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8 Species of Woodpeckers in Georgia (with Pictures)

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downy woodpecker perched on a branch

As any bird lover can tell you, a woodpecker is one of the most fascinating birds you can find in your backyard. If you hear that tap, tap, tapping outside your window in the mornings, you can pretty well be sure that a woodpecker is on the other side of one of your trees.

With all the many different birds there are in Georgia, you might be surprised to find out that there are only eight species of woodpeckers there. Have you ever wondered what those species are? Have you ever wondered how to identify them?

If you have, then you’re in the right place! In this list, we’ll list and discuss the eight species of woodpeckers you can find in Georgia, possibly in your own backyard.

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The 12 Species of Woodpeckers in Georgia

1. Red-Headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker
Photo Credit: CoastalSandpiper, Pixabay
Length 7.5–9.1 inches
 Weight 2.0–3.2 ounces
Wingspan 16.5 inches

The Red-Headed Woodpecker, as the name suggests, has a bright red head, which is its most distinguishable feature. These medium-sized birds can be found nesting in dense woodland areas. Their primary diet is insects and berries, and they have an average life expectancy of about 9 years. These birds can be seen in all areas of Georgia and are in the state all year long.

It’s fun to watch this woodpecker dart around your backyard as the breeding pairs play hide and seek with one another in the trees.

2. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker
Photo Credit: Scottslm, Pixabay
Length 9.4 inches
 Weight 2.0–3.2 ounces
Wingspan 13.0–16.5 inches

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker has pale feathers on its belly and bright red feathers on its head. Their main source of food is insects, and they have an average lifespan of 12 years. They mostly build their nests in sub-wooded or dense woodland areas, and these are often in dead trees or dead tree trunks.

These birds reside in Georgia year-round, and while they can be seen in every region, the most common sightings have been in the northern half of Georgia.

3. Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpecker bird perching on a tree trunk
Photo Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length 15.8–19.3 inches
 Weight 8.8–12.3 ounces
Wingspan 26.0–29.5 inches

The Pileated Woodpecker features a very prominent display of red feathers on top of its downy head. Their main source of food is fruit, nuts, and insects, and they have an average life expectancy of 13 years. This breed is pretty large for a woodpecker, and they make their nests in mature woodland areas. This breed finds one mate and often breeds for life.

While the Pileated Woodpecker doesn’t have a large range, it can be regularly seen throughout Georgia. However, they are most often reported in the southwest portion of the state.

4. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker


Length 7.9–9.1 inches
 Weight 1.5–1.8 ounces
Wingspan 14.2 inches

The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is almost completely covered with black and white feathers, regardless of what its name might suggest. Only the males have any red color to them, and that’s very little and hardly noticeable.

Their main diet is insects, nuts, seeds, fruit, and eggs. They have a life expectancy of up to 16 years. These birds actually live in small families of 2 to 5 woodpeckers. However, there is never more than one female woodpecker per family.

As year-long residents, Georgia is actually one of the only states where you can spot this Woodpecker. They are most often spotted in southwest Georgia for those who wish to see one.

5. Hairy Woodpecker

hairy woodpecker bird perching on a tree branch
Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
Length 7.1–10.2 inches
 Weight 1.4–3.4 ounces
Wingspan 13.0–16.1 inches

The Hairy Woodpecker has an orange-red patch of feathers on top of its head and is a medium-sized Woodpecker. Their primary diet is tree sap and wood-boring insects. This breed has an average life expectancy of 15 years. They tend to nest in woodland areas and have only one batch of eggs a year, which usually consists of 3–6 eggs.

As with the other Woodpeckers on our list, the Hairy Woodpecker is a year-long resident in Georgia. However, you can see them most often in the northwest part of the state.

6. Northern Flicker

northern flicker perching on wooden fence
Image Credit: Naturelady, Pixabay
Length 11.0–12.2 inches
 Weight 3.9–5.6 ounces
Wingspan 16.5–20.1 inches

The Northern Flicker is a very large, brown-feathered woodpecker. They are easily identified by the spotted pattern on their bellies and the red patches on their tails and faces. This species’ diet consists mostly of seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. They also have an average life expectancy of about 9 years.

They prefer to live in isolated, dense wooded areas but have been known to nest in suburban areas every now and then. This bird can be found in all 50 states, including all areas of Georgia.

They stay in Georgia all year-round, and your best chance of spotting one will be in the northern half of the state.

7. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Image Credit: GregSabin, Pixabay
Length 7.1–8.7 inches
 Weight 1.5–1.9 ounces
Wingspan 13.4–15.8 inches

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker has yellow feathers on its underside and red crowns on its head, which is how it got its name. Their diet consists of insects, fruit, and tree sap, and they have an average life expectancy of about 7 years. They are small for woodpeckers and build their nests in different forests according to what season of the year it is.

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is only seen in Georgia outside of their breeding season; one of the only Woodpeckers on our list that isn’t in Georgia year-round. It’s easy to spot one of these birds, as they are most often seen in the northeast part of the state.

8. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Image Credit: JackBulmer,Pixabay
Length 5.5–6.7 inches
 Weight 0.7–1.0 ounces
Wingspan 9.8–11.8 inches

Last on our list is the Downy Woodpecker. This bird has a pale belly and a tiny patch of red on the back of its head. Their diet consists of insects and non-insect arthropods and their life expectancy is around 12 years.

This breed is primarily active during the breeding season and stays in Georgia in all parts of the year. Therefore, you can see them most often in the northeast part of the state.hummingbird divider

In Conclusion

This concludes our list of the eight species of woodpeckers in Georgia. If you’ve been wondering what that tapping noise was outside your window, then it’s probably one of the woodpeckers above!

Now you can identify them easily and know what region of Georgia you are most likely to see them in.

Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.