11 Species of Woodpeckers in Indiana

Species of Woodpeckers in Indiana
Photo by Martin Eriksson

Woodpeckers are birds that are known to peck into trees in search of food and shelter. Woodpeckers are great birds around the backyard, but there are so many types of woodpeckers in Indiana that it can be challenging to track them all.

Indiana has its share of different types of woodpeckers, as it has nearly 200 species of birds.

This article will learn about these types of woodpeckers that call Indiana home. 

1. Bellied Woodpecker

Bellied woodpeckers are most commonly found throughout Indiana. They can be identified by their distinct black-and-white coloring and their red throat patch.

These woodpeckers in Indiana are usually found in forests, but they have also been spotted in residential areas, cemeteries, and parks. 

When not searching for food or a mate, these birds are looking for seekpots.

Bellied woodpeckers will use any tree large enough to hold them as a home, but they prefer dead trees because they provide more protection from predators than live trees.

Bellied woodpecks have several adaptations that help them get the food they need to survive.

First, they have chisel-like solid teeth that allow them to drill holes into the bark of trees. These woodpeckers in Indiana holes expose insects which the woodpecker then eats. 

Second, bellied woodpeckers have stiff tail feathers, which give them stability when pecking away at bark and aid in their flight if startled.

Finally, bellied woodpeckers have very sharp eyesight, which allows them to detect food sources quickly, even if it is high up on a tree trunk or limb.

2. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Indiana is a state with rich biodiversity and is home to many different types of woodpeckers. The red-headed woodpecker, for example, is one type that can be found throughout this region.

These woodpeckers in Indiana feed on insects, their larvae, and nuts and seeds. 

They also use their substantial bills to excavate tree bark to look for food sources like ants and other insects.

In addition, red-headed woodpeckers have a long tongue that helps them reach deep into crevices. These birds are not migratory but rather stick around all year long.

They can typically be seen living in deciduous forests and parks, where they nest high up in trees.

One way to spot a red-headed woodpecker is by looking for its distinctive white markings under its head and neck, which give it the nickname cinnamon back or the ginger nape. 

Another distinguishing feature is the thin white line that runs down from each eye and connects to the bird’s beak.

If you’re lucky enough to see these birds, they may be captivated by their beautiful feathers, ranging from black to brown, depending on the time of year.

3. Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy woodpecker, also known as the Downy woodpecker, is a common species found throughout Indiana.

The woodpeckerIndiana’sana’s most noticeable feature is its back wings’ ings’ black and white stripes. 

It has a red patch on its head that can be seen from some distance away.

Hairy woodpeckers have a natural habitat across North America, with some residing in South America. 

4. Downy Woodpecker

The downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is a North American bird found throughout much of Canada and the United States.

These woodpeckers in Indiana are very small, with a body length ranging from 7 to 10 inches, a wingspan from 16 to 18 inches, and a weight from 3 to 5 ounces.

The males have black head and back feathers, white underparts, and red bars on their wings. 

Females resemble males but are slightly duller, have less pronounced barring on their wings, and do not exhibit red patches on their heads.

Downies prefer open habitats such as fields and parks and feed on insects such as beetles, caterpillars, ants, or flies. In winter, they often roost communally in dense evergreen or dead trees. 

When roosting, one or many individuals may share one nest cavity. Individual birds will fly out periodically to feed at night before returning to the safety of their home tree.

If conditions are unsuitable for this communal roosting, a single pair may share a tree hole for nesting purposes instead.

5. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated woodpeckers are a relatively standard variety of woodpeckers in Indiana. They are the largest woodpecker species, with a body length of about sixteen inches and a wingspan, usually two, only four to thirty-two inches.

Pileated will often make their homes up high, such as on top of large trees or utility poles. 

One way to identify pileated is by their white underwings, black cap, and distinctive crested head, which extends back into long white plumes.

Unlike other types of woodpeckers in Indiana, these birds do not have nostrils at the end of their beak, so they can’t use them for digging.

Instead, they hammer down onto tree trunks and branches with incredible speed to locate insects below the surface.

6. Mountain Woodpecker

The Mountain woodpecker is one of the four woodpecker species found in Indiana.

They are medium-sized woodpeckers with brown bodies, black and white wings and tail, and red-and-white striped head.

Their diet primarily consists of ants, beetles, grubs, bees, and other insects. These woodpeckers in Indiana also feed on some berries and nuts.

The mountain woodpecker is not migratory, but they are opportunistic, meaning they will stay as long as the food is available before moving on to another area to find more food sources during winter or if food becomes scarce. 

The breeding season for this type of woodpecker begins in late March and continues through July.

Males often establish their territory near females by gathering nesting material from all kinds of trees, including conifers such as pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, and larch; deciduous trees such as oak; and fruit trees such as apple.

