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Nature Blog Network
Friday, December 21, 2007

red-bellied woodpecker hello

red-bellied woodpecker close

Red-Bellied WoodpeckerMelanerpes 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.

Posted by: Mike in: Birds,Iowa at 6:00 am

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  • http://thegreenfingeredphotographer.blogspot.com Mark

    Great woodpecker picture,they are so difficult to see and I have spent many a time in the woods following the noise they make trying to see one.Usually all I get is a fleeting glypse. Great ice storm pictures, only problem wuth the ice storms is the amount of damage they cause to the trees.

    Ho Ho Ho Mark

  • http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com MrBrownThumb

    I saw my first woodpecker here in Chicago in ages outside my window. Unfortunately I was too slow to get a picture of him.

  • http://www.birdfreak.com The Birdfreak Team

    I love the face-on shot! Poor guy, forever dubbed as having a mullet! :-)

    Good birding to you!

  • http://waterwhendry.blogspot.com Aiyana

    This looks like our Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) except that the red coloring on ours is more toward the beak, and it doesn’t have a red belly. We also call the Gila Woodpecker the Saguaro Woodpecker because it makes holes in the Saguaro cactus to nest.
    Happy holidays,

  • http://monarchbfly.com mon@rch

    The Red-bellied Woodpeckers are such great woodpeckers! Wonderful post and I love these photos!

  • http://parvumopus.blogspot.com olivia

    What a beauty! Great photos.

  • http://dustyd-flyawayhome.blogspot.com sandy

    Ohh..wow, love the woodpecker. And those ice pics below, burr….but beautiful…


  • http://www.chicagonaturelady.blogspot.com Chicago Nature Lady

    What lovely pictures! I get so excited when I spot a red-bellied, their head seems to light up from far away. Great pictures, I really love your site. :)

  • http://arkansasbirding.blogspot.com Karl C.

    Very nice picture. Very rare to get such a great shot of the red belly. Nice work!

  • http://condaily.blogspot.com Con Daily

    Great photos of this beautiful woodpecker!

  • http://dart1121.blogspot.com Sally

    Wait a minute – isn’t that a Flicker?

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    Thanks for all the comments, everybody!

    Sally – I’ve added a comparison link to the Northern Flicker. The birds look similarly, but there are a few noticeable differences!

  • http://dart1121.blogspot.com Sally

    Oh my gosh! I’ve been calling these flickers, when in reality I’m seeing red-bellied woodpeckers! Thanks so much for clearing that up Moe. And thanks for the link.

    Merry Christmas!

  • http://meeyauw.blogspot.com/ Andrée

    I clearly see the differences from the downy woodpecker here and the flickers I have in the summer. Great photos.

  • http://photosforthefunofit.blogspot.com Angie Hurst

    How cute! She was posing for you!! I had a male and female Downey coming to my bird feeder, but haven’t seen them in a few days. I’ll get the camera out next time I see them.

  • http://www.iowavoice.com Moe

    I love to see the little downey woodpeckers in the winter! I don’t get them at my house for some reason, but they are everywhere else around here. Happy hunting, Angie!

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