paid to the differences in behavior, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Red-naped Sapsuckers were thought to be of the same species for a long time.

The red-breasted woodpecker has a crimson head and crimson chest, and is about the size of a small dog. Black and white plumage cover the rest of their bodies. Other sapsuckers forage in the same way, drilling tiny sap wells into trees to lap up the sap that flows out.


Length: 8.3-9.8 in

Weight: 1.6-1.9 oz

Wingspan: 13-15 in

While Williamson’s Sapsuckers may be found year-round in a section of Washington State, These pine and aspen forests are mountainous. Williamson’s Sapsuckers, like other sapsuckers, drill sap wells into trees in order to access the sap supply inside. They do it much like maple syrup is accessed. Insects, fruits, and plant matter like cambium are also consumed by them. The birds are mostly calm, but their drumming and high-pitched, nasal calls become more frequent during the spring.

Males and femen of Williamson’s Sapsuckers have such significant differences in appearance that they were once considered to be separate species. Males have a yellow belly, white wing patches, and a brilliant red throat. They are mostly black with a yellow belly. Females, on the other hand, have a light brown head with black and white stripes on their limbs.


Length: 10.2-11.0 in

Weight: 3.1-4.9 oz

Wingspan: 19.3-20.5 in

During breeding season and migration, Lewis’s Woodpeckers can only be found in the eastern part of Washington State. Their populations are often unpredictable, particularly after breeding season when they travel around looking for acorn and nut stores. They prefer to stay in pine forests and forests that have been burned. These foods are stored in hiding places throughout the winter after being consumed.

Lewis’ Woodpeckers eat mostly in the air, unlike a lot of other woodpeckers. Their flight has a beautiful, crow-like quality because of their broad, rounded wings. They have a pink belly, a crimson patch on the cheek, and a dark, iridescent green on their back and wings that makes them stand out.


Length: 7.5-8.3 in

Weight: 1.1-2.3 oz

Wingspan: 16.1-16.9 in

During the breeding season, red-naped Sapsuckers may be found in Washington State’s eastern half. While they are more often found in pine, aspen, and willow woodlands outside of breeding season, they may also be found in oak woodlands. Red-naped Sapsuckers, like other sapsuckers, get their primary nourishment from tree sap. They may be around because of their tiny, neat rows of sap wells. Other notable identification characteristics to watch out for include their irregular and sluggish drumming, as well as their harsh cries.

The red-naped woodpecker has a small, pointed beak and is a medium-sized bird. Adults have white stripes on their faces and bright red patches on their heads, and they are mostly black and white. They have black and white mottling on their bellies, as well as a pale yellow patch. Males have completely red throats, but females have a little white patch on their red throats.


Attracting woodpeckers to our feeders or yards is something we all enjoy for different reasons. They bring a bit of excitement to the table and are just as prevalent as chickadees, titmice, or cardinals. They’re more difficult to detect and attract, though. Here are some hints on how to entice woodpeckers to your property.

  • Many kinds of woodpeckers are known for visiting bird feeders, so offer them food they enjoy. Along with providing black sunflower seed, consider constructing a suet feeder. Large woodpeckers will be attracted by a suet feeder with a tail prop area.
  • Woodpeckers prefer dead and dying trees that are simple to bore holes in and have enough insect larvae for them to devour. Leave dead trees alone.
  • Many woodpeckers species will utilize nest boxes, so put them up. From May through July, Pileated Woodpeckers use nesting boxes.
  • Woodpeckers may occasionally eat fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, apples and mulberry.
  • Woodpeckers will utilize bird baths just like other birds, so have a water source readily accessible, preferably with a water mover or solar fountain to help attract them. Batteries on solar fountains are more effective than those on wind or water fountains, because the fountain does not stop each time the sun goes behind a cloud.

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