7 Beautiful Woodpeckers of Connecticut to watch

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Woodpeckers of Connecticut

Woodpeckers are one of the fascinating birds in North America, and Connecticut is a great place to see them. Woodpeckers can be found in many habitats throughout the state, from forests to suburbs. They are easily recognizable by their unique markings and behavior.

If you want to see the woodpeckers of Connecticut in your area, you should know a few things. Woodpeckers are often secretive and hard to spot. They also tend to stay hidden in the trees. However, there are some ways to tell if they are present.

Woodpeckers make a lot of noise when they fly, so listen for their distinctive call as you walk through the woods or neighborhood. You can also look for their unusual feeding behavior; woodpeckers often drill into tree trunks looking for insects.

What are The most common woodpeckers in Connecticut?

The most common woodpeckers in Connecticut include the Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, and the Hairy Woodpecker. Less common Woodpeckers in Connecticut include the Red-breasted Sapsucker, Acorn Woodpecker, and the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Several species of woodpecker live in Connecticut, five being common and two being more scarce and less likely to be observed.

This article will discuss the seven different Woodpecker species found in Connecticut. We will also provide information on identifying the Woodpeckers in your areas, such as their size, calls, plumage, and feeding behavior.

We have organized this list from the most likely to be seen to the least likely to be seen.

Connecticut Woodpeckers

According to the latest data from ebird, there are seven observed species of Woodpeckers in Connecticut. The first five species are common, and the last two are more scarce and less likely to be seen. This data has been collected from over 16,500 dedicated bird watchers throughout Connecticut.

Here are some quick facts:

  • The Downy Woodpecker is the most common Woodpecker in Connecticut
  • The Black-backed Woodpecker is the least common Woodpecker in Connecticut
  • The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest Woodpecker in Connecticut
  • The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest Woodpecker in Connecticut
  • The Downy Woodpecker and the Red-bellied Woodpecker are common backyard birds of Connecticut and the species most likely to visit your bird feeders.

7 Types Of Woodpeckers In Connecticut

1. Downy Woodpecker

The downy woodpecker is the smallest member of the woodpecker family in North America. They are found in wooded areas throughout North America and are non-migratory, and can be seen in Connecticut all year round.

They are primarily black with white stripes running down their backs and white spotted wings. The males have a red patch on the back of their heads, while the females have a white patch.

  • Length: 14-17cm (5.5 to 7 inches)
  • Weight: 21-28g (0.5 to 1 oz)
  • Wingspan: 25-30cm (10 to 12 inches)
  • Size: Smaller than a Robin but larger than a sparrow

Their bills are short, straight, and chisel-like, which they use to drill into trees to find insects to eat.

The downy woodpecker is a very vocal bird and will often be heard before they are seen. Their calls consist of a sharp “pik” sound followed by a softer “pik”. They also have a drumming call used to mark their territory or attract a mate.

These birds are most active during the day and can be seen crawling up tree trunks, hopping from branch to branch, or hanging upside down from branches while foraging for food.

Downy woodpeckers primarily eat insects, but they will also eat fruits, berries, and nuts. They are also frequent visitors to bird feeders that offer suet, sunflower seeds or peanuts.

The downy woodpecker is a cavity nester, which means they will drill a hole in a tree to make their nest. Both the male and female will take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 3-6 white eggs per clutch. They incubate their eggs for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another three weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.

2. Red-bellied Woodpecker

The red-bellied woodpecker is a mid-sized woodpecker found in the eastern United States. They are non-migratory and are year-round residents of Connecticut.

These birds have black with white stripes running down their backs and wings. The males have red running from their bill to the back of their heads, while the females only have red on the back of their heads. 

Both males and females are white below, and the belly of these birds is typically a pale pink or salmon color.

