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Different Types of Woodpeckers With Pictures You'll Want to Save

Information About the Types of Woodpeckers with Pictures
Woodpeckers are known for their peculiar beaks and the drumming sound they make. They truly are a unique creation of mother nature. We all come across some of the common species at our feeders but did you know that there are more than 180 of them?
Raksha Kulkarni
Last Updated: May 4, 2018
Astonishing Facts about the Drummers!
➨ Woodpeckers are known for their drumming. They drum almost 8,000 - 12,000 times a day. This means that a woodpecker drums almost 20 times in a second.
➨ They have a small brain and a thick skull which protects them from the constant drumming. Also, they have adaptations to prevent the wood pieces from going into their eyes or nostrils.
Woodpeckers are a part of the Picidae family, which is a group of near-passerine birds. They are found all around the globe, except in New Guinea, Madagascar, New Zealand, Australia, and the polar regions. The habitats vary, from forests to deserts and rocky areas. All the species are characterized by strong bills which are used for drilling and drumming on trees. They also have a long tongue, up to 4 inches in length. The long tongues help them in extracting insects from the wood. Their diet varies as per the species, from insects and grubs, fruits and nuts, to sap from trees. The nesting is typically done in tree cavities or holes in cactus. All woodpeckers except the piculets and wrynecks have stiffened tails which help them balance while climbing or feeding.
There are over 180 species distributed in different genera. The family also includes the sapsuckers, piculets, and wrynecks. Piculets are one of the smallest woodpeckers, but lack a strong bill and the stiff tail. The same goes with the two species of wrynecks. The wrynecks have only 2 species and are included in the subfamily named Jyngiane and the genus Jynx. The piculets belong to the subfamily Picumninae and are divided in different genera, viz, Picumnus, Verreauxia, Sasia, and Nesoctites. The woodpeckers belong to the subfamily Picinae. They are further divided into different tribes. Have a look at the different species of woodpeckers given below.
Tribe: Dendropicini
Genus: Melanerpes
The genus name Melanerpes has its origin in Latin and means "black creeper". The members of this genus are all found in the New World.
  • White woodpecker, Melanerpes candidus
  • Lewis's woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis
  • Guadeloupe woodpecker, Melanerpes herminieri
  • Puerto Rican woodpecker, Melanerpes portoricensis
  • Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
  • Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  • Yellow-tufted woodpecker, Melanerpes cruentatus
  • Yellow-fronted woodpecker, Melanerpes flavifrons
  • Golden-naped woodpecker, Melanerpes chrysauchen
  • Beautiful woodpecker, Melanerpes pulcher
  • Black-cheeked woodpecker, Melanerpes pucherani
  • White-fronted woodpecker, Melanerpes cactorum
  • Hispaniolan woodpecker, Melanerpes striatus
  • Jamaican woodpecker, Melanerpes radiolatus
  • Golden-cheeked woodpecker, Melanerpes chrysogenys
  • Grey-breasted woodpecker, Melanerpes hypopolius
  • Yucatan woodpecker, Melanerpes pygmaeus
  • Red-crowned woodpecker, Melanerpes rubricapillus
  • Gila woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis
  • Hoffmann's woodpecker, Melanerpes hoffmannii
  • Golden-fronted woodpecker, Melanerpes aurifrons
  • Velasquez's woodpecker, Melanerpes santacruzi
  • Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
  • West Indian woodpecker, Melanerpes superciliaris
  • Grand Bahama West Indian woodpecker, Melanerpes superciliaris bahamensis (extinct: 1950s)
White woodpecker
White woodpecker
Red-headed woodpecker
Red-headed woodpecker
Acorn woodpecker
Acorn woodpecker
Hispaniolan woodpecker
Hispaniolan woodpecker
Red-crowned woodpecker
Red-crowned woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Golden-fronted woodpecker
Golden-fronted woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker
West Indian woodpecker
West Indian woodpecker
Genus: Sphyrapicus - Sapsuckers
The name "Sphyrapicus" is a combination of Greek words sphura meaning 'hammer' and pikos meaning 'woodpecker'. All birds have slender bodies, stiff tails, and long wings. The birds feed on the sap of trees and the insects are fed to the young ones. They have a typical flight of alternating quick wing beats and short dips. These 4 birds are found in North America.
Red-naped sapsucker, S. nuchalis
Red-naped sapsucker, S. nuchalis
Red-breasted sapsucker, S. ruber
Red-breasted sapsucker, S. ruber
Williamson's sapsucker, S. thyroideus
Williamson's sapsucker, S. thyroideus
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, S. varius
Yellow-bellied sapsucker, S. varius
Genus: Xiphidiopicus
Cuban Green Woodpecker, Xiphidiopicus percussus
The Cuban green woodpecker is the only species of this genus and only found in Cuba. It has the size and shape of a sapsucker. It has a bright olive-green body with yellow underparts. The males have a red crown and the females have a black crown with white stripes. This species prefers dry or lowland moist forests.
