8 Different Species of Woodpeckers in Georgia (GA)

Georgia’s woodpeckers are among the most intriguing birds throughout the south. You could see and hear them drumming on the trees if you go birdwatching in the forests and woodland.

Many Georgians might still wake up on a regular basis to the sound of peckers busily pecking away at trees in their own backyard, hunting for insects to eat.

In this post, we’ll look at Georgia’s woodpeckers and some fascinating facts regarding them.

Georgia’s mild temperature draws a variety of bird species, especially woodpeckers. As a result, these birds may be seen almost anywhere in the state throughout the year.

We’ll go through the eight various kinds of woodpeckers across Georgia, their distinguishing characteristics, and all you need to learn about all of these birds.

Red-Bellied WoodpeckerRed-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-headed WoodpeckerRed-headed Woodpecker
Downy WoodpeckerDowny Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerYellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hairy WoodpeckerHairy Woodpecker
Northern FlickerNorthern Flicker
Red-Cockaded WoodpeckerRed-Cockaded Woodpecker
Pileated WoodpeckerPileated Woodpecker

Different Species of Woodpeckers in Georgia (GA)

1. Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpeckers possess red hats, therefore, they can be confused with Red-headed woodpeckers, although being smaller. Their backs are covered with beautiful white and black markings.

These woodpeckers feature pale grey stomachs with minimal red coloring that is difficult to identify, despite their nickname. However, the red color aids in the differentiation of males and females.

Males have vivid red feathers that spread from their beaks to the rear of their necks. Females have red at the rear of their neck but not at the crown.

Food & Habitat

These woodpeckers spend the entire year in Georgia. They are most commonly found in backyard bird feeders, particularly ones with peanuts, suet, or sunflower seeds, since these are their preferred feeds.

They also inhabit tall trees in hardwood forests and woodlands. They’ll hang on the tree’s dead trunks and major branches, looking for insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

The dead trees give ideal locations for them to build long-term nests. Like so many other woodpeckers, the Red-bellied Woodpecker has a lengthy tongue that extends approximately 2 inches behind its beak.

Their tongue has a slippery and barbed end that allows them to easily catch bugs from hidden cracks inside the trees. This lengthy tongue can only fit in their beaks via looping up and around their rear heads.

To locate these woodpeckers, memorize their “churr-churr-churr” rolling cries. Red-bellied woodpeckers are the most active callers throughout the spring and summer. Throughout these times, you should pay special attention to woods, playgrounds, and forested suburbs.

2. Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The Red-headed Woodpecker is among Georgia’s most frequent woodpecker kinds. They are named after their big redhead. Their bills are significantly bigger than those of several other species.

Their bodies are completely coated with white feathers. Although their backs appear black, their wings are white. The Red-headed Woodpeckers have been easily identified due to their characteristics. The juveniles are less colorful, having nearly gray-brown feathers and white patches on their wings.


These woodpecker types are frequently found in open forests with clear pine savannas and marshes. Most individuals, for aesthetic purposes, take down fallen trees that all these woodpeckers rely on to build their nests.

Due to the lack of their environment, their number has decreased. Red-headed Woodpeckers, just like all the other woodpecker species, spend the entire year in tropical Georgia.


Some of them may visit your backyard birdfeeders with suet, nuts, and fruits such as apples, grapes, and berries.

When it comes to nutrition, such woodpeckers eat something totally different. That is, instead of hammering into the wood, they chase and collect insects in the air.

Surprisingly, these birds are wary of food shortages. As a result, they like to store excess items like seeds, insects, and nuts in their cracks for later consumption.

Their territories are off-limits to other animals, and they will guard them at all costs. And the issue is that they drive away other birds because they can ruin their eggs and nests.

If you wish to find them, hear for their “chur” calls, which appear alike to those of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. The distinction would be that the noises of these woodpeckers are generally higher-pitched and lack rolling.

3. Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are among Georgia’s tiniest but most frequent woodpecker species. Their modest size falls somewhere between that of a robin and that of a sparrow, and they are often among the third smallest woodpeckers. These birds, unlike other woodpeckers, possess relatively short beaks.

They look a lot like the Hairy Woodpecker whenever you see such woodpeckers. Their abdomens are white, and their backs are black, having white patches. Males get a noticeable red spot on the rear of their heads, whereas females do not.


Downy Woodpeckers may be seen all year round in Georgia, and they can be found in wide woods, orchards, and woodlands.

They typically favor deciduous trees having nearby water bodies. You could still see them in gardens, backyards, and other human development areas having birdfeeders.

During the spring and summer, such woodpeckers are quite busy and entertaining to watch. Downy woodpeckers can be observed pounding and hammering on trees as they create borders or hunt for mates. They are easily identified by their unique high-pitched “pik” sounds.

During the wintertime, these woodpeckers frequently congregate in mixed-species flocks of chickadees and nuthatches. As a result, they prefer to band together with other tiny species for stronger protection and a higher chance of catching prey.

These woodpeckers frequently build their nests in the hollows of dead trees, where they reside and breed. Insects, mostly larvae and nuts, compose their ideal diet, but they may also consume acorns, cereals, and berries. These woodpeckers can occasionally be seen sipping sweet water from hummingbirds’ feeders.

Do you wish to invite this type of woodpecker to your garden? It’s actually rather simple. Place suet, peanut butter-like sunflower, and peanuts seeds on your birdfeeders, then watch for them to visit.

4. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This woodpecker species has a characteristic yellowish-white abdomen, as the name indicates. They feature a black and white backside, as well as a huge white mark on their shoulders. Look for their distinctive red crown and white/black barred face.

Check the color of their neck to determine if they are female or male. Males frequently possess red necks, while females have white necks.

