Today we’ll look at the top 11 most fascinating and beautiful Woodpeckers in Louisiana:
Read to see AMAZING pictures and info about each one…
11 Types of Woodpeckers in Louisiana
You can find dozens of species of woodpeckers across the US, with 9 of those blossoming in the Pelican State of Louisiana as permanent residents.
Here’s the 11 types of Woodpeckers in Louisiana:
- Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
- Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
- Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)
- Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
- Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus various)
- Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
- Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Endangered Woodpeckers in Louisiana)
- Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Rarest Woodpeckers in Louisiana)
- The Hairy Woodpecker
- The Ladder-backed Woodpecker
- Williamson’s Sapsucker
Let’s talk about each one…
1. Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Common everywhere in Louisiana, the Red-headed Woodpecker has a distinctive crimson/red head, with black wings and patches of gray on the back. The tail is white with black bars. It’s about 8 inches, weighs 2 ounces, and has a wingspan of 14 inches.
Red-headed woodpeckers are aggressive birds with a habit of fighting other thrushes either for food or territory. They’re loud and love spending time in tall, old trees. You can attract them to your backyard by stashing your feeders with suet and other seeds.
2. Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Larger than other woodpeckers in Louisiana, the piliated woodpecker has a bright red crest on its head, a white neck, and a black body with white wing patches. It has a wingspan of 28 inches, weighs 10 ounces, and is about 17 inches.
Male pileated woodpeckers have a red mustache stripe, while the female has a black stripe. These woodpeckers can be found in mature forests, where it feeds on insects, nuts, and fruit.
They don’t frequent backyards like the downys or hairys but when they visit, they’ll not miss your suet feeder.
3. Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)
Unlike the pileated woodpecker, the downy woodpecker is a small bird with a white belly, a black upperpart, and black feathers with streaks of white patches. They are one of the most common woodpeckers in Louisiana and like frequenting backyards with suet feeders, sunflower seeds, and peanuts.
The downy woodpecker is about 7 inches, weighs 0.7 ounces, and has a wingspan of 10 inches. You can easily spot this small bird because it has a white stripe running down the center of its head.
The male has a red patch on the back of its head, while the female has a black patch. You can find them across the Pelican state in open fields and forests.
4. Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
It’s not uncommon for even avid birders to confuse the red-bellied woodpecker with the red-headed woodpecker. Both woodpeckers have red feathers on their head, but the red-bellied species have lighter red crests and patches of red on the top and back of their heads.
The red-bellied Woodpecker feeds on insects, nuts, and fruit, and is a common backyard bird in Louisiana. They live in this state and other Southeastern states all year round. You’re more likely to find them in forests replete with old trees than in open grasslands.
5. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus various)
Unlike most of these other woodpeckers who permanently live in Louisiana, the yellow-bellied woodpecker is a migratory species that spends summers in the northern states and winters in the southern states. It has a black and white barred back, a white breast, and a yellow belly.
As their name suggests, they mostly peck on trees and tap on their sap. They drill neat rows of small holes from which they extract sap from trees—maples and birches are their favorites. They also feed on insects and fruits and are occasional backyard revelers.
6. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Another peculiar woodpecker is the Northern Flicker. Scattered across North America and Louisiana, this woodpecker hammer on the soil and hunt for food on the ground instead of scavenging insects, nuts, and fruits on trees.
The northern flicker is larger than the hairy woodpecker, but smaller than the pileated woodpecker. It has a brown back, a white breast, and a black bib. The wings and tail are barred with black and white, and the underwings are yellow.
While northern flickers stay in Louisiana all year round, those in the northern parts of the Pelican state migrate south as winter approaches.
7. Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Endangered Woodpeckers in Louisiana)
The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is an endangered species of woodpecker. It’s the third largest species of woodpecker in the world and you can identify it by its black body, white wing patches, and a red crest on its head.
This woodpecker was common in the 1800s in Cuba and the southern states of the US before it disappeared in the 20th century because of habitat change and overhunting. Then it was rediscovered in the “Big Woods” area of eastern Arkansas in 2004. Other sightings were made in Louisiana, but none is sure if it was an ivory-billed or pileated woodpecker.
8. Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Rarest Woodpeckers in Louisiana)
The red-cockaded woodpecker (Leuconotopicus borealis) loves old pine forests, but it’s a rare find in Louisiana.
They’re confined to some areas in northwestern and eastern Louisiana and stay in these regions throughout the year.
Their populations were decimated to about only 15,000 birds because of logging.
You can’t find them in your backyard and the best place to see them is a wild refuge. Always bring your scope while birdwatching in Louisiana, as you may only see these woodpeckers once in a while.
The hairy woodpecker is another rare woodpecker in the Pelican State. They prefer visiting forests charred by fire as they can get abundant food.
9. The Hairy Woodpecker
The Hairy Woodpecker is a common sight in Louisiana, and is known for its distinctive black and white plumage.
