Red-bellied Woodpecker

photo by Phil Swanson

Melanerpes carolinus
L 9 1/4″ (24 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (UNL audios)

Rolling “churr” or “chiv-chiv.”

Description: Black-and-white barred back; white uppertail coverts; barred central tail feathers; white belly with a small reddish patch or tinge. Male has more extensive red on head, having red on both the crown and nape. Females only have red on the nape.

red bellied woodpecker
Habitat: Fairly open forest stands, often in riverbottom forests. Often seen in orchards, and urban parks and gardens.

Where in Nebraska: Common permanent resident in eastern Nebraska. Extends west along major river systems. Regular breeder

Status: May be extending its breeding range northward and westward.

Fun Facts: As many as half of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in some areas get invaded by starlings. Excavates its nest in 7-10 days.

male Red-bellied Woodpecker - photo by Phil Swanson female Red-bellied Woodpecker - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)