Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

Red-bellied Woodpecker

[order] PICIFORMES | [family] Picidae | [latin] Melanerpes carolinus | [UK] Red-bellied Woodpecker | [FR] Pic de Caroline | [DE] Carolinaspecht | [ES] Carpinterito de Carolina | [NL] Roodbuikspecht


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Azebra-backed woodpecker with ared cap, white rump. Red covers the crown and nape in male, only the nape in female. Juvenile is also zebra-backed but has a brown head, devoid of red.

Listen to the sound of Red-bellied Woodpecker

[audio: Woodpecker.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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North America : East, Central, Southeast USA


Woodlands, groves, orchards, town
Most common in deciduous forest, especially along rivers and in swamps. Also in mixed coniferous and deciduous forest, less often in pure stands of pine. May be found in rather open areas, such as forest edges and clearings, groves of trees in farm count
ry, shade trees in suburbs.


Uses many displays in defending territory, including spreading wings, slow floating flight, and raising head feathers. Bowing motions may be used in aggression or courtship.
b Nest:
Site is in cavity excavated in dead wood (tree, pole, fence post, or stump), usually less than 50′ above ground but can be as high as 120′. Male may begin excavating several holes, with female selecting which one is completed and used. Also may use na
tural cavity or nest box. No nest material other than wood chips in cavity.
b Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-8. White. Incubation is by both sexes (with male incubating at night and part of day), 12-14 days.
b Young: Are fed by both parents, and leave the nest about 22-27 days after hatching. Parents may continue to feed young for 6 weeks or more after they leave nest. 1 brood per year in north, 2-3 in south.

Feeding habits

Like most woodpeckers, eats many insects. Diet may be more than 50 percent plant material in some seasons, including acorns and other nuts, wild and cultivated fruits, seeds. Occasional items in diet include tree frogs, eggs of small birds, oozing sap, a
nd even small fish.
b Behavior: Forages by searching for insects on tree trunks and major limbs. Climbs and perches among branches to pick berries and nuts, and sometimes catches flying insects in the air. Nuts and see
ds taken in fall may be stored in bark crevices, eaten during winter.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Red-bellied Woodpecker status Least Concern


Eastern United States, resident locally west to central and northern Texas, western Oklahoma, southern Colorado. b Migration:
Not truly migratory, wintering throughout its range. Some wander north in fall and remain through winter. Performs local movements, concentrating in areas of good food supply outside the breeding season.

Distribution map

Red-bellied Woodpecker distribution range map

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