Woodpeckers are curious little creatures, and watching them go about their day can be so much fun. Luckily, 22 species of woodpeckers thrive in the US, seven of which can be seen in Indiana alone.
So, are you ready to get more familiar with these distinctive birds?
In this article, we’ll offer you some basic information about the seven woodpecker species in Indiana. We’ll discuss their appearance, behavior, where they can be found, and which time of the year you’re more likely to see them.
Let’s dive in!
- Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
- Length: 4 inches
- Weight: 2-3.2 ounces
- Wingspan: 13-16.5 inches
The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is one of the most notable birds in Indiana, and the good news is that you can see it all year round.
It has a red coloring on its belly, hence its name. Yet, this woodpecker is mostly distinguishable by its black-and-white barred wings and red coloring down its neck. Since this bird is often seen up against a tree or feeding from a feeder, it might be hard to notice its red belly at a first glance.
Wondering where you can find this woodpecker? This bird mostly resides in wooded areas, which makes attracting it to your yard quite easy if you live near the forest. All you’ll have to do is fill your bird feeder with suet, peanuts, or even sunflower seeds.
Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are bark-foragers. They use their sharp beaks and sticky tongues to catch insects inside trees. Later, they tend to store their prey in barks of dead trees, where they also prefer to nest.
- Scientific name: Picoides pubescens
- Length: 5-6.7 inches
- Weight: 7-1 ounce
- Wingspan: 8-11.8 inches
The Downy is the smallest type of woodpecker in the US, and it’s pretty common in Indiana all year. Even better, you can spot it almost anywhere in this state because it doesn’t migrate. In fact, it’s seen more frequently in winter.
The Downy Woodpecker is known for its straight black bill, blocky head, and upright posture. Also, it’s quite easy to recognize it because it has a white belly and black-and-white wings.
Just like Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downys nest in dead trees where they use their sharp beaks to create cavities in the bark. These unique birds also feed on insect larvae, berries, and acorns. Better yet, you can sometimes find them drinking nectar from a hummingbird feeder.
You can always succeed in drawing Downys to your yard by filling your feeder with its favorite food. This includes mixed seed, sunflower seed, or suet.
- Scientific name: Leuconotopicus villosus
- Length: 1-10.2 inches
- Weight: 4-3.4 ounces
- Wingspan: 13-16.1 inches
Often mistaken for a Downy Woodpecker, the Hairy Woodpecker is also another bird that you can find roaming around the state of Indiana. However, the Hairy Woodpecker is a bit larger in size, which can be the only point you can use to tell these two woodpeckers apart.
The Hairy Woodpecker coloring is usually black-and-white, not to mention that it has a red spot on the back of its head. Yet, a Hairy Woodpecker’s beak is slightly longer than that of a Downy, so you may want to look more closely to catch this difference.
Hairy Woodpeckers behave similarly to Downys as well. They’re available for you to see all year round in Indiana and the majority of the United States. In addition, Hairy Woodpeckers reside in dead trees where they stockpile their food.
The Hairy Woodpecker is often found on tree trunks or main branches. It catches insects from the bases of trees, fallen logs, and even the ground sometimes.
Attracting these birds is pretty simple because they can’t resist nuts, seeds, and suet. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a bunch of Downys and Hairy Woodpeckers hovering over your bird feeder soon enough!
- Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Length: 5-9.1 inches
- Weight: 2-3.2 ounces
- Wingspan: 5 inches
The Red-Headed Woodpecker is an attractive bird that quickly draws the eye. But unfortunately, it may not frequent bird feeders as much as the previous birds on the list. Yet, the Red-Headed Woodpecker can be witnessed in Indiana at any time of the year.
This unique woodpecker is best known for its bright red head and black-and-white body. Its body is also slim and lean. Therefore, it’s quite easy to tell it apart from other woodpecker species in Indiana.
The Red-Headed woodpecker mostly feeds on insects, berries, and seeds. It doesn’t only search for bugs in the bark of trees, but it’s also an expert in catching flies from the air. After this woodpecker captures its prey, the bird stores its prize in tree cavities for later.
However, Red-Headed woodpeckers are now near threatened since their numbers keep going down. This is why it’s becoming rare to see them. Still, you may get the honor of one of these birds visiting your bird feeder if you offer it some of its favorite treats.
- Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Length: 11-12.2 inches
- Weight: 9-5.6 ounces
- Wingspan: 5-20.1 inches
Northern Flickers are medium-sized birds of the woodpecker family. They’re famous for their colorful appearance, and they are common in Indiana no matter what season it is. They have spotted underbellies, red coloring on the back of their necks, and shades of yellow on their tails.
While Northern Flickers peck tree barks occasionally, they much prefer to catch insects from the ground. These birds use their sharp, pointy beaks and long tongues to sift through the leaves and dirt and feed on ants.
Besides ants, Northern Flickers eat other types of invertebrates, seeds, berries, and thistle. So, you may be able to attract these birds to your backyard without even intending to. Still, it’s always a good idea to fill your bird feeder with sunflower seeds as well.
A Northern Flicker usually makes a home of old and rotten trees. So, you can often see it perched on a tree branch instead of leaning against the trunk just like most woodpeckers. It likes open habitats such as:
- Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus
- Length: 8-19.3 inches
- Weight: 8-12.3 ounces
- Wingspan: 26-29.5 inches
The Pileated Woodpecker is another easily distinguishable bird that you can spot in the state of Indiana. It’s a year-round resident, yet, it’s less common in the northeastern part of Indiana. With its eye-catching coloring and sleek body, you’ll likely want to see it in its natural habitat.
What makes this bird infinitely remarkable is its flaming red crest. Besides that, the Pileated Woodpecker has a black body with white stripes along its face and neck. When this woodpecker extends its large wings, you’ll notice that it has white underwings as well.
If you hope to attract this bird to your yard, you may want to fill your feeder with suet to get a chance to witness it. Yet, we don’t promise you much since it can be hard to attract a Pileated Woodpecker. This bird can be picky sometimes!
The Pileated Woodpecker prefers to feed on carpenter ants, but it can still consume beetle larvae, termites, fruits, and nuts. It likes to stay in dead or dying trees, where they can drill large holes with their beaks to nest inside.
- Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
- Length: 1-8.7 inches
- Weight: 5-1.9 ounces
- Wingspan: 4-15.8 inches
The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is almost the same size as an American Robin. Better yet, you can find this bird anywhere in Indiana, yet, in winter, it moves to southern Indiana. When winter is over, these birds migrate to northern states like Michigan or to Canada to breed.
These woodpeckers have a noteworthy appearance. They have black-and-white bodies, red coloring on their heads, and traces of yellow on their chests. They also have strong, black bills that help them drill holes in trees.
Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers can be usually seen on tree branches searching for insects to feed on. They favor maple and birch trees, drilling holes in them and extending their tongues inside to take in some tree sap.
While these woodpeckers aren’t die-hard fans of bird feeders, you may still be able to attract a couple to your yard. Just place a suet feeder outdoors, and you might be lucky enough to draw one or two birds to marvel at their beautiful looks.
To Wrap It Up
There are seven species of woodpeckers in Indiana. And if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to witness them all. Yet, the best thing about these birds is that they’re year-round residents of the state.
By placing some of their favorite delicious treats in your bird feeder, catching a glance of one or two woodpeckers could be easier. Eventually, your yard can be a safe haven for all these beautiful creatures.