Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus – also known as Le pic à ventre roux (French), Roodbuikspecht (Dutch), Carolinaspecht (German), Picchio della Carolina (Italian), Carpintero de Carolina (Spanish), and Karolinaspett (Swedish).
The Red-Bellied Woodpecker can be identified by the red stripe that runs from the front of his head to his nape (like a mohawk) in males, and from the back of his head to his nape (like a mullet) in the females, but he is named for the red shade on his belly that is very difficult to see (except in the top picture!). The above is of the female. Very common in Iowa and the Midwest throughout the year. You can see his red belly-stripe in full, here.
Woodpeckers (and hawks) are so much easier to find in the winter. Anywhere you can find a stand of oak trees, you’ll find hawks and woodpeckers in Iowa. Of course, in Iowa, in the summer, the foliage makes it more difficult to actually see the birds. In the winter, when all of the foliage has fallen to the ground, they are much easier to see. And, since they move up and down the tree, and move from tree to tree, you can generally find them (the woodpeckers) without trouble.
Compare to the Northern Flicker, which has a spotted breast, red on the nape (that doesn’t extend as far as the red on either of the sexes of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker), a black chest bar, and, in males, a black or red moustache.
This photo was taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D and the Sigma 70-300mm Lens. Taken on December 19, 2007 in Davenport, Iowa.