Red-headed Woodpecker

Species Profile: Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Learn more about this species in the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Introduction to the species

“With the exception of the mocking-bird, I know of no species so gay and frolicsome. Indeed their whole life is one of pleasure.”

J. Audubon 1840

With its fancy costume, gregarious chatter, and acrobatic flair, the Red-headed Woodpecker certainly seems to live a life of pleasure. Red-headed Woodpecker populations have fluctuated wildly over the last 200 years, peaking during successful crop years of the once-abundant northern beech forests and during invasions of the now-extinct Rocky Mountain grasshopper. Despite its relatively large range-wide population, the Red-headed now faces potentially serious local declines and is considered a high priority for conservation in 29 states and 3 provinces—more than any other North American woodpecker.

Gallery of photos of the Red-headed Woodpecker by Steve Shunk

Return to List of Species of North American Woodpeckers page.

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