Learn About Birds

Woodpeckers With Red Heads

Several species of woodpeckers have red on their heads. Only one of these is named “Red-headed Woodpecker.”

Don’t get confused! Use our identification quick guide (below) to make sure you are properly identifying woodpeckers for your Great Backyard Bird Count submissions. (Click on the birds’ names to read a more thorough species account.)

Red-headed Woodpecker: The only
woodpecker with an entirely red head east of the Rocky Mountains. 

 

 

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker
by James Coe

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
by James Coe

Pileated Woodpecker: A
large (crow-sized) woodpecker with a red crest.
 

 

Northern Flicker:
Brown overall, with narrow black bars on upperparts and large round
black spots on breast and belly. Adult male has a malar (“moustache”)
stripe; this stripe is red in the western (“Red-shafted”) subspecies,
and black in the eastern and northern (“Yellow-shafted”) subspecies.
“Yellow-shafted” Northern Flicker also has a red crescent on nape.

 

 

 

 

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker
by Larry McQueen

Red-bellied Woodpecker: Red cap, white
cheeks, and a zebra-striped back distinguish this woodpecker. 

 

 

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker
by Larry McQueen

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
by Larry McQueen

Yellow-bellied/Red-naped Sapsucker:
Red on the forehead, and males have a red throat patch. 

 

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
by Larry McQueen


Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker
by Larry McQueen

Downy Woodpecker/Hairy Woodpecker: Males have a red patch on
the back of their head. The only woodpeckers with white backs.