Genus: Dendropicos
  • Little grey woodpecker, Dendropicos elachus
  • Speckle-breasted woodpecker, Dendropicos poecilolaemus
  • Abyssinian woodpecker, Dendropicos abyssinicus
  • Cardinal woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens
  • Gabon woodpecker, Dendropicos gabonensis
  • Stierling's woodpecker, Dendropicos stierlingi
  • Melancholy woodpecker, Dendropicos lugubris
  • Bearded woodpecker, Dendropicos namaquus
  • Fire-bellied woodpecker, Dendropicos pyrrhogaster
  • Yellow-crested woodpecker, Dendropicos xantholophus
  • Arabian woodpecker, Dendropicos dorae
  • Brown-backed woodpecker, Dendropicos obsoletus
Cardinal woodpecker
Cardinal woodpecker
Bearded woodpecker
Bearded woodpecker
Genus: Mesopicos
  • Elliot's Woodpecker, Mesopicos elliotii
  • Grey Woodpecker, Mesopicos goertae
  • Olive Woodpecker, Mesopicos griseocephalus
Genus: Dendrocopos
  • Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopos nanus
  • Fulvous-breasted woodpecker, Dendrocopos macei
  • Freckle-breasted woodpecker, Dendrocopos analis
  • Stripe-breasted woodpecker, Dendrocopos atratus
  • Rufous-bellied woodpecker, Dendrocopos hyperythrus
  • Darjeeling woodpecker, Dendrocopos darjellensis
  • White-backed woodpecker, Dendrocopos leucotos
  • Okinawa woodpecker, Dendrocopos noguchii
  • Amami woodpecker, Dendrocopos owstoni
  • Great spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
  • Syrian woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus
  • White-winged woodpecker, Dendrocopos leucopterus
  • Sind woodpecker, Dendrocopos assimilis
  • Himalayan woodpecker, Dendrocopos himalayensis
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos minor
  • Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos medius
  • Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Dendrocopos kizuki
White-backed woodpecker
White-backed woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker
Great spotted woodpecker
Syrian woodpecker
Syrian woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Middle Spotted Woodpecker
Middle Spotted Woodpecker
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker
Genus: Picoides
All the members of this genus are found in North America. The members have a similarity which is the plumage of black and white, and brown and white in some species. Also, most of the males have a red or yellow badge. All of them have a chisel-shaped, straight bill which helps them feed on insects, their main diet. Actually, this genus is in need of revision because there is some confusion in the three-toed species like the Eurasian and American three-toed woodpecker. The recent studies say that 6 species of this genus are shifted to a new genus Leuconotopicus.
  • Arizona Woodpecker, Picoides arizonae
  • Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
  • Black-backed Woodpecker, Picoides arcticus
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis
  • Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Picoides scalaris
  • Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus
  • Nuttall's Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Picoides borealis
  • Strickland's Woodpecker, Picoides stricklandi
  • White-headed Woodpecker, Picoides albolarvatus
Arizona Woodpecker
Arizona Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpecker
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Genus: Veniliornis
  • Scarlet-backed woodpecker, Veniliornis callonotus
  • Yellow-vented woodpecker, Veniliornis dignus
  • Bar-bellied woodpecker, Veniliornis nigriceps
  • Little woodpecker, Veniliornis passerinus
  • Dot-fronted woodpecker, Veniliornis frontalis
  • White-spotted woodpecker, Veniliornis spilogaster
  • Blood-coloured woodpecker, Veniliornis sanguineus
  • Red-rumped woodpecker, Veniliornis kirkii
  • Red-stained woodpecker, Veniliornis affinis
  • Chocó woodpecker, Veniliornis chocoensis
  • Golden-collared woodpecker, Veniliornis cassini
  • Yellow-eared woodpecker, Veniliornis maculifrons
  • Striped woodpecker, Veniliornis lignarius
  • Checkered woodpecker, Veniliornis mixtus
Tribe: Malarpicini
Genus: Campethera
These species are found in Africa and areas nearby.
  • Fine-spotted woodpecker, Campethera punctuligera
  • Bennett's woodpecker, Campethera bennettii
  • Speckle-throated woodpecker, Campethera scriptoricauda
  • Nubian woodpecker, Campethera nubica
  • Golden-tailed woodpecker, Campethera abingoni
  • Mombasa woodpecker, Campethera mombassica
  • Knysna woodpecker, Campethera notata
  • Green-backed woodpecker, Campethera cailliautii
  • Little green woodpecker, Campethera maculosa
  • Tullberg's woodpecker, Campethera tullbergi
  • Buff-spotted woodpecker, Campethera nivosa
  • Brown-eared woodpecker, Campethera caroli
Golden-tailed woodpecker
Golden-tailed woodpecker
Genus: Geocolaptes
Ground woodpecker
Ground woodpecker (Geocolaptes olivaceus) is the only species of this genus and is one of the three ground-dwelling woodpeckers. It is found in Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. It prefers barren and steep areas. Its nests are drilled as tunnels in the vertical bank of water sources. It usually prefers feeding on ants, their larvae, and eggs too.
