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Georgia Woodpecker: 8 Species Out Woodpeckers To Look Out For

The species of woodpeckers in Georgia are pretty diverse, there are many instances where an average individual could not even tell the difference. For the sake of simplification, here are the woodpecker species one can find in Georgia:

  1. Downy Woodpecker
  2. Hairy Woodpecker
  3. Northern Flicker
  4. Pileated Woodpecker
  5. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  6. Red-headed Woodpecker
  7. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
  8. Red cockaded Woodpecker

There are many wonderful bird species that an individual can observe in Northern America, one particularly endearing one is the woodpeckers in Georgia. This is no wonder since as much as 39.5% of the state is considered forested.

That will be the point of this article, we will be talking about the number of woodpecker species one can find in Georgia which is one of the best places for woodpecker sightings. Keep on reading if you are interested.

Downy Woodpecker

The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker species in North America and has a lot of similarities with the hairy woodpecker, there are a bunch of them in Georgia. Like the hairy woodpecker, it is known for its black and white coloration.

The biggest difference is that its upper body does not have black as the dominant color, the actual darkness of the black is also not to the highest point (more like light black). Its belly and throat have a noticeable white coloration to complement the black upper body.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker

The top of its head is made of interchanging white and black (sort of looking like a parallel line) that is good for the bird’s aesthetic. Some species have a glint of red color on the top of their head giving a tri-color visual experience.

Its wings are mostly black similar to the rest of its upper body, however, it has glittered with spots of white in which the number can vary from individual to individual. Some will have white spots on the wings that are noticeable and some would be more subtle since there’s not a lot present.

Downy woodpeckers build their nest in a tree cavity dug out of a dead tree or limb by the nesting pair. They roost in tree cavities during the winter. They will search the bark surface of trees in the summer and burrow deeper in the winter.

Hairy Woodpecker

The hairy woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker species that is found all over North America, but most notably in Georgia. This particular species is listed as of “least concern” since there is a healthy population in the present.

Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

The coloration of this bird is typically separated into two parts, one that is black on the upper part of the body and one that is white on the lower side. It creates a sort of yin and yang relationship (black and white) for common observers.

Depending on the subspecies, the white part can be of sooty brown coloration which is still fascinating to look at since the two colors compliment each other. There are usually white spots at the dark part of the body.

There are some subspecies that have a white bar running above the eye (or below the eye) which further enhances the relationship of the two colors. Apart from this most species have a black tail with white coloration at the tip.

Expert Tip: The hairy woodpecker is often confused as the downy woodpecker due to their picture-perfect similarity in plumage, there are also other features that are similar to the downy woodpecker. They are not closely related to each other and are separated in their genera.

Northern Flicker

The northern flicker is a medium-sized species of woodpecker native to North America. It is one of the rare species of woodpecker that are able to migrate. It is mainly characterized by its overly brownish color.

The majority of its body has the color of brown running from its head, throat, tail underside, and belly, basically all its undersides are wood-like brown when it comes to the coloration. The only exception would be the wings. The wings do have brown as their color but are not the most dominant one.

 Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker

Instead, the one that is taking the majority of the space would be the black spots that are common in this species. The brown is minimal on the wings and the tail, the upside is mostly black. Its flight is undulating, like that of many woodpeckers. A roller-coaster effect is created by the repeating cycle of a rapid succession of flaps followed by a halt.

Northern Flickers can be found among trees in open settings such as forests, edges, yards, and parks. They prefer to dig their own nest, but they will reuse and repair damaged or abandoned ones. Other cavity nesters benefit from abandoned northern flicker nests. A mated pair takes about 1 to 2 weeks to build the nest.

Pileated Woodpecker

The pileated woodpecker is a significantly larger species compared to that of the hairy woodpecker, it is mostly black with a line of white that is barely noticeable. This woodpecker species is native to North America.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

The most noticeable feature of this woodpecker species (other than its body of almost pure black) is its red crest perched on the top of its head with a suspiciously consistent shape. It is probably the selling point of this bird.

Being one of the largest woodpecker species in North America, it also has one of the biggest fan bases since a lot of people like this bird. A white line cuts the middle of the body in pure black, giving an interesting color combination. In-flight, their wings also show the color of white under their wingspan that has a black color on the top side.

Their favorite meals are carpenter ants and beetle larvae. Occasionally they also eat a lot of fruits including nuts, berries, and some species of poison ivy (berry), their favorite food among all was probably ants.

Expert Tip: Pileated Woodpeckers are known for making rectangular-shaped holes in trees when searching for their favorite food (ants).