These woodpeckers frequently rely heavily on tree sap, which serves as a high-energy food source. Hence, they prefer settings with growing trees, which are ideal for creating fruitful sap wells from which they may drain sap from cavities with unique brushed-tipped tongues.

Since Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were reported to bore holes in over 1000 distinct tree types, they prefer birch and maple trees. Surprisingly, these birds bore cavities in precise rows on live trees.

Because sap is their principal food supply, these woodpeckers frequently keep the sap flowing. These sapsuckers, like any other woodpecker, devour insects that arrive to drain the sap from the trees.

These birds produce a loud meowing sound, like a cat, frequently repeated multiple times.

If you want to invite these woodpeckers, keep in mind you have squirrel-proof suet feeders. You may also choose between mealworm suet and peanut butter suet.

5. Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

The Hairy Woodpecker appears to become a relative of the Downy Woodpecker. These two woodpecker types may be somewhat perplexing. The primary distinction is that Hairy Woodpeckers are bigger and also have longer bills.

These medium-sized woodpeckers have a square-like forehead and black and white feathers on their body. They also have a huge white patch on each side of their backs. Males have noticeable red flash extending to their skulls’ back sides.

Habitat & Food

The nice thing is that Hairy Woodpeckers may be seen throughout the state at any season of the year. They can be found in old woods, cemeteries, orchards, urban parks, marshes, and suburban backyards. These woodpeckers may be found everywhere there is enough food in large trees.

These woodpeckers primarily consume insects such as bark beetles, ants, and beetle larvae. Bees, millipedes, spiders, caterpillars, and moth pupae are all on their menu. They build their nests in holes drilled in dead tree stumps or branches.

Suet cakes and black sunflowers will help attract such woodpeckers to your property. By using a squirrel-proof suet feeder with a fence to assist in preventing entrance by bigger birds.

Listen for their unusual short sharp “peek” cry to locate them. This sound, however, is identical to that of Downy Woodpeckers but at a lower pitch. Keep an ear out for the pounding sounds they produce while eating.

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers appear distinct, and their habits vary from those of other woodpeckers. If you wish to see these woodpeckers, seek them in parkland, open forests, and along forest borders.

The problem is that these birds frequently spend the majority of their day on the forest grounds searching for ants and beetles, which are their principal food source. In reality, they bore holes in the dirt in the same way as other woodpeckers do.


When winter arrives, these woodpeckers’ diets shift to mostly berries and fruits. This is when you’ll most likely see them at the yard birdfeeders. They may take sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet from your other birds.

Set up a proper-sized nest box to invite a mating couple if you really want to draw Northern Flickers towards your garden. Alternatively, ensure your backyard has various natural plants that attract bug species.

These woodpecker species frequently sit on nearby trees when they are not on the ground.

7. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers became vulnerable in 1970 due to major habitat destruction. However, because they are non-migratory, they may be seen in Georgia throughout the year.

Their most popular place of habitation is in the state’s east.

Red-cockaded woodpeckers possess relatively few red feathers on their bodies, contrary to their name. Indeed, the males have such a tiny, practically undetectable red patch behind their eyes.

This woodpecker species features black and white bands, markings, and bars across its body, in addition to white cheeks.


These birds prefer to reside in coniferous trees and woods because they are habitat specialists. Unfortunately, this tree species has been badly removed throughout most of the southeast, and other pine types have replaced it. As a result, discovering such birds could be difficult at times.

National forests, wildlife refuges, and other conservation areas, on the other hand, are ideal locations to explore if you want to see this bird. Surprisingly, they restrict nesting sites. However, they have several public sites that clearly define the breeding and feeding regions.

These little woodpeckers feed on insects such as ants, centipedes, and beetles, as well as their larvae. They also consume pine seeds and fruits, including wild cherries, blueberries, and grapes.

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers dig sap wells to repel predators such as snakes. If you want to attract these birds to the yard, grow natural berry-producing plants such as hackberries, bayberries, or grapes. 

8. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is among the largest and also most beautiful tree birds throughout North America. It’s about the size of a crow, with dazzling white streaks all over its neck and a fiery red crown.

Pileated Woodpeckers can be found pounding at dead trees and fallen wood in pursuit of carpenter ants, creating characteristic square holes. These birds’ nesting chambers provide crucial shelter for a number of species, including other birds.

Pileated Woodpeckers are predominantly black with white stripes on their forehead and throat, as well as a prominent red crown. Males have a little red stripe on each cheek that females do not have.

This woodpecker flies with white below its wings and little white crescents on its top side.

The Pileated Woodpecker is a massive bird with a thick neck and a triangular crest. The bill is wide and chiseled, roughly the length of the head. The wings are large and resemble those of a crow while in flight.

The Pileated Woodpecker is a woodland bird that nests in large, standing dead trees and scattered debris. Forests, particularly in the Western United States, are often ancient. They can be aimed at young woods, partly forested regions, and vacant lots in the East.

Pileated Woodpeckers are drawn to yard bird feeders, particularly those with peanuts suet.

If you have old or decaying trees or snags in your yard, think of leaving them alone because they may encourage Pileated Woodpeckers and other woodpeckers.

Install a nesting box to entice a mating couple. Put this before the mating season starts and maintain it clean.

Check out this article on Types of Woodpeckers in Virginia and Types of Woodpeckers in Arizona.


Georgia features abundant pine woods, scrubby areas, lakes, and hiking paths that attract a variety of bird species.

Summertime breeders could be found in huge lakes, marshes, and woods. Therefore, this state must be on your bucket list if you’re seeking the ideal birding location to see Georgia’s beautiful woodpeckers.


Is It Prohibited In Georgia To Kill A Woodpecker?

Because the woodpecker is a rare species, it is unlawful to shoot and kill them throughout Georgia. The Federal Migratory Bird Act protects them.

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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