In this post, I will be taking you through the complete list of woodpeckers that can be found in Alabama, United States. But before that let’s learn something brief about these amazing birds.
Woodpeckers are arboreal birds of wooded habitats. are part of the family Picidae, which also includes the piculets, wrynecks, and sapsuckers.
Members of this family are found worldwide, except for Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Madagascar, and the extreme polar regions.
Most species live in forests or woodland habitats, although a few species are known that live in treeless areas, such as rocky hillsides and deserts.
They mostly forage for insect prey on tree trunks and branches, and they frequently communicate by drumming their beaks, which produces a reverberatory sound that may be heard from afar.
Fruits, birds’ eggs, tiny animals, tree sap, human trash, and carrion are among the foods consumed by some species. They mostly nest and roost in holes they dig in tree trunks, and their abandoned holes are valuable to other cavity-nesting birds.
Now let’s turn our attention to the reason why you clicked on this post by looking at the list of woodpeckers found in Alabama.
Woodpeckers In Alabama
Alabama has a rich diversity of bird species across the state, including eight species of woodpeckers.
Because of their resemblance to other woodpecker species, several species found in Alabama might be difficult to distinguish. Let’s take a look at each one individually.
1. Nothern Flicker
While red-bellied woodpeckers are the most common in Alabama, the northern flicker, or yellowhammer, is the most popular. Because of the yellow colour under the tail and wings that can be seen while it flies, the flicker, Alabama’s state bird, is dubbed a yellowhammer.
The flicker’s back and wings have brown and black barring, and its breast is white with black spots. A red patch on the nape, a grey crown on the top of the head, and a noticeable black “necklace” are among the other features.
2. Pileated Woodpecker
The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker found in Alabama and the second largest in the United States. With a black body and white markings on the neck and wings, this huge woodpecker stands 15-17 inches tall. When perched on trees, it has a prominent red crest that is easily visible.
Pileated woodpeckers feed carpenter ants and beetle larvae and prefer larger trees in older growth forests. While foraging, it will leave distinct rectangular holes on trees. Several animals, including owls and ducks, use the nest cavities built by pileated woodpeckers as a safe haven.
3. Red-bellied Woodpecker
The red-bellied woodpecker is Alabama’s most common woodpecker, as well as the most frequently misidentified. It is sometimes called red-headed because of its red hat and nape, but its pinkish belly, which is mainly covered when perched on a tree, is truly named after it.
The red-bellied woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with black and white barring on its back. It prefers fruit to insects and, like many woodpeckers, will store or cache food in tree or fence cracks and crevices. It can be found in a variety of environments, including urban and suburban settings.
4. Red-headed Woodpecker
The red-headed woodpecker has a solid red head, as its name suggests. This characteristic stands out against the black and white body, making it simple to spot. This species’ males and females have the same appearance.
The red-headed woodpecker is different from other Alabama woodpeckers in that it rarely excavates holes in trees when foraging. Rather, it collects insects as they fly by. Other foods it forages for include nuts, berries, mice, bird eggs, and even young birds. Red-headed woodpeckers can be found in a wide range of environments, including cities.
5. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
The yellow-bellied sapsucker is the only Alabama woodpecker that does not reproduce in the state, and it is only seen in the winter. This medium-sized bird has black and white barring on its back and a yellow belly and chest, similar to some of Alabama’s other woodpeckers. It features two white stripes on the face, a red crest, and a black necklace with white stripes around the border of its wings.
6. Red-cockaded Woodpecker
The red-cockaded woodpecker is one of Alabama’s most distinctive woodpecker species, as well as its sole endangered one. Similar to downy and hairy woodpeckers, this medium-sized woodpecker has black and white barring across the back. It has a black crown and nape, as well as white cheek patches that help it stand out from the other two smaller species. Males have a cockade, which is a red spot on each side of their cap.
Only mature, open pine forests, mainly longleaf, are home to the red-cockaded woodpecker. It is Alabama’s only woodpecker that digs a hole in a living pine tree. This species necessitates the use of huge pine trees with red-heart disease, which softens the inner wood.
7. Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers
With the untrained eye, Alabama’s two smallest woodpecker species can be difficult to distinguish. The backs of downy and hairy woodpeckers are speckled or checkered in black and white, with white bodies and black bills. Both men and females have a little red spot on the back of their heads, which the females do not have.
The hairy woodpecker is significantly larger and has a larger black beak than the downy woodpecker, despite their similar colouring. Hairy woodpeckers can be seen foraging on smaller branches, whilst downy woodpeckers can be found along the main stems of trees. Both species can be found in a range of environments and eat a diverse diet of insects, fruit, and seeds.