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Woodpeckers In Georgia: 8 Species To Keep On Your Mind

Last Updated on: June 9, 2024

Woodpeckers are some of the most beautiful and fascinating birds in Georgia. Besides their unique color combination, they are experienced climbers known for their beautiful plumages and pecking noises.


It’s no surprise why Georgia is one of the most popular destinations for bird lovers. The most common woodpeckers that frequent our backyards are the hairy and downy woodpeckers. So, if you want to learn more about the woodpeckers in Georgia, please read on:

The Woodpeckers Of Georgia

1. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

Georgia is known for hosting some of the most beautiful woodpeckers on the planet, with one of the most colorful ones being the Red-bellied woodpecker. Unfortunately, the red-bellied woodpecker can be easily mistaken for a red-headed woodpecker as it has a red cap, but it is a tad smaller and lighter in color. The red-bellied woodpecker has a pale red belly that’s very hard to spot.

They come with black and white stripes all over their bodies, while the females have red napes but no red crown.

These woodpeckers can be found all year-round in the woodlands, but you can also find them perched on the main trunks and branches of trees.

Like other woodpeckers, the red-bellied woodpeckers are known for their distinctive loud rolling call, which means you can hear them in the woods before even seeing them. Another unique feature is their long barbed tongue that can stretch 2 inches out of its beaks. Its long tongue helps it access the deep crevices in search of food.

They feed on nuts, fruit, grass seeds, and insects, including spiders. They can even consume nestlings, and to attract them to your backyard, you must install an upside-down suet feeder to provide these birds with food while keeping the bully birds and squirrels away.

Some foods that can help you attract them to your backyard bird feeders include Black oil sunflower seeds and native berry trees like mountain ash or hawthorn. 

2. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker

They may breed in the far northern states, but the red-headed woodpeckers can also be found in Georgia all year round. The Red-headed woodpeckers are the easiest to identify, thanks to their white and black bold markings and bright red heads. These medium-sized woodpeckers have a robust spike bill.

Unlike the red-bellied woodpecker, they come with short tails, enormous black and white bands on their wings, black backs, and an exceptional whitish underside. The red-headed woodpecker produces a unique shrill call that makes it stand out among other birds in the forest.

Unfortunately, this specie’s population reduced by 70% between 1966 and 2014, thanks to habitat loss.

They’re pretty aggressive creatures known for defending their territory and even removing or destroying the eggs of other creatures. Another extraordinary thing about this species is they can catch insects while in flight and crevices like other creatures.

They feed on several insects, including grasshoppers, honeybees, midges, and beetles, making up about 33% of their diet. The other two-thirds of its diet include plant materials like berries, nuts, and seeds. To attract the red-headed woodpecker to your bird feeders, you need to add suet to your suet feeder. 

3. Pileated Woodpeckers

Pileated Woodpeckers

Georgia is home to some of the biggest bird species, including the Pileated woodpecker, considered one of the biggest species in the United States. Pileated woodpeckers are twice the size of crows, but one of their key features that makes them stand out is their flaming-reddish triangular crest.

But if you think that the pileated woodpecker is any other black and white bird, you should wait until it spreads its wings and sees its exceptionally whitish underside.

The critical difference between males and females is the red stripe on the cheeks of the male pileated woodpecker.

You can find them nesting on dead trees, but before you find them, you will hear loud drumming, whinnying calls, or loud shrills. But unlike some birds, the pileated woodpecker is known for making a new nest and leaving the old one to other birds.

They reside in drowned or mature forests with several dead trees, but they can also visit our backyard feeders in search of suet. Unlike all the other woodpeckers, they make some distinctive rectangular holes. They feed on mealworms, peanuts, suet, hulled sunflower seeds, and black oil sunflower seed.

4. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Another common woodpecker that frequents our backyard feeders is the hairy woodpecker. This bird can be easily mistaken for a downy woodpecker, but it’s a bit larger. Plus, the fact that they are found in the same vicinity means that you can easily mistake one for the other.

These powerful small birds can be found in our backyards and are known for making explosive peak calls or whinnying sounds. They have a white and black pattern with a substantial whitish patch on their backs. But the male hairy woodpecker comes with a flash of red on the back of its head.

They nest on the dead part of the tree or cavity of a dead tree and lay up to 6 white eggs. Like most woodpeckers, the hairy woodpeckers feed on insects, including bark beetles, ants, and beetle larvae. They can also consume millipedes, moth pupae, spiders, caterpillars, and bees.

