Red-bellied Woodpecker
Melanerpes carolinus

Photo courtesy Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida
Copyright (c) 2006 Pete Williams

Juvenile female having just been pushed from the nest
April 29, 2008

The Red-bellied Woodpecker has an overall body length of 8 to 10 inches. Look for a fine black and white barring pattern on the back; red nape; red crown (male); white patch near the end of the wings that is visible in flight. Its preferred habitat is forests, groves, orchards, farmlands, and suburbs.

This southern species is abundant and is now expanding its range to the north. The bird occasionally feeds on citrus, but it makes up for this by eating large quantities of destructive insects. It usuallly nests in a dead tree at the edge of a woodland area, frequently using the same hole year after year. The female usually lays four or five unspotted white eggs in a clutch. The name is misleading, as the red patch on its belly is very faint.

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