Red-bellied Woodpecker

When talking about the woodpeckers in Georgia the red-bellied woodpecker might be the weirdest one you can see. Based on its name you might imagine a bird that has its belly primarily painted with red. This is actually not the case for this bird.

It does have a faint coloration of red around its belly area but this is not the primary feature of this woodpecker, the red coloration can mostly be seen from the back of its head. The red color on its belly is rarely seen during flight since it can be hidden.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

The majority of its chest and belly area is actually of the color white or gray (depending on the subspecies) which makes it not as interesting as the other woodpeckers. However, due to its red color (on the weirdest areas), it makes the woodpecker pretty unique.

The wings are made of interchanging black and white that hosts patterns seen in some butterflies, this is a majestic view during flight since the parallel color improves the aesthetic quality from the ground. The red belly is hidden though.

This makes it quite hard to identify the red-bellied woodpecker since you have to actually look at the red belly (which is most faint in color and sometimes hidden), it doesn’t look as unique without seeing the red belly. They are also known as noisy woodpeckers due to their constant chirping.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Among all the woodpeckers in Georgia, this is the most straightforward one. The primary feature of this woodpecker is its redhead that is crimson glowing in the normal view. The blood-like redhead is the main feature that is used to identify this woodpecker.

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker

The red coloration extends up to its neck but not all the way to the body, its chest is mostly white (depending on the subspecies) which constitutes its underside during flight. Its main body is mostly made of white among all colors.

The wings are also straightforward, it is distributed evenly from the midsection with black making up most of its upper wing and white on most of its lower wing. The tip is purely made of black making a tri-color combination.

Expert Tip: Male and female adults of this species are identical in plumage, they pretty much look the same no matter the gender.

When it comes to eating habits they are pretty direct, they catch insects mid-air (or on the land) and forage for nuts when the times are tough.

They occasionally eat small rodents that are too weak to defend themselves and even scavenge for lonely eggs of other woodpecker species, they are omnivorous though, and can choose to eat plants and fruits.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is famous for its belly that is partly yellow (not pure yellow) which can be easily identified on the underside during flight. The interesting thing about it is the belly does not actually have a yellow color, instead, it is brushed in some of its feathers.

The actual color of the body is actually mostly white (with little strips of black) and only appears to be yellow due to the feathers that have the yellow coloration. In some subspecies, there is no yellow coloration at all. The yellow coloration can be found on the chest (and not the belly).

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

It has an interesting red coloration running on the top and under its bill which can be used to tag the bird, this is actually the feature that some of the observers use to identify the woodpecker. It has a circle of black running on its neck in contrast to the color of the body.

The wings are kinda mixed, there are colors of black, white, and even yellow on some subspecies. It creates a pattern on the wing that is similar to a common commercial linen design that makes the wing attractive to the eye.

It is a medium-sized woodpecker that mostly gathers its food alone (usually composed of insects, tree sap, fruits, or nuts) but can band together during the winter. Its favorite meals though are undeniably beetles and certain species of ants.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Among all of the woodpeckers in Georgia, this might be the most exclusive one since the other woodpeckers can also be seen in the other states (of course this woodpecker is present all over North America, but is quite rare). It is a local woodpecker.

It is obviously called the red-cockaded woodpecker due to the very small stint of red near where the brain is located, this makes it a very stylish woodpecker. However, this “red-cockade” is so small it is barely noticeable.

Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpecker

The main colors that compose this bird are black and white, it is scattered throughout its entire body with different combinations which makes a unique pattern. The underside is mostly covered in white or even gray in some subspecies.

The wing is mostly made of black but will have spotted white on different sections, during flight the wing is the most noticeable on this woodpecker. Its head is also made of white and black just as the same as the wing.

The red-cockaded woodpecker eats ants, beetles, cockroaches, caterpillars, wood-boring insects, and spiders, as well as fruit and berries on occasion.

Expert Tip: Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are territorial, nonmigratory, cooperative breeding species that often pair up for several years.


There are a total of 8 woodpecker species that one can meet in the state of Georgia, they are typically hanging out in the woodlands in order to find food in form of insects and fruits. They have a shared quality. Most of them will have a black upside (a certain species with brown) and white patterns/spots scattered throughout their body.

If you have any questions that are not discussed in the article, feel free to leave a comment below and it can be answered. It will also spark a social interaction among interested individuals that may fit your woodpecker interest.

To recap, there are a total of eight woodpeckers in Georgia, which includes the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, and Red-cockaded Woodpecker, that is all. Thank you for reading.

About Rencel Leyran