Sunday, July 13, 2008

Woodpeckers in The Woodlands Texas

There are three species seen here in The Woodlands, and they all have red heads! If you are not careful, you may call them all Red-Headed Woodpeckers, but only one is. The true Red-Headed Woodpecker has clean crispy black and white markings and a large red area on the head, whereas the Red-Bellied Woodpecker has a smaller reddish area on its head and belly, and black and white checkered-like markings on the wings. The Pileated has a crest on his head as evidenced by the photo below. I have included a photograph I took of the Red-Bellied species. I keep seeing the Red-Headed Woodpecker but have no photograph to show you yet. The two birds are exactly the same size, about 9 inches long. Another red-head here is the Pileated Woodpecker (photo below). These are larger, about the size of one of our local Crows.
Backyard Birds 7-8-08-2

If you hear an annoying tapping noise on the roof resembling a hammer hitting metal, don't fret; it is only a male woodpecker establishing its territory. Similar to several types of birds which are territorial, the Red-Headed, Red-Bellied and Pileated varieties can make their point known for an entire block! There is nothing like a 6AM wake up notice from the local male woodpecker.

A reader provided this photograph of the Pileated Woodpecker.
One of these days, I will take a photograph of the smaller Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, which is on the endangered list and makes his home in this area. He is about one inch shorter than the other two. His red markings are much smaller. There are few places he is seen, so I would not expect to see one here inside of The Woodlands. More likely, we would see one in the protected Jones Forest or on Spring Creek.
Red Headed Woodpecker submitted by Lisa Griffis

The Red Headed Woodpecker is spectacular but is a bit more shy to people than some of the other sister species. There is no doubt what species it is when you see it in the forest!

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy is a popular small backyard woodpecker that likes to regularly feed from a hanging suet feeder. I had a family of  four in my backyard all summer and can't say how much I enjoyed them!


  1. Woodpeckers of the East Texas Piney Woods by Texas Parks and Wildlife
  2. Cornell Lab of Ornithology


  • Pileated Woodpecker photograph courtesy of Nelda Blair
  • Red Headed Woodpecker photograph by Lisa Griff


nelda said...

At this writing, I am looking out my kitchen window at a beautiful Red-Headed Woodpecker who visits our bird feeder daily. We get Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, too. We also have a fabulous, huge male Pileated Woodpecker attacking his image in our bay window. He is magnificent, but elusive. I have a not-very-good photo which is the best I can do with this guy, if someone can tell me how to post it.
Ms Nel

Inquisitive Minds want 2 Kno said...

Posting a picture on the web is a relatively simple process, given that you have a site, or access to a site with the appropriate permissions. has some good information on resizing a picture as digital camera pics are generally quite large.

indianspringsguy said...
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