12 Different Species of Woodpeckers in Arizona

You might have seen woodpeckers in your surroundings, or if not, then maybe on the internet. These birds make holes in the trees and love to drill in the woods.

In relation to their size, woodpeckers have the longest tongues of any bird. They scrape out holes they have made on trees with their tongues, pulling out any insects they discover.

Particularly in the spring, when they are hunting for a mate, woodpeckers have unique pounding noises. Woodpeckers of both sexes generate drumming noises.

You may not have known these facts before, but now you do. If you need more info on different species of woodpeckers in Arizona, then this guide explains it for you.

Gila WoodpeckerGila Woodpecker
Downy WoodpeckerDowny Woodpecker
Acorn WoodpeckerAcorn Woodpecker
Lewis's WoodpeckersLewis's Woodpeckers
Northern FlickerNorthern Flicker
Rough-naped SapsuckerRough-naped Sapsucker
Ladder-backed WoodpeckerLadder-backed Woodpecker
Arizona WoodpeckerArizona Woodpecker
Hairy WoodpeckerHairy Woodpecker
Yellow-Bellied SapsuckerYellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Three-toed Woodpecker of AmericaThree-toed Woodpecker of America
Williamson's SapsuckerWilliamson's Sapsucker

Different Species of Woodpeckers in Arizona

1. Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker
Credits – Wikipedia

Arizona’s central and southern desert regions are home to the Gila Woodpecker. During the colder hours of the day, keep an eye out for them foraging among the bushes and cactus.

They are less active in the heat of the day than the majority of desert residents. During the day, these birds are lively and simple to see. Pay attention to their Northern Flicker-like rolling cry. You’ll probably flush them if you check into it and get a good look.

Their peers who live in the desert really respect these skilled cactus nesters. Before the mating season, Gila Woodpeckers drill their nests and wait for the pulp to dry.

The cavities are left open for other species to utilize when their nesting season is through. Owls and hawks frequently utilize abandoned nests in the Saguaro cactus since they can’t otherwise construct them.


The Gila Woodpecker is smaller when viewed without a lens. They lack any colored whiskers coming from their beak, but they do have a dazzling checkerboard pattern on their wings as they flicker. A crimson crown will be on the heads of the males.

2. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

A little species of woodpeckers is the downy woodpecker. Short bills and black stripes on their white tails are some distinguishing characteristics, though. B

e aware that Downy Woodpeckers from the western states tend to have less white on their wings and darker overall plumage than those from the eastern states. These birds might be seen visiting feeders in residential areas or breeding in the cavities of huge trees.


They resemble Hairy Woodpeckers in color, being black and white. Due to their high whinnying cry and constant drumming on trees during the spring and summer, Downy Woodpeckers are notorious for making a lot of noise.

These birds are frequently seen scurrying over tree trunks and limbs in quest of food.

3. Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

Only a small portion of Central and Eastern Arizona is home to the only region in North America where acorn woodpeckers may be found.


They live in oak or pine-oak woodlands, where they consume acorns and a variety of insects. They will occasionally visit suet feeders, like the majority of woodpecker species, although they are less common than a Downy.

They are renowned for boring holes in trees called granaries and storing nuts inside of them, sometimes up to 50,000 nuts.

They force them into these openings so firmly that other animals can’t get them out. It is clear that they are preserving this food for a time when it will be harder to find.

Additionally, they’ll tenaciously repel any attempts at theft from these food stockpiles.

4. Lewis’s Woodpeckers

Lewis's Woodpecker
Credits – Wikipedia

This type of bird has a wingspan of 19.3-20.5″, a standard length of 10.2-11″, and a weight of 88-138g. They utilize old woodpecker holes throughout the breeding season.

They don’t want to break young trees by knocking on old ones. The females then deposit 5 to 9 eggs. The Grand Canyon State doesn’t see many of the Lewis woodpecker species, but they are constantly there.

They stand out from the other woodpeckers in numerous ways, especially due to their dark crimson cheek, pink belly, black back, and gray collar.

Even their hunting techniques differ. The majority of woodpeckers feed on the ground or drill holes in trees using their beaks. However, Lewis’ woodpeckers hunt airborne insects using their wings.

5. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern flickers are huge birds, measuring 11–12.2 inches in length, 16.5-20.1 inches in wingspan, and 110–160 grams in weight.


Thanks to their unique red patch on their neck, these woodpeckers are quite easy to identify. Black dots, a white patch on the lower back, and yellow or red tail and wing markings are all characteristics of this kind of woodpecker.