  • Length: 23-25cm (9 to 10 inches)
  • Weight: 56-91g (2 to 3 oz)
  • Wingspan: 33-42cm (13 to 17 inches)
  • Size: Larger than a Robin but smaller than a Crow

The red-bellied woodpecker is also a very vocal bird, and its calls consist of a shrill, rolling “kwirr” sound. They also have a coughing “cha cha cha” call used to mark their territory or attract a mate.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers rarely drill into trees to find their food but instead forage for food from trees, the ground, and the air.

Red-bellied woodpeckers primarily eat insects but will also eat fruits, berries, and nuts. They will also eat suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts from bird feeders.

The red-bellied woodpecker is a cavity nester, so they will drill a hole in a tree to make their nest. Both the male and female will take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 4-5 eggs per clutch and incubate their eggs for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another three weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.

3. Hairy Woodpecker

The hairy woodpecker is a mid-sized woodpecker found in the eastern United States. They are non-migratory and can be seen in Connecticut all year round.

These birds have black with white stripes running down their backs and wings and white underparts. The males have red on the back of their heads, while the females have no red.

They appear similar to Downy Woodpeckers, except they are larger and have longer bills.

  • Length: 18-26cm (7 to 10 inches)
  • Weight: 40-95g (1.4 to 4 oz)
  • Wingspan: 33-41cm (13 to 16 inches)
  • Size: About the size of a Robin

The hairy woodpecker has a sharp “peek” sound similar but lower pitched to a Downy Woodpecker call. They also have a drumming call to mark or defend their territory, attract a mate, or respond to an intruder.

They are active foragers probing tree trunks and limbs, scaling off the bark, and drilling into the wood for their preferred food.

Hairy woodpeckers primarily eat insects but will also eat fruits, berries, and nuts. They will also eat suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts from bird feeders.

The hairy woodpecker is a cavity nester, so they will drill a hole in a tree to make their nest. Both the male and female take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 3-6 eggs per clutch and incubate their eggs for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another four weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.

4. Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker found in North America and are year-round residents of Connecticut.

They are primarily black all over with white stripes running down their necks and wings and have a red crest on their heads. The males also have a red forecrown and red whisker near their bills, while the females have a black forecrown and black whisker.

  • Length: 40-49cm (about 16 to 20 inches)
  • Weight: 250-350g (8.8 to 12 oz)
  • Wingspan: 66-75cm (29 to 30 inches)
  • Size: Large; about the size of a crow

The Pileated woodpecker has a loud, echoing “kuk” sound similar to laughter. Both males and females drum on trees to mark their territories, attract mates, or warn off other Pileated woodpeckers.

They are powerful foragers that use their long bills to chisel away at tree bark to find their favorite food – insects

Their chiseling leaves extensive excavations in trees that provide shelter for other smaller birds and mammals.

Pileated woodpeckers also eat fruits, berries, and nuts. They will also eat suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts from bird feeders.

Like other woodpeckers, the Pileated woodpecker is a cavity nester, and the male and female take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 3-5 eggs per clutch and incubate their eggs for about three weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another four weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.

5. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a medium-sized woodpecker found across North America and can be seen in Connecticut during the colder non-breeding months.

They are primarily black and white with a striped face, white wing patches, and yellowish underparts. Males have a red forecrown and red throat, and females have a red forecrown and white throat.

  • Length: 18-22cm (7 to 8.5 inches)
  • Weight: 43-55g (1.5 to 1.9 oz)
  • Wingspan: 34-40cm (13 to 16 inches)
  • Size: About the size of a Robin

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a squeal-like call that sounds like “weeah” and a cat like “meeow” call. They also make a drumming sound on trees or metal objects to warn other birds away from their territories, but it is slower and less regular than other woodpeckers.

Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are unique among woodpeckers in that they drink the sap of trees. They make small holes in the bark of trees and return to these holes to feed on the sap, and the insects attracted to it.

They also eat flying insects, fruits, and seeds. In the winter, they will also eat suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts from bird feeders.

