9 Florida Woodpecker Species You Should Know For Your Next Birdwatching

Black and Brown Woodpecker

Last Updated: April 25, 2021

Woodpeckers are one of the most amazing bird species that can give you an insight into the creativity and true beauty of nature. 

Amazingly there are more than 180 species of woodpeckers around the globe, and 22 species of them are in North America.

Out of those 22, there are 9 types of woodpeckers in Florida.

Really amazing, right?

All of these species are adapted to diverse habitats, including deserts, jungles, forests, and urban settings like the Florida woodpeckers.

The most frequent ones are the red-cockaded woodpeckers. Besides being the most common Florida woodpecker species, the red-cockaded woodpecker is a fascinating bird to see.

Reasons Why People Love Woodpeckers

If you ask any woodpecker enthusiast, he/she will start with the attractive features of this little creature. Trust me; they are right in saying so. Woodpeckers are tiny birds with bold markings and bright colors that give them a vibrant personality.

Plus, as they typically stay in the same region around the year, attracting these birds is pretty simple (if that’s your thing). Bird lovers appreciate every opportunity to learn about the woodpeckers in detail and appreciate their individuality and quirky personalities.

Furthermore, since the woodpeckers love to eat insects like beetles and ants, if they are visiting your place, you’ll get rid of annoying insects in the area as well.

Each type of woodpecker has its unique attributes and behavior. This diversity is important as it allows us to compare the characteristics of different species while enjoying the things we love the most about these little fellows.

Common Woodpeckers You Can Encounter In Florida

Florida is home to several species of woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers of Florida include the red-headed woodpecker, ivory-billed woodpecker (which is critically endangered now), pileated woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, northern flicker, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, down woodpecker, and hairy woodpecker.

You can find the difference in these birds' appearance by looking at the pictures of woodpeckers in Florida.

They don’t particularly stand out in the Bird World of Florida. However, the state beaches provide an ideal territory for water birds and shorebirds.

It is thus a perfect spot for you to see these birds for real when you visit Florida.

The most popular Florida woodpeckers include:

Red-Headed Woodpecker

  • Weight: 2.0 to 3.2 ounces
  • Length: 7.5 to 9.1 inches
  • Wing-span: 16.5 inches 

These woodpeckers have a specific wintering and breeding range in Florida. They migrate from central and northern parts of the US and South of Canada to Florida during the breeding season. Hence the best time to see these woodpeckers in Florida is during the winters.

Red-headed

You can quickly identify them with their tiny redheads.

They can be readily spotted in the forest, specifically around the drying and dead trees or swampy areas.

They also visit the backyard feeders, specifically suet feeders. These types of woodpeckers can literary eat anything, including pecans, beechnuts, acorns, corn, and a variety of seeds

They also enjoy fruits like cherries, pears, apples, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, mulberries, grapes, and poison ivy fruits.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of several reasons, their population is declining. This is why you can rarely see them around feeders as compared to other types of woodpeckers.


Downy Woodpecker

  • Weight: 0.75 to 1 ounces
  • Length: 7.1 to 10.2 inches
  • Wing-span: 3.27 to 4.13 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live up to 12 years
  • Favorite food: Pretty much everything; insects and non-insect arthropods

They are the tiniest woodpeckers you can find in the region, with a standing of as little as 5.71 inches tall for adults. You will generally see them in black and white color with two black shoulder pads on that wide white stripe in the middle.

These woodpeckers have black and white horizontal bars on their wings. But in some cases, the wings are black with white spots. Also, on males, you can see a red patch on the back of the neck or at the top of their head.

They have a quieter call and they prefer spacious deciduous jungles.

But they will also appreciate ponds or river banks with a moist environment.

Furthermore, they are cavity nesters If you want to host them at your place, you must have trees with larger limbs in the yard, provide them with good food and make them stay with you for long, especially from September to late October.

Black and White Woodpecker on a branch


Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

  • Weight: 2.0 to 3.2 ounces
  • Length: 9.4 inches
  • Wing-span: 13.0 to 16.5 inches

These are the most common seed woodpeckers of Florida as well as in Georgia and all of the Eastern United States. Although they have a hint of red on their heads, the red-bellies are not purely red. Even then, most people mix them with the red-headed woodpeckers.

The red-bellied woodpeckers are medium in size and are commonly seen on the feeds. You can easily attract them by providing comfortable suet in the yard. These types of woodpeckers prefer nesting in dead trees. You can also see them drinking nectar from hummingbird feeders. 

Hairy Woodpeckers

  • Weight: 1.4 to 3.4 ounces
  • Length: 7.1 to 10.2 inches
  • Wing-span: 13.0 to 16.1 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live up to 15 years
  • Favorite food: They like eating wood-boring and tree sap

Once again, you can easily find these woodpeckers across Florida around the year, aside from small areas in the south of Florida. 

These types of woodpeckers are larger as compared to other members of the family, specifically the Downy.

