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Washington State Woodpeckers: 12 Species Of Woodpeckers To Look Out For

There are many wonderful bird species that an individual can observe in northern America, one particularly endearing one is the woodpeckers in Washington Texas. This is no wonder since as much as 52.74% 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 Washington Texas which is one of the best places for woodpecker spots. Keep reading if you are interested.

12 Species Of Woodpeckers in Washington, Texas

The species of woodpeckers in Washington 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 the Washington district:

  1. Hairy Woodpecker
  2. Pileated Woodpecker
  3. Red-naped Sapsucker
  4. Downy Woodpecker
  5. White-headed Woodpecker
  6. Northern Flicker
  7. Red-breasted Sapsucker
  8. Black-backed Woodpecker
  9. American three-toed Woodpecker
  10. Williamson’s sapsucker
  11. Lewis’s Woodpecker
  12. Acorn Woodpecker

1. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

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

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.

2. Pileated Woodpecker

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.

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. They are known for making rectangular-shaped holes in trees when searching for their favorite food (ants).

3. Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsucker
Red-naped Sapsucker

As the name suggests, the Red-naped sapsucker has the biggest selling point on top of its head, a crimson red coloration that is eerily similar to the color of blood. This species is not as common in Washington Texas (although is listed as a “least concern”).

It has a black back and tail that is most commonly seen with other woodpecker species, its belly and throat are mostly covered with white making a tri-color combo. This combination of black, white, and crimson red are fascinating.

The upper side of the wing is mostly black while the lower side is purely white which makes this bird very colorful in flight. Adult males and females are identical in plumage so it may be harder to distinguish their gender this way.

Expert Tip: The red-headed woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker that mostly catches insects on air (or on the ground) and will only forage trees for fruits and nuts. It even occasionally consumes other bird eggs and small mammals.

4. Downy Woodpecker

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 Washington Texas. 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.

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 is littered 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.

5. White-headed Woodpecker

White-headed Woodpecker
White-headed Woodpecker

As the name suggests, the white-headed woodpecker is primarily known for its head that is purely white with a stark contrast to its black body. This kind of bird doesn’t migrate and primarily lives in a pine forest (of which there is an abundance in the Washington district).

The white coloration on its head stands out because almost its entire body is covered with dark black, this makes it the highlight of this woodpecker (which is why it is named that way). Its wings are also partially covered with white.

Most of its wings are also painted with natural black and there will be a small white line at the tip making it distinguishable for an average observer. The head will usually have a red cap separating the black and white areas.

Expert Tip: This woodpecker only reproduces about once every year, most subspecies create their nest on dead trees and live the rest of their life there if uninterrupted. Thankfully even with the selective lifestyle the species is thriving and listed as a “least concern”.

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

The northern flicker is a medium-sized species of woodpecker native in 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. 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.

7. Red-breasted Sapsucker

Red-breasted Sapsucker
Red-breasted Sapsucker

Being called the red-breasted sapsucker you might think that the majority of this woodpecker’s body is made of red. However, if you look at the actual bird this is far from the truth. Most of its body is actually of white or gray color.

It does have a red breast but is not exclusive to the chest, its entire head in fact has the coloration of red and extends up to its upper body where its name is derived from. Some specimens however do not have a red breast.

There are those that have a red in their chest area but have become so tainted that it barely looks red, but do not fool as they are still considered as a red-breasted sapsucker. The majority of its wings is black but with lines of white forel in most subspecies.

Expert Tip: This woodpecker is not as common in the United States as a whole but can be seen in Washington, it is a migratory bird that moves from north to south depending on the environment.

It makes its nest in tree cavities where it can be mostly observed.

8. Black-backed Woodpecker

Black-backed Woodpecker
Black-backed Woodpecker

The black-backed (three-toed) woodpecker as the name suggests is known for its backside having the color of black, however, the area running throughout the belly of this woodpecker is mostly white. In-flight it can be easily mistaken for other types of birds.

Due to its simple coloration of white and black, there is little unique quality that can be used to identify this bird during flight. The only other noticeable trait is the yellow spot that can be seen on its forehead, this is the thing that most people look for.

Some subspecies would even have a slightly whiter tone on the wings instead of black, outlining the contrast of the two different colors and making a scale-like pattern (like that of a fish). They can typically be seen on woodlands preying on wood-boring beetles.

