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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Red-bellied Woodpecker, (Melanerpes carolinus), is a medium-sized woodpecker. Their breeding habitat is deciduous forests found throughout southern Canada and the eastern United States. They are permanent residents but may change location; some birds may wander north. In extreme weather, northern birds may move south.

Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underside. They have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red cap going from the bill to the nape. Females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The red belly is difficult to view on a live bird.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in a cavity in a dead tree; the male begins excavation in several locations and the female selects the site. These birds search out insects on tree trunks. They may also catch insects in flight. They are omnivores, eating insects, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Red-bellied Woodpecker