The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker species that is native to the southeastern region of the United States. It measures approximately 9 inches in length and weighs between 1.5 to 2 ounces. This bird is easily recognizable by its distinctive red head and neck, which are bordered by a black cap that covers its forehead. The back, wings, and tail are black, while the underparts are white with a wash of light pink on the breast and belly.
One of the most distinctive field marks of the Red-bellied Woodpecker is the distinctive red cap on its head, which is bordered by black. The red coloration on the head and neck can be more pronounced in males, while females have less red and more white on the head. The black and white barring on the wings is another field mark that helps to identify this species, as is the white rump and the white outer tail feathers. The bill is chisel-shaped and is used to excavate holes in trees in search of insects, as well as to drum for territorial and mating displays.
Despite its name, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is not known for its red belly, but rather for the red on its head and neck. This bird is non-migratory, meaning that it stays in its range year-round and does not travel long distances. However, it may make some local movements in response to food availability or other environmental factors. During the breeding season, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is known for its drumming display, which is used to attract a mate and establish territory.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker primarily feeds on insects, such as ants, bees, and beetles, which it captures by chiseling into tree bark or searching among leaves. It also feeds on fruits, nuts, and seeds, and will occasionally feed on small mammals, such as squirrels. In addition to foraging for food, this species also excavates cavities in trees for nesting. These cavities are also used by other birds, such as Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows, providing important habitat for these species.
In conclusion, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is a distinctive and well-known bird species that is easily recognizable by its red head and neck and black and white body. This bird is non-migratory and is found in the southeastern United States year-round, where it feeds on insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is an important species for the ecosystem, providing habitat for other bird species and helping to control insect populations.