Tree-clinging Birds

Red-headed Woodpecker Red-headed Woodpecker
Melanerpes erythrocephalus


10" (25 cm). Whole head red, wings and tail bluish black, with large white patch on each wing; white underparts; white rump, conspicuous in flight. Immature resembles adult, but has brown head, 2 dark bars on white wing patch.


A loud churr-churr and yarrow-yarrow-yarrow.


Open country, farms, rural roads, open park-like woodlands, and golf courses.


5 white eggs placed without nest lining in a cavity in a tree, telephone pole, or fence post.


Breeds from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec south to Florida and Gulf Coast. Scarce in northeastern states. Winters in southern part of breeding range.


These woodpeckers are fond of open agricultural country with groves of dead and dying trees, particularly orchards. They often fly-catch, swooping low across a highway or along the shoulder of a road after flying insects. They store nuts and acorns, hiding them in holes and crevices. Red-headed Woodpeckers frequently are driven off by aggressive European Starlings, which occupy their nest holes, and by the removal of dead trees.