As one of the most common woodpeckers in this state, it can be found in several habitats, including cemeteries, parks, and woodlots. They also visit our backyards for a treat of sunflower seeds or suet. Therefore when looking for them, you should listen to their whinny peak calls or drumming when foraging.

5. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Resembling the hairy woodpecker, the downy woodpecker is one of the smallest woodpecker species in North America. It is a tad smaller than hairy woodpeckers, and compared to other woodpecker species; it has the smallest beak. The downy woodpecker is one of the most common woodpeckers in Georgia that loves frequenting our backyard feeders.

They have white and black patterning, but mostly black with a whitish patch on their back. The male has a red patch on the backside of his head.

The downy woodpeckers are known for their high-pitched “pik” sound and descending call that can be extremely fun to listen to; they’re so active and fun to watch. 

These birds love nesting on dead tree cavities and lay a maximum of 8 small white eggs.

They feed on insects, especially larvae. They also feed on grains, acorns, and berries. They can also be seen drinking from a hummingbird feeder.

The downy woodpecker can often be seen in the company of small birds, including chickadees and nuthatches. These woodpecker species can also be found in open woodland, orchards, parks, and backyards.

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Unlike most woodpeckers with white and black feathers, the northern flicker is fairly massive with bright markings (yellow and red) and a silver brown appearance. The Northern flicker is one of the world’s most beautiful woodpeckers whose white underside is speckled with black dots.

Another exceptional thing about this species is that it’s the only woodpecker usually found on the ground looking for ants and beetles. 

And like most woodpeckers in our list, they can be found in Georgia all year round, particularly in forest edges and open woods.

When not on the ground, the northern flicker can be found perched on tree branches. All you have to do is listen to their loud calls and alarming yells, and you will find them.

7. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Generally, spotting the red-cockaded woodpecker is not an everyday occurrence. While these woodpeckers can be found all year round in numerous parts of Georgia, a considerable loss of their natural habitat rendered them endangered by the 1970s.  

Therefore, they can be found in wildlife refuges, national forests, and other protected lands. There are several private nesting areas for red-cockaded woodpeckers in Georgia where you can find them. You can also find several public places for this woodpecker feeding and nesting sites in certain parts of Georgia.

Like most woodpeckers, the red-cockaded woodpeckers are primarily white and black, with a substantial whitish patch on their cheeks. It has an exceptional black line below its cheek. The male red-cockaded woodpecker has a reddish streak on it cheeks, but it is barely visible. 

8. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a migratory creature that spends winter in this state after breeding in Canada and the northern state. They are relatively small and about the same size as a robin. They are black with a reddish forehead, while the males have a red throat.

Unlike other woodpeckers, the yellow-bellied sapsucker makes holes in the trees for their sap and uses its long tongue to remove it.

This woodpecker is known for making an exceptional row of holes in horizontal; therefore, you should examine the young paper birch, sugar maple, yellow birch, and hickory trees for these holes. 

They’re known for making loud mewing calls and love nesting in tree cavities where they lay six white eggs. They can be found in the young deciduous forest situated at an elevation of about 6,500 ft. In winter, you can find them in open forests.

They have some bold reddish markings on their forehead and below their bill. Plus, their underside is mostly whitish, which can sometimes appear yellow.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers In Georgia?

The Ivory-billed, the largest woodpecker on the continent, inhabits the southeastern parts of the U.S., particularly in Georgia. Unfortunately, they had been declared extinct in the twentieth century thanks to significant habitat destruction. They are no longer in Georgia; plus, they have not been seen in the U.S. since their last sighting in Arkansas.

What Is The Biggest Woodpecker In Georgia?

The largest woodpecker in Georgia is the pileated woodpecker, which is between 16 to 19 inches long. They’re the showiest and largest woodpeckers in Georgia.

Is It Good To Have A Woodpecker In Your Yard?

Yes, woodpeckers play a crucial ecological role in helping with pest control. Therefore, if you have a pest issue in your backyard, you should try attracting these birds to your backyard.


As aforementioned, Georgia is home to some of the most common woodpeckers in the United States — the biggest woodpecker in the continent used to reside in this state. Georgia still hosts several woodpecker species with numerous similarities. With the above information, you can quickly identify the woodpecker who visits your backyard daily.

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