Northern flickers enjoy birdbaths, especially heated ones during the colder months, while not being particularly fond of feeders.

During the mating season, northern flickers dig their nests in tree cavities. The females lay 5-8 eggs and eat fruits, seeds, beetles, and ants for food. They also have powerful, far-reaching sounds and songs due to their size as giant woodpeckers.

6. Rough-naped Sapsucker

Rough-naped Sapsucker
Credits – Birdzilla

In the winter, Southern and Western Arizona is home to the Red-naped Sapsucker, whereas the remainder of the state is where it breeds.


They consume insects in addition to drinking sap from trees like aspen, pine trees, or birch like other sapsuckers do. Early in the breeding season is the best time to look for them as they are most active in this duration.

A sapsucker is present when there are neat rows of holes in a sap-producing tree.

7. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Most of Central and Southern Arizona is home to woodpecker habitat. These woodpeckers were known as “Cactus Woodpeckers” because they frequently chose to live in cactus-filled deserts and thorny woodlands.

If you wish to attract a couple, let the dead trees in your yard alone as they frequently build their nests in these structures.


They don’t frequently appear at suet feeders, but if supplied, they will happily eat peanut butter, mealworms, and black oil sunflower seeds. 

8. Arizona Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker
Credits – Wikipedia

Arizona woodpeckers, which are endemic to this state, may be found throughout northern Arizona. Given that the majority of its cousins are black and white, these birds stand out from other woodpeckers due to their brown coloring.

Males have red spots on their heads and white bellies with bars, while females have a spotted pattern. Both sexes typically have wingspans of 14.2″, lengths of 7.1–7.9″, and weights of 34–51g.

When it’s not breeding season, sociable Arizona woodpeckers join groups with smaller birds to seek food.


Insects are among their favorite diets, and they enjoy acorns much as acorn woodpeckers do. They also enjoy perching and roosting on oak and pine trees.

9. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

The hairy woodpeckers resemble downy woodpeckers in appearance, but they are larger and have a longer beak. The Apache-Sitgreaves and Coconino National Forests are always alive with the singing and cry of hairy woodpeckers.

They weigh 40 – 95g, are 7.1 – 10.2 inches long, and have a wingspan of 13.1 – 16.1 cms.

They prefer dead trees for their nests, where they take care of three to six eggs until they are ready to hatch and fly away.

10. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-Bellied Medium-sized sapsuckers have a prominent wing stripe on their shoulders. They build their nests among clusters of little aspen trees.

These suckers are occasionally observed at bird feeders in suburban areas. These monogamous birds choose lifetime partners each year.

While mature females have white necks, adult males have red feathers on their foreheads and throats. They are well-known and given their moniker due to their whitish bellies.


Juveniles, however, are often brown. The habitat of yellow-bellied sapsuckers is often found in hardwood and coniferous woods at high altitudes.

Generally speaking, they are quieter in the winter and become noisier in the spring. During mating season, they make cat-like cries and drums.

11. Three-toed Woodpecker of America

American Three-toed Woodpecker
Credits – Wikipedia

This is another type of Woodpecker to be found in Arizona. They only appear in the state seldom and are restricted to a small area in Central Arizona during the winter.

They favor damaged, old-growth forests with a lot of dead or even burned trees since they can readily mine for bugs and remove insect larvae from these areas.

The Three-toed Woodpecker has just three toes, which gives it leverage that allows it to lean back further and hit its prey with a more forceful blow.

In general, these woodpeckers are uncommon in the United States and are seldom, if ever, found at feeders.

12. Williamson’s Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsucker
Credits – Wikipedia

Williamson’s Sapsuckers are uncommon backyard residents and are mostly found in the woods of the Rocky Mountains and areas west of them.

Arizona is one of only a few midwestern states where Williamson’s Sapsuckers may be found.


They only reproduce in the northeast, so keep an eye out for them there during the warmer seasons when they couple up to mate. They prefer to build their nests in larger, older trees. They roost in natural or artificial holes.


Their winter range is in Central and Southeast Arizona. From Colorado and Utah, William’s Sapsuckers winter southeast into Arizona and eventually Mexico.


They mostly eat coniferous tree sap, which they get via drilling sap wells. Sapsuckers consume a variety of insects as food as well.


This discussion explains the different species of woodpeckers in Arizona. We shared information about their type, habitat, and their living style. If you need more help, see our website.


Are woodpeckers common in Arizona?

Yes, woodpeckers are pretty much common in Arizona, and you may find about 14 different species of these birds.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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