Females construct the nest about 1 meter above ground level.

7. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is named after its habit of eating tree sap. It has a black head, neck, back, wings, and tail with white stripes on its wings. The underside is primarily white with black barring. 

Males have a red patch on the nape, while females do not.

Two subspecies are differentiated based on coloration: the Eastern Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, which has an all-yellow belly, and the Western Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, which has a yellow abdomen with an orange wash on it. 

The pileated woodpecker is one of the largest bird species in Indiana. These woodpeckers in Indiana usually live in forests or swamps but often come to feeders during winter. 

They can eat more than 30% of their weight at feeding and spend up to eight hours per day looking for food.

In addition, their colors change throughout the year, so they can blend into different habitats better depending on where they live at any given time.

8. Northern Flicker

The Northern Flicker is one of onIndiana’sana’s most common types of woodpeckers. These woodpeckers in Indiana are commonly found in forested areas and can be spotted by their black and white wings.

The Northern Flicker is a year-round resident that lives mostly along woodland edges, meadows, and backyards near trees. 

They eat mainly insects and feed on fruits, seeds, and berries. They enjoy perching on branches, or power lines, thereby not busy chiseling away at tree bark.

As you might guess from their name, flickers have a significant flicking motion when looking for food. 

A typical call of the northern flicker is creeker-Kiker or too-eep.

Like many other woodpecker species, these birds will drill into the bark to extract insect larvae. 

One way to identify this type of bird is its namesake: its red-shafted tail feathers. They measure 9 inches long with an average weight of between 6 ounces and 1 pound.

9. Brown-Headed Woodpecker

The Black-backed woodpecker is a black-and-white woodpecker with distinctive white markings on its back. They are found all over North America but are more common in the eastern United States.

They can be spotted all year round, but they are more frequently seen during their breeding season, which is from March to September. 

These woodpeckers in Indiana feed on insects that they find on trees and plants. They also feed on insects attracted to sap from trees that have been oozing out due to wounds or cracks.

The Black-backed woodpecker will forage for these insects by looking for an entrance hole made by other animals and then making its hole if it doesn’t find one.

It will use its strong bill to pry off bark from the tree and peck at any soft spots underneath. It will search for small insects such as ants, beetles, spiders, and other invertebrates under the bark’s surface. 

The Brown-headed woodpecker is a brown bird with some red feathers on its head. It can often be found in woodlands and forests with dead trees.

10. Phoebe Woodpeckers

One type of woodpecker found in Indiana is called phoebe. These woodpeckers in Indiana will feed on insects, seeds, and berries.

The phoebe bird is easily identified by its long tail, and its ca, ll pewee pewee pewee and is about five inches tall. 

Male phoebes have a red stripe, and females have a yellow line on their heads.

Phoebes will only eat snails when they find them as they cannot crack open hard-shelled insects to get to the insides as other woodpeckers can. 

They also use ants for bait for small fish that come out of the water to eat them.

Sometimes, the phoebe will dive into the water in pursuit of small fish.

11. Acorn Woodpecker

The acorn woodpecker is a small black and white bird with a red crown and nape.

This type of woodpecker is most commonly found throughout North America but can also be seen in South America and parts of Europe.

Male acorn woodpeckers have a red spot on their head, usually hidden by feathers. 

The female acorn woodpecker also has a red crown, but her plumage is much more mottled than the males.

Acorn woodpeckers are known for their tendency to eat tree seeds such as those from oak trees and can live up to five years old. They often create a granary in their nests, storing food collected during the day. 

These woodpeckers in Indiana are monogamous birds and will mate for life.

However, when it comes time to build a nest, both parents take turns making it using bark and twigs. 

When it is time for eggs to hatch, both parents take care of the chicks and teach them what they need to know about living off natural resources.

The acorn woodpecker species is considered near threatened because many people cut down trees without thinking about what kind of habitat it provides for these birds.


Indiana is home to a variety of woodpeckers. Northern Flickers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and Pileated Woodpeckers are all native to Indiana.

While these three types of woodpeckers have different habitats, they all have one thing in common: they are essential parts of our ecosystems and deserve our respect. 

The next time you see a bird chiseling away at a tree or house, take a moment to remember that there is more than one type!

Even though they may look scary, woodpeckers in Indiana are crucial to maintaining healthy forests. They remove small pieces of bark from trees which helps them grow.

And because they can’t digest seeds, they help spread seeds across large areas by carrying them on their beaks and feet.

They also create holes for other animals to live in, which makes an environment more diverse and full of life.

So the next time you hear a pecking sound outside your window or front, don’t be scared – think about how much work it takes for those little birds to keep things running smoothly!

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