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Birds of North America, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Red-headed Woodpecker

Pic à tĂȘte rouge

Melanerpes erythrocephalus

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Species: The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) is found throughout eastern North America. This member of the woodpecker family does not peck the trees to locate its food but finds most of its food by capturing flying insects in the air or by gleaning its prey off limbs and branches of trees. The population has suffered, declining numbers overall, probably because of competition from the startling, which is also a cavity nesting bird species.

Distinctions: The male and female have complete red heads and necks, with black and white bodies. In flight, large amount of white on the wings become visible because of the all-white secondaries and rump. Juveniles have similar body plumage, but have brown rather than red heads.

Voice: Rattle-type flight call, not very loud contact call. Like most woodpeckers, they do communicate through drumming on dry twigs or hollow limbs of trees.

Nesting: Four to five white eggs, one to two broods per year. Nest is located in a cavity of a tree, in which the both parent pecked out. These woodpeckers are prone to nest in bird houses designed for woodpeckers in particular.

Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
9.25" 22.86cm 17" 43.18cm 2.5oz 70.88g Picidae Melanerpes erythrocephala

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution: Found throughout farm fields with woodstands, wood lots and forests, from southern Quebec, through southern Ontario, west into southern Saskatchewan, down into New Mexico, through most of Texas, across to the Atlantic coast and into southern Florida.

References to Other Bird Sites:

Avibase - the world bird database

ABA - American Birding Association

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society

ABC - American Bird Conservancy

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology

NA - National Geographic

NAC - National Audubon Society

Classic Collection of North American Birds