In North America, there are over a dozen distinct species of woodpeckers, and Wyoming is home to nine of them. We’ll take a look at each species in this article, and we’ll discuss where and when you may see one. We also provide you with some advice on how to draw woodpeckers to your yard at the end of the article.
9 SPECIES OF WOODPECKERS IN WYOMING
American three-toed woodpecker, black-backed woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, Lewis’s woodpecker, northern flicker, red-headed woodpecker, and Williamson’s sapsucker are the nine species of Wyomingwoodpeckeres.
1. AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Picoides dorsalis
- Length: 8.3-9.1 in
- Weight: 1.6-2.4 oz
- Wingspan: 14.6-15.3 in
In Canada, these woodpeckers are far more prevalent. Wyoming is one of just a few states in the United States where the American three-toed woodpecker may be found, in addition to a few others in the west.
Look for them in the state’s hilly regions and national forests, particularly in the northwest. They favor fallen, aged growth woodlands with numerous dead or burnt trees where they may easily harvest insect larvae and mine for insects.
Woodpeckers have four toes in the majority of cases. These woodpeckers, on the other hand, have just three toes, as their name suggests. Because of the leverage provided by having just three toes, it is thought that the three-toed woodpecker may be able to lean back farther and strike a more powerful blow.
2. BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Picoides arcticus
- Length: 9.1 in
- Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz
- Wingspan: 15.8-16.5 in
Between the ages of one to eight, black-backed woodpeckers are most often seen in burnt woods. In woods where fires had occurred, the solid black plumage on their backs aids them blend into charred trees. These burnt areas are visited by black-backed woodpeckers, who will live in them for years and feast on the larvae of wood-boring beetles and other insects.
These woodpeckers, however, seem to be able to locate burnt woods by themselves. They will come only weeks after a fire. Like the American three-toed woodpecker, this species only has three toes. They’ll also seek out bark beetle populations in unburned woodlands.
Look for them in the woodlands near the state’s northern borders, especially where recent fires have erupted, at any time of year.
3. DOWNY WOODPECKER
- 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 Wyoming, and they are found everywhere. They’re virtually ubiquitous in the United States. They are the tiniest woodpeckers in North America, and The white dots on the downy’s backs, as well as its pure white chest and belly, differentiate them from sparrows. A red patch on the back of the male’s head is visible.
The most common woodpecker in your neighborhood is the downy, which visits bird feeders often. They enjoy suet, but they also consume sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts. Hummingbirds have even been seen visiting your hummingbird feeder, thanks to their tiny beak and ability to access the sweet water.
4. HAIRY WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
- Length: 7.1-10.2 in
- Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
You might be tempted to think that this downy woodpecker looks a lot like this one. Across the United States, hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers may be found in the same places. When you’re trying to sort out which is which, it generates even more ambiguity.
In comparison to its body size, the hairy has a much bigger beak and is considerably bulkier. Here’s a guide on how to tell them apart that you may find useful.
From their habitat to their eating habits, these two woodpeckers are incredibly similar. Throughout Wyoming, they can be found all year. The hairy woodpecker is less prone to approaching people and will visit backyard suet feeders, but they aren’t as regularly seen as the downy.
5. LEWIS’S WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes lewis
- Length: 10.2-11.0 in
- Weight: 3.1-4.9 oz
- Wingspan: 19.3-20.5 in
During the breeding season, Lewis’ woodpeckers can be seen all over Wyoming. They prefer pine woodlands and fire-affected woodlands, but their numbers are occasionally erratic.
Their fall-winter population frequently ends up in different locations year to year, since they travel around looking for stores of acorns and nuts after breeding season. To last them through the winter, they store these foods in crannies.
Because their breeding season is in the fall and winter, their population frequently changes year to year as they move around searching for acorn and nut stores. They store these foods in hidden areas throughout the winter, and they consume them.
