List of Woodpeckers: The Many Woodpecker Varieties of the US
There are hundreds and thousands of different animal species found in nature, all unique and individual, playing specific and important roles in our numerous ecosystems. Within these species of animals, there are also many subspecies, similar to what we experience in cousins. Animals range in all different colors, sizes, and shapes and are also found in different parts of the world depending on their habitat needs. This is the same for woodpeckers, a small animal that we often don’t even acknowledge. There are actually many different types of woodpeckers that all possess similar but very different qualities.
How Many Species of Woodpeckers Are There?
There are many types of woodpecker species, over two hundred to be exact. The United States alone is home to 23 of these species, which cover nearly the entire country. Woodpeckers are bird species that range from small to large. They are an arboreal bird that taps on trunks to forage insects as their prey, hence how they got their unique name. They can be found in nearly every country in the world apart from New Guinea and Australia. Woodpeckers are extremely important for our environment as they actually keep the trees clean and healthy by removing insects and pests. Some woodpecker species even communicate with each other by tapping on trees in specific rhythms and tempos. This tapping action is done between 8000 to 12000 times a day. They also don’t travel as a group and prefer to act on their own accord. Most woodpecker species have three toes but differ in both size and color.
The Different Kinds of Woodpeckers
To help you learn more about the different types of woodpeckers you can expect to find in the United States, here is a list of woodpeckers, where they live as well as their unique characteristics, colors, and sizes.
The acorn woodpecker is a common woodpecker species and can be found in both Canada and the United States. There is an estimated population of about 2,000,000 Acorn Woodpeckers and their population is only increasing. They are a western woodpecker and are most commonly found in forests that contain a large number of oak trees.
Just like their name Acorn Woodpeckers are most known for their ability to collect and store huge amounts of acorns especially during the fall season, they do this by drilling into the sides of “granary” trees which can house up to 50,000 acorns at a given time. Although their population is increasing this red, black, white woodpecker still faces some threats which include habitat loss, other bird species, and hunting.
American Tree-toed Woodpecker
The American tree-Toed Woodpecker has an estimated population of around 1,400,000 however unlike the Acorn Woodpecker their population is on the decline. They are small woodpeckers that can be found in boreal and mountain forests. They are a little bit different from most other woodpeckers they only have 2 toes which allow them to stand and lean further away from the tree, giving them a more forceful strike. They are also facing many threats which include forest fragmentation, food resources decline, and fire suppression.
This classification of woodpecker is one of the smallest in the world and only has a population of around 5,000 making them extremely rare and also extremely vulnerable. They are both Arizona and New Mexico Woodpeckers that are colored wood brown and black spotted. They can be found foraging in pine-oak forests and tend to fly into the base of the tree to collect their insect prey. These species are facing severe threats and are considered to be endangered due to their 25 percent population decline.
These black and white woodpeckers have a population of around 1,800,000 and are on an increasing trend. They can be found in both boreal and mountain forests and prefer to live in burned forests where they forage wood-boring beetle larvae. Their dark black back that gives them their special name is a great camouflage tool and allows them to stay safe from their many predators. Like all other woodpeckers, they are also facing threats including habitat loss, fire suppression, and logging.
The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker in the United States and is black and white with a red crown, which sets it apart from its cousins. It has one of the largest populations of all woodpeckers with about 13,000,000 left in the wild with an increasing trend. They can be found in the Eastern and Western Forests and use their size to reach food sources and make themselves invisible to insects and larger birds. They can be found in woodlands, amongst deciduous trees as well as in-home orchids, public parks, and even backyards.
This golden crested woodpecker is one of the most beautiful species. It can be found in the desert scrub and has a decreasing population of around 430,000. These California woodpecker species do not nest in dead trees and instead choose to raise their young in living cacti. They are currently experiencing some deadly threats including habitat loss and the increase of invasive bird species such as the European Starling.
The gilded flicker is also a desert scrub woodpecker species that is too experiencing a population decline due to habitat loss and wildfires. Their population is about 240,000 and is currently on the yellow list for endangered species.
Golden — Fronted Woodpecker
These American woodpeckers can mainly be found in New Mexico and parts of Central America. These woodpeckers in central Texas have a declining population of around 820,000 due to an increase in pesticides and habitat loss. They can be found in woodlands and tropical forests, foraging in their plain brown color and black and white back.
Another robust woodpecker species is the Hairy Woodpecker, which can be found in both eastern and western forests. They have a large and increasing population of about 8,500,000 and benefit from working together with other woodpecker species.
This gray woodpecker species can be found in the Eastern forests of the United States. They are very rare woodpeckers and are only citing a couple of times in a year. However, they have not been seen for many years and there is a chance that they have already become extinct, however not much is known about their whereabouts.
Ladder — Backed Woodpecker
This beautiful red crown woodpecker is found in both desert scrubs and open forests in the US. They have a very stable population of around 2.100,000 and are formerly known as the “cactus woodpecker”. They can be found in both Texas and California and thrive mostly in very dry habitats.
Lewis’s woodpecker is very different from many of the other woodpecker species as they do not bore in trees and choose to catch insects in the open air. They are most commonly found in Dry and open western forests but are experiencing a severe population decline due to fire suppression, grazing, logging, and of course climate change.
These North texas woodpeckers are found in both eastern and western forests and have a decreasing population of about 9,900,000. Their diet consists primarily of ants, which they use their peckers to dig out of the ground. They are quick and snatching prey and have barbed tongues to help the process.
These woodpeckers of the northeast are found in oak and riparian forests where they have an insect-based diet of beetles m termites and ants. They have an increasing population of 650,000 and are primarily found in the state of California.
This species is the biggest woodpecker in North America and is found in both eastern and northwestern forests. They are very powerful and strong and have been known to break trees in half while foraging for food.
These eastern forest types of woodpeckers in pa are cavity nesters. They have a large and increasing population of 15,000,000 and are beautiful to look at.
These woodpecker species have a population of around 2,300,000 and are found in western forests where they feed on sap trees. They are very important as they also help hummingbirds find additional food sources.
The Red-cockaded species is a small woodpecker that is found in Longleaf Pine Forests. They are different from other species and prefer to live in family groups.
The red-headed woodpecker endangered due to altered forest composition and a decrease in food supplies. They can be found in eastern forests and eat fruit and catch insects for food.
This red-crested woodpecker is found in western forests and has an increasing population of 2,000,000.
They are found in western pine forests and find their prey by peeling away tree bark instead of hammering it.
These woodpecker varieties are found in western forests and have a vast color difference in male and female species, which often confused scientists, making them think that they were two completely different species.
These woodpecker species are found in eastern forests in North America and migrate during the winter months.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, you have now learned more than just what color is a woodpecker and have a better understanding of the different types of species you can see in the US. Each woodpecker species is unique and important for playing a specific role in keeping our ecosystems healthy and thriving.
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