Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Red-bellied Woodpecker

Posted by  //  March 6, 2019  //  Articles, Creature Feature

This attractive woodpecker lives in  woodlands, especially those near rivers and swampy areas. It has also adjusted to life in parks and neighborhoods.  It has black-and-white barring on the back with a red nape, but only the male bird sports a red cap. Subtle red plumage on its pale belly is not always noticeable.  Fifty years ago, the red-bellied woodpecker was found primarily in the southeastern US. Its population was declining. Since then, its range has advanced northward and numbers have rebounded.  Like most woodpeckers, it eats loads of insects, gleaned from tree trunks and branches or even in mid air. Occasionally, small reptiles and fish, tree frogs, and eggs, are eaten. Fruits, seeds and nuts can make up a good chunk of its diet, too, and may be hidden in tree bark nooks for a winter stash.  This bird is a cavity nester, and either excavates a nesting hole in dead wood or adopts an existing one (try attracting a pair with an appropriately-sized nest box). Young are cared for by both parents. In winter, the red-bellied woodpecker might wander within its range based on food supply, but it’s not a true migrator.  Find this bird by listening for its loud, repeated “churrr” and “cha-cha-cha” calls.

Article & Photo by Margie Manthey

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