9. American Three-toed Woodpecker

American Three-toed Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpecker

The American three-toed woodpecker is eerily similar to the black-backed woodpecker probably because of their toe similarity (three-toed) which can make it hard to distinguish the two. They almost look the same.

This woodpecker is obviously quite unique as it belongs to a rare group of birds that has three toes, it can use it to navigate on the bark of trees when searching for food. A lot of people are fascinated by the species in Washington because of its three toes.

The primary difference is probably the size, this bird is smaller than the black-backed woodpecker to the point that an average observer could tell the uniqueness. The yellow cap on the top of the head is also more prominent in the black-backed woodpecker.

Traditionally, the American three-toed woodpecker is included in the same category as the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker. The separation was made due to two small differences between the two. and also their native location.

10. Williamson’s Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsucker
Williamson’s Sapsucker

Williamson’s sapsucker is a medium-sized woodpecker residing in Mexico, Britain, Columbia, but also in the United States. There are also a lot present in the Washington district inhabiting woodlands rich in conifers, pine, and types of firs.

This type of woodpecker is one of the rare ones being able to migrate all the way to Mexico in small flocks, they mostly resemble the American three-toed woodpecker except for the lack of a yellow cap. This one is not three-toed though.

Its body (primarily the upside) is mostly colored with black including parts of its heads and wings, this is complemented by an occasional white line/spot. There are several white areas scattered throughout the black coloration.

It doesn’t have a yellow cap like the American three-toed woodpecker but it does have a yellow belly that can make it stand out. This can be used to distinguish it from other similar woodpeckers other than the size of the body.

Lastly, most specimens will have a stint of red running under the line of their beak, unlike any woodpeckers that would have one in their heads.

Expert Tip: During the flight, the yellow and white coloration can be mostly seen, however, the black color is the more dominant when the woodpecker is perched on a tree.

11. Lewis’s Woodpecker

Lewis's Woodpecker
Lewis’s Woodpecker

The Lewis’s Woodpecker is a large North American woodpecker that can primarily be described by its three colorations, color black, red, and gray. This is probably the fanciest bird on this list due to its aesthetic.

The face is covered with a stain of red while the majority of the head is covered with black, this creates a sort of weird yet fascinating color combination. Most subspecies have a gray coloration running through their neck.

This gray separation marks the end of the blackhead and transitions to the black wings that can mostly be seen during flight, the color of the wings are all made of black. The underbelly is mostly red and a little bit black at the end.

The reason why this woodpecker is so fascinating is that the three colors are distributed in a weird manner throughout its entire body, it is the same reason why the rainbow color is so beautiful. It blends rightly to the eye.

Unlike most American woodpeckers this one is comfortable sitting in the open instead of being covered by a bush or a tree, this makes it an approachable woodpecker. This is one of the largest woodpeckers in North America.

12. Acorn Woodpecker (Extremely rare in Washington)

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker

The acorn woodpecker is an extremely rare type of woodpecker in Washington, not only in Texas in fact as it is also less likely seen throughout North America. However, this is what makes it so special. It is one of those birds that you can be proud of at the experience of encountering one.

It is so rare in Washington specifically that only a handful of reported sightings were confirmed. It is a medium-sized woodpecker that has three colors, white, red, and black. At first glance there seems to be not a lot of difference between this bird and the other woodpeckers described above, however, this will be a misconception.

The three colors are placed on several parts of the body that making the acorn woodpecker quite unique.

It has a red cap that resides on top of its head (almost looking like a spot) which completely stands out from the rest of the colors. It is followed by a face that is mostly colored with white but not completely, this is because the color leading up to the beak is mostly black.

Its upper body is mostly covered in black with an occasional whitish area showing up mostly on the underside, but in some subspecies, the wing is mostly only black. Its neck is also black but the belly would be another story.

Most of the belly underside is actually whitish gray, having a stint of black in the form of parallel lines.

Expert Tip: Several white circles can be observed on its wings during flight, this makes it aesthetically pleasing to look at.


There are a total of 12 woodpecker species that one can see in the Washington district, 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.

There are also those that have a red or yellow cap, along with a belly that may distinguish a specific species from other woodpeckers. That is all, thank you for reading.

About Rencel Leyran