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a cavity nester. The male and female take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 3-7 eggs per clutch and incubate them for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another three weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own. Before the fledglings leave the nest, their parents teach them the sapsucking technique.

6. Red-headed Woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker found across North America. They can be seen in Connecticut during the warmer breeding months.

They are all black with a white chest and belly, white patches on their wings, and a red head, neck, and throat.

Males and females look alike, but juveniles have brownish heads without a red hue.

  • Length: 19-23cm (7.5 to 9 inches)
  • Weight: 56-91g (2 to 3.2 oz)
  • Wingspan: 42cm (16.5 inches)
  • Size: Larger than a Robin but smaller than Crow

The Red-headed woodpecker has a shrill “tchur” call, similar to that of a Red-bellied Woodpecker but with a higher pitch. They also drum on trees or metal objects to warn off other birds.

Red-headed woodpeckers are omnivores and are adept at catching flying insects such as moths and grasshoppers while in flight. They will also eat fruits, berries, and nuts in the fall and winter. They will also eat suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts from bird feeders.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of the few woodpeckers that store food in crevices for later feeding.

The red-headed woodpecker is a cavity nester, and the male and female take turns drilling the hole and incubating the eggs.

Females will lay between 4-7 eggs per clutch and incubate their eggs for about two weeks before the chicks hatch. 

After hatching, it takes roughly another three weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.

7. Black-backed Woodpecker

Black-backed woodpeckers are a medium-sized woodpecker that is found across North America. They are non-migratory, and their range stretches from Alaska to Newfoundland. They are scarcely observed in Connecticut but may be seen in northern portion of the state.

Adults have a distinctive black back and head with a single white stripe reminiscent of a mustache. Their underparts are primarily white, with some black barring on their flanks. The males have a small patch of yellow on their crowns.

  • Length: 22-23cm (about 9 inches)
  • Weight: 61-88g (2.1 to 3.1 oz)
  • Wingspan: 40-42cm (15.8 to 16.5 inches)
  • Size: Similar in size to a Robin

The black-backed woodpecker is a vocal bird whose calls consist of a sharp “pik” or “kyik” sound. Males also drum on trees as part of their territorial displays.

Black-backed woodpeckers are mostly insectivores that flake off the bark of dead trees to feed on larvae from wood-boring beetles. They also eat other insects and spiders and some fruits and nuts when available.

The black-backed woodpecker is a cavity nester and will excavate its nest hole or use an existing one made by another species of woodpecker. Both males and females take turns excavating their nesting cavity, with the male doing most of the work.

Both the male and female will take turns incubating the eggs and raising the chicks. Females will lay between 3-4 white eggs per clutch, and both parents will incubate their eggs for about two weeks before the chicks hatch.

After hatching, it takes roughly another three weeks for the chicks to fledge or grow their adult feathers and be able to fly on their own.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of woodpeckers live in Connecticut?

There are seven observed species of woodpeckers in Connecticut. The most common include the Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the Hairy Woodpecker. The least common woodpeckers in Connecticut include the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Black-backed Woodpecker.

What Is The Largest Woodpecker In Connecticut?

The largest woodpecker in Connecticut is the Pileated Woodpecker.

What Is The Smallest Woodpecker In Connecticut?

The smallest woodpecker in Connecticut is the Downy Woodpecker.

Keep an eye out for the Woodpeckers of Connecticut

Woodpeckers are an exciting and diverse group of birds that can be found in many different habitats throughout Connecticut. There are seven observed species of Woodpeckers in the state, with the Downy Woodpecker being the most common.

Woodpeckers are often secretive and hard to spot, but there are some ways to tell if they are present in your area. Listen for their distinctive call as you walk through the woods, or look for their unusual feeding behavior.

Identifying Woodpeckers in your area can be fun and easy, and it is a great way to get to know the different species of birds in Connecticut.

If you have questions about identifying more species or finding out which ones live near you, let us know! We would love to help identify new bird species for our readers.

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I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

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