They also have a notably larger beak. Besides these few features, they are difficult to tell apart from the Downy woodpeckers in all ways. 

female hairy woodpecker


Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers

  • Weight: 1.5 to 1.8 ounces
  • Length: 7.9 to 9.1 inches
  • Wing-span: 14.2 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live up to 16 years
  • Favorite food: They like to eat eggs, nuts, insects, fruits, and seeds

You can find them all year round throughout Florida. Unfortunately, with many others, the red-cockaded woodpecker is also listed as endangered species. Its population is steeply declining, majorly because of habitat loss.

Setting up your yard and making it a welcoming place for these birds can be a good effort to secure these little creatures. Currently, due to a decreasing population, you can rarely see these birds in your backyard.

A national park or wildlife refuge is the best place to spot this type of woodpecker.

You can learn more about the red-cockaded woodpecker on the Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation commission website’s official page.


Pileated Woodpeckers

  • Weight: 8.8 to 12.3 ounces
  • Length: 15.8 to 12.3 inches
  • Wing-span: 26.0 to 29.5 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live up to 13 years
  • Favorite food: They like to eat nuts, fruits, and seeds 

They make the largest woodpecker population in Florida and North America. They are almost the size of a grown-up crow with long necks, red mo-hawks, and white stripes on either side of their shoulders.

These woodpeckers are hard to mix with other species unless it is the ivory-billed woodpecker. You can attract them to a suet feeder or logs stuffed with peanut butter or suet. This woodpecker lives and nests in larger trees.

These holes and drills also provide pileated woodpeckers with a secure nesting opportunity, along with many others that can’t excavate their nests.

Black woodpecker on a branch


Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers

  • Weight: 25.9 to 20.1 ounces
  • Length: 18.1 to 20.1 inches
  • Wing-span: 29.9 to 31.5 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live from 20 to 30 years
  • Favorite food: They like to eat fruits and insect larvae 
Unfortunately, these lovely beings are believed to be extinct now.

However, there is no official statement on the topic yet. The last sighting was in Cuba in the 1980s. Records show that they are similar to pileated but a bit bigger than that.

Technically these woodpeckers have (or used to have) a year-round range in the state even though no one has seen them in Florida in decades. However, there are still hopes because of the reported sighting in other parts of the country recently.

two ivory-billed


Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers

  • Weight: 1.5 to 1.9 ounces
  • Length: 7.1 to 8.7 inches
  • Wing-span: 13.4 you 15.8 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live from 7 years
  • Favorite food: They like to eat fruits, insect, and tree saps 

These woodpeckers have a non-breeding range in Florida and Southeastern US, Cuba, Central America, and the Bahamas. These woodpeckers migrate north Wisconsin and Canada yearly; hence are winter residents in Florida.

The best time to see them in Florida is in the winter months or late March to early April. They are not commonly found around bird feeders. The main source of food is sap. They love to drill holes in elm, maple, and birch, and aspen trees and collect the sap with their long tongues.

Besides sap, they rely on a wider range of insects.

Black and White woodpecker


Northern Flickers

  • Weight: 3.9 to 5.6 ounces
  • Length: 11.0 to 12.2 inches
  • Wing-span: 16.5 to 20.1 inches
  • Life expectancy: They can live up to 9 years
  • Favorite food: They like to eat fruits, insect, seeds, and nuts

They are widespread in North America, including Florida. In Florida, you can see them all year round. They stand among large-sized woodpeckers similar to hairy and pileated woodpeckers.

I find them, and most of you will agree, the most colorful of all types of woodpeckers. And I am not exaggerating by naming them as the most colorful birds in North America. Their vibrant personality and friendly nature alone are reasons enough to see them in your yard.

The northern flickers are much different from other members of the family. They hunt for food on the ground rather than in the trees. You will see them picking through the leaves and dirt, looking for insects. Trust me; they are great at doing so.

Northern Flicker on a branch


FAQ Section

What kind of woodpeckers are in Florida?

The red-cockaded woodpeckers are the most common ones you can come across in Florida. However, there are eight other species such as:

  • Downy woodpecker
  • Gila woodpecker
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Green woodpecker
  • Hairy woodpecker
  • Northern flicker
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-breasted sapsucker
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker 

What is the largest woodpecker in Florida?

The Pileated Woodpecker; 16-19 inches.

Look at a pileated woodpecker here:

Are there red-headed woodpeckers in Florida?

Yes.

Before we wrap things up, let me mention this:

Despite an abundance of woodpeckers in FL, you cannot find any of these birds in Madagascar, Australia, Antarctica, or New Zealand. (That’s a fact.)

A Final Word

Hopefully, the details of these woodpeckers in FL will inspire all bird lovers in Florida to scan the sights of nature in search of these feathery creatures. Those living outside Florida who wished to visit will now have one more reason to do so!

Woodpeckers are not picky; they will eat literally everything from insects to nuts and grains. If you plan on having them over, all you need to do is provide them with a clean, cozy, and secure habitat to visit, eat, and drink in your yard.

Watch the miracle of nature from a distance as you spend leisure time with your family and friends on a weekend in the wilderness, witnessing these beautiful creatures.

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