Lewis’ woodpeckers, unlike those of many other species, capture insects in midair. Their flight has a lovely, crow-like elegance due to their large, rounded wings.
Most woodpeckers have black and white bodies, so their coloring is especially distinctive. Lewis’ have a pink belly, a crimson patch on the cheek, and a dark, iridescent green on their back and wings. They’re quite colorful!
6. NORTHERN FLICKER
- Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
- Length: 11.0-12.2 in
- Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
In backyards all throughout the United States, these medium to large-sized woodpeckers are quite common. They’re also one of the most stunning 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. The black pustules on their bellies, very solid black bib, barred black and gray wings, and pale brown and gray head will help you identify them. Females will lack a mustached lip, while males will.
The yellow-shafted and red-shafted varieties are the two color variations available in the United States. You may observe both subspecies in Wyoming, since the ranges of the two meet. The color of the mustache on the males and the wings and tail are the most significant distinctions. When they occasionally interbreed and produce a hybrid, you may even observe something that resembles a mix of both.
During the winter, northern flickers can be seen all throughout Wyoming, and they will eat suet from your yard.
7. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Length: 7.5-9.1 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5 in
The red-headed woodpeckers’ range extends far west of Wyoming. During the breeding season in the spring and summer, they are most frequently seen in the eastern part of the state.
The red-headed woodpecker’s crimson head and black and white color-blocked body make it easy to spot. They’re less frequent backyard visitors than many other kinds of woodpeckers, and they may occasionally visit suet feeders. They’ll devour almonds and fruits in addition to suet.
Acorns and beech nuts are their favorite foods, and they are one of only four species of woodpeckers that keep them in caches for later consumption. In addition, these woodpeckers will cover the food with bark or wood to help conceal their storage.
8. RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER
- 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 scientists discovered that red-naped sapsuckers were indeed two different species, red-naped sapsuckers were thought to be the same as yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Males have a completely red throat, whereas females have a white throat with a crimson “necklace,” whereas both sexes have a crimson forehead.
They drink sap from trees like aspen, birch, and pine, but also consume insects in the same way that other sapsuckers do. A sapsucker is usually in the vicinity when there are neat rows of holes in a sap-producing tree.
Early in the breeding season (mid-May) and early in the morning are when they are most active, so look for them in Wyoming. In the summer, they stay in Wyoming, then in the autumn, they leave the state. They’re virtually ubiquitous, but they’re seldom seen around the state’s eastern border.
9. WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKER
Just a few midwestern states, including Wyoming, have Williamson’s sapsuckers. Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, and Bighorn National Forest are among the most common places for sightings. During the breeding season, these sapsuckers come to Wyoming, then move south for the winter.
They extract the sap of coniferous trees by drilling sapwells, and they feed primarily on it. Females and males have distinct appearances. The backs of males are black, and their bellies are bright yellow with a little red on the chin. The heads of females are brown, and their bodies are striped with black and white.
Williamson’s sapsuckers are mostly located in hilly forests and are uncommon in backyards. They prefer to nest in bigger, elder trees and roost in natural or excavated caves.
- Best suet feeders to attract woodpeckers
- How to make your own suet
- Why do woodpeckers peck wood?
- Backyard Birds in Wyoming
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Those who enjoy seeing birds in the wildest possible variety want to attract as many as possible. Woodpeckers may be a bit more difficult to attract and prefer specialty foods, while other songbirds are simple to entice with birdseed. To make your yard more appealing to woodpeckers, here are a few suggestions.
- Many species of woodpeckers are courageous enough to approach feeders, so offer them foods they enjoy. Suet is the preferable food for attracting woodpeckers, although other species may consume seeds and nuts. To attract bigger woodpecker species, make sure to get a suet feeder with a tail prop area.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and rotting trees with a lot of insect larvae for them to devour, so leave them alone.
- Northern flickers and pileated woodpeckers are two species that have been known to use nest boxes.
- Woodpeckers may sometimes enjoy fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries and mulberry.