They are often found in forested areas and can be identified by their distinctive “peek” calls.
These birds are known to eat insects, berries, and seeds.
One interesting fact about the Hairy Woodpecker is that they have a long, barbed tongue that they use to extract insects from tree bark.
They are also known for their drumming behavior, where they peck on trees to communicate with other birds and establish territory.
10. The Ladder-backed Woodpecker
The Ladder-backed Woodpecker is a small, compact bird that is commonly found in Louisiana.
They are known for their distinctive ladder-like pattern on their backs, which is how they get their name.
These birds prefer desert and scrubland environments, and are known for their distinctive calls, which sound like a high-pitched “kweek.”
One interesting fact about the Ladder-backed Woodpecker is that they have a unique way of foraging for food.
They often climb up cacti and use their beaks to extract insects and other small animals from the plants.
11. Williamson’s Sapsucker
Williamson’s Sapsucker is a rare sight in Louisiana, but can be found in certain areas of the state.
They are known for their distinctive black and white plumage, with a bright red patch on the males’ throats. These birds prefer forested areas and are known for their distinctive calls, which sound like a soft “mewing.”
One interesting fact about Williamson’s Sapsucker is that they feed on sap from trees, as well as insects.
They often drill small holes in trees to access the sap, which attracts other birds and insects to the area.
Louisiana’s Woodpeckers: The Biggest, Most Common, and Rarest Species
Louisiana is home to several species of woodpeckers, ranging in size and rarity. In this article, we will take a closer look at the biggest woodpecker in Louisiana, as well as the most common and rarest species found in the state.
What is the biggest woodpecker in Louisiana?
The biggest woodpecker species found in Louisiana is the Pileated Woodpecker.
These birds are easily recognizable by their striking black and white plumage and distinctive red crest.
They are the largest woodpecker species found in North America, measuring up to 19 inches in length and having a wingspan of up to 30 inches.
They are often found in mature forests and can be heard making a distinctive, loud drumming sound.
Most common woodpecker in Louisiana
The most common woodpecker species found in Louisiana is the Red-bellied Woodpecker.
These birds are medium-sized and have a red crown and nape, but a brownish-red belly.
They are known for their distinctive “churr” calls and can often be seen clinging to the sides of trees.
Rarest woodpecker in Louisiana
The rarest woodpecker species found in Louisiana is the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
These birds are listed as a federally endangered species and are only found in mature pine forests in certain parts of the state.
They are small and have distinctive black and white striped backs and small, red caps. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these birds and their habitat.
FAQs About Woodpeckers In Louisiana
Are Woodpeckers in Louisiana?
Yes, woodpeckers are found in Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana is home to several different species of woodpeckers, including the Hairy Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Williamson’s Sapsucker.
What kind of Woodpeckers live in Louisiana?
There are several species of woodpeckers that live in Louisiana, including the Hairy Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, and the Pileated Woodpecker.
What is the big woodpecker in Louisiana?
The big woodpecker in Louisiana is the Pileated Woodpecker. They are the largest woodpecker species found in North America and can be easily recognized by their striking black and white plumage and distinctive red crest.
What is the protected woodpecker in Louisiana?
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a protected species in Louisiana. These woodpeckers are found in mature pine forests and are known for their distinctive black and white striped backs and small, red caps.
What type of red headed woodpeckers are in Louisiana?
There are two types of red-headed woodpeckers that can be found in Louisiana: the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Red-bellied Woodpecker. The Red-headed Woodpecker is a medium-sized bird with a bright red head and white underparts, while the Red-bellied Woodpecker has a red crown and nape, but a brownish-red belly.
Are there pileated woodpeckers in Louisiana?
Yes, Pileated Woodpeckers can be found in Louisiana. These large, striking birds are often found in mature forests and are known for their distinctive call and impressive drumming behavior.
What is a brown bird with a red head in Louisiana?
The bird you are likely referring to is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. While they have a red crown and nape, their bellies are a brownish-red color. They are a common sight in Louisiana and are known for their distinctive “churr” calls.
What small bird has a red head in Louisiana?
The small bird with a red head in Louisiana is likely the Red-headed Woodpecker. These birds are medium-sized and have bright red heads and white underparts. They are known for their acrobatic foraging behavior and can often be seen clinging to the sides of trees.
Final Thoughts: Woodpeckers In Louisiana
Woodpeckers are fascinating creatures that play an important role in Louisiana’s ecosystem.
Whether you are a bird enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, these birds are definitely worth learning more about.
From the Hairy Woodpecker’s barbed tongue to the Ladder-backed Woodpecker’s unique foraging habits, there is no shortage of interesting facts about these birds.
So, the next time you’re out in nature, keep an eye out for these amazing creatures and see if you can spot one of Louisiana’s three most common woodpecker species.