The Woodpecker are birds, mostly known for their sharp and strong beaks, useful for drilling into tree trunks and other hard surfaces. They are fairly common, with different subspecies spread across the globe, boasting of a variety of plumage colours. This bird is considered among the smartest birds in the world and has been thought of as such, for a very long time. In older civilizations across the world, the woodpecker symbolizes luck, prosperity, healing, hard work and strength. The Sunshine State of Florida is home to around 525 species of birds- the Woodpecker being one of them. These birds are attracted to the bounty of pinewood trees in the state, which in today’s times are mostly found in Florida’s national parks and most notably, the Blackwater Heritage State Trail, Anastasia State Park, Avalon State Park, and Olustee State Park. The following is a list of 10 varieties of woodpeckers in Florida,
Woodpeckers in Florida
1. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
With a wingspan of 15-18 inches, the Red-Bellied Woodpecker is among the most easily spotted variety of woodpeckers in Florida, as they are found here in large numbers and have a chatty disposition, making them fairly easy to locate and identify. They dwell here all year long and apart from their habits, they are known for their physically distinct features comprising of a red “helmet” in males and a streak of red running from beak to back in females. Unlike their name, they only have a twinge of red/orange on their belly. It is also listed as one of the amazing woodpeckers in Ohio. These birds are known even among woodpeckers for the remarkable speed at which they drill into trunks- at a rate of 19 beats per second!
2. The Gold Fronted Woodpecker
Another resident non-migratory woodpecker subspecies, the Gold Fronted Woodpecker’s most distinguishable characteristic is a swatch of gold near their beak and on the back of their head. Their wingspan mostly stays within the range of 16.5 to 17.3 inches. Though these birds are listed as “round the year” species, they are less commonly spotted in the state. They feed on insects, mostly grasshoppers and can mostly be found in dry bush habitats. However, it is reported that they eat the fruit in a similar amount. In fact, in Texas, where the bird is most commonly found, one can witness the bird’s feathers acquiring a purple-ish tint from eating the fruit off of a variety of cacti in the summer.
Also Read: 9 Types Of Woodpeckers In Michigan
Image Source: Wikimedia
3. The Hairy Woodpecker
The Hairy Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a wingspan of 13 to 17 inches. Male and Female Hairy Woodpeckers are almost identical with a monochromatic body. The only way to tell the difference between a male and a female bird of this kind is the patch of red on the head of the male. These woodpeckers in colorado have a high work rate and dig deep into tree trunks to eat larvae. They also feed on tree sap and have a relatively long lifespan of 15 years.
4. The Red-Headed Woodpecker
The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a type of woodpecker listed among the world’s most attractive birds. As the name suggests, this woodpecker sports a crimson head which contrasts beautifully with its bright white coloured stomach feathers (in adults) and splotches of black and white on its wings. Their looks have gained them the title of a “flying checkerboard”. Their natural habitat mainly comprises swampy and wetland areas. Though classified as Woodpeckers, they behave a little differently, by catching their prey mid-air, instead of tunnelling trunks to find them. These birds have a wingspan of upto 17.1 inches. Due to their falling numbers, the Red-Headed Woodpecker finds itself mentioned in the IUCN’s list of nearly threatened species.
5. The Pileated Woodpecker
The Pileated Woodpecker is recognised by most, as the largest woodpecker found in Florida. It is the woodpecker on which the most famous cartoon character of Woody Woodpecker was based. These birds have known for red on head and white stripes down their necks and faces. These birds have an impressive wingspan of 26 to 30 inches and prefer to live in forests and thus, their diet mainly consists of wood residing insects such as termites and beetles. They leave a lasting and easily distinguishable mark on the trees they feed on, in the form of rectangular holes hollowed out of trees in their hunt for carpenter ants. Over the years, as the human civilisational started intruding on the natural world, these woodpeckers started becoming more and more easily sighted in residential areas.
6. The Northern Flicker
The Northern Flicker is a medium-sized woodpecker with a wingspan of upto 21 inches. These woodpeckers mostly found in Arkansas reside in Canada but migrate to Florida for the winters. Among their fellow woodpeckers, they are known for their unique brown hues, cream coloured chests and black spotted bodies. They are the only woodpeckers to feed on the ground. The Northern Flickers found in Florida are known for the yellow shaft on the undersides of their wings and tail feathers.
7. The Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is quite similar in looks to the Hairy Woodpecker, however, it is smaller in size to the latter (approximately two-thirds smaller than the Hairy Woodpecker). Its beak too looks quite similar to the Hairy Woodpecker- straight and sharp but is smaller in size. It is characterised as a small bird with a limited wingspan of upto 4.13 inches, and a weight of only 20 grams only. Their birds in Pennsylvania is monochromatic with two black patches on their back, interspersed with white stripes and spots. One of the popular Missouri birds usually nest in tree cavities and are among the quietest woodpeckers.
8. The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers are a territorial, non-migratory variety of woodpeckers. Generally shy of humans, these birds are visible mostly during the breeding season. They are known for the large white patches on their cheeks and markings similar to the barred black and white red-bellied woodpecker, down their back. They have a wingspan of upto 14 inches and a long life expectancy of 16 years. These woodpeckers prefer to live in pairs, with a male “worker” offspring. Their habitat of choice is the mature pine forest, though due to deforestation, their numbers are dwindling and they find mention on IUCN’s Near Threatened list. It is also one of the commonly seen woodpeckers in Pennsylvania.
9. The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Like their name, the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is recognised by the yellow tint on their bellies. They have black and white feathers on their bodies and the most striking feature are the red patch on their head and throats. They are medium-sized birds with a wingspan of upto 16 inches. They are a migratory species and are visible in Florida only in the winters, on their route southward. They have a peculiar feeding habit of drinking sap from trees and leave behind neat horizontal rows of sap wells in trees which they keep returning to. They also feed on fruits and insects found in the process of sucking tree sap.
10. The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
These Woodpeckers in Florida are fairly large in size with an impressive wingspan of upto 30 inches. They are believed to have a life expectancy of a whopping 20-30 years. These birds have a black body with a dash of white on the head and an easily distinguishable black and red flat comb (in the case of a male Ivory-billed Woodpecker). They are known for their perseverance and impressive rate of work and can chip off an entire tree trunk (in a tree of interest) in about 2-3 days. Unfortunately, these birds have been sighted quite rarely, because of their dwindling numbers. It is the only Woodpecker Species of Florida, on the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species and is now considered to be an extinct bird on the planet. Currently, they are one of the rarest Woodpeckers in the world, with some experts believing them to already be extinct.
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