Genus: Dinopium
  • Olive-backed woodpecker, Dinopium rafflesii
  • Himalayan flameback, Dinopium shorii
  • Common flameback, Dinopium javanense
  • Spot-throated flameback, Dinopium everetti
  • Black-rumped flameback, Dinopium benghalense
  • Lesser Sri Lanka flameback, Dinopium psarodes
Common flameback
Common flameback
Black-rumped flameback
Black-rumped flameback
Genus: Meiglyptes
  • Buff-rumped woodpecker, Meiglyptes grammithorax
  • White-rumped woodpecker, Meiglyptes tristis
  • Black-and-buff woodpecker, Meiglyptes jugularis
  • Buff-necked woodpecker, Meiglyptes tukki
Buff-rumped woodpecker
Buff-rumped woodpecker
Black-and-buff woodpecker
Black-and-buff woodpecker
Genus: Hemicircus
(3 species; placement in Malarpicini tentative)
  • Grey-and-buff woodpecker, Hemicircus sordidus
  • Red-crested woodpecker, Hemicircus concretus
  • Heart-spotted woodpecker, Hemicircus canente
Genus: Micropternus
Rufous woodpecker
The Rufous woodpecker (Micropternus brachyurus) is a brown woodpecker which is found in parts of India, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, and other parts of Asia. It is the only species in the genus. It was formerly placed in Celeus because of the similarities but the DNA tests proved that it was totally different. It is a medium-sized bird with a brown body. It has a slightly curved bill and the males have small red patches near the eyes.
Tribe: Picini
Genus: Picus
The species of this genus are spread all over Europe, North Africa, and Asia. These are large woodpeckers and have green upperparts. These roam around in forests and open woodlands to feed on insects like ants and termites.
  • Lesser yellownape, Picus chlorolophus
  • Crimson-winged woodpecker, Picus puniceus
  • Streak-breasted woodpecker, Picus viridanus
  • Laced woodpecker, Picus vittatus
  • Streak-throated woodpecker, Picus xanthopygaeus
  • Scaly-bellied woodpecker, Picus squamatus
  • Japanese green woodpecker, Picus awokera
  • European green woodpecker, Picus viridis
  • Iberian green woodpecker, Picus sharpei
  • Levaillant's woodpecker, Picus vaillantii
  • Red-collared woodpecker, Picus rabieri
  • Black-headed woodpecker, Picus erythropygius
  • Grey-headed woodpecker, Picus canus
  • Sumatran woodpecker, Picus dedemi
  • Black-naped woodpecker, Picus guerini
Laced woodpecker
Laced woodpecker
European green woodpecker
European green woodpecker
Black-headed woodpecker
Black-headed woodpecker
Grey-headed woodpecker
Grey-headed woodpecker
Genus: Mulleripicus
  • Ashy woodpecker, Mulleripicus fulvus
  • Northern sooty woodpecker, Mulleripicus funebris
  • Southern sooty woodpecker, Mulleripicus fuliginosus
  • Great slaty woodpecker, Mulleripicus pulverulentus
Genus: Dryocopus
The name Dryocopus comes from the Greek words drus meaning oak tree and kopos meaning cutter. The three species of this genus are large and powerful. These are non-migratory birds and are permanent residents in North and South America, Asia, and Europe. These are mainly black and some reds as a crest. Some also have whites, in different proportions. These feed basically on insects like the beetle larvae from the trees.
  • White-bellied woodpecker, Dryocopus javensis
  • Andaman woodpecker, Dryocopus hodgei
  • Black woodpecker, Dryocopus martius
Black woodpecker
Black woodpecker
Genus: Hylatomus
There are 5 species in this genus. All of them are distributed in North and South America. All the species were formerly in Dryocopus but were separated later. Also, the species dusky-winged woodpecker and lineated woodpecker were considered as the same because they had the same name Dryocopus lineatus.
  • Helmeted woodpecker, Hylatomus galeatus
  • Dusky-winged woodpecker, Hylatomus fuscipennis
  • Lineated woodpecker, Hylatomus lineatus
  • Pileated woodpecker, Hylatomus pileatus
  • Black-bodied woodpecker, Hylatomus schulzi
Lineated woodpecker
Lineated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker
Genus: Celeus
This is a genus with many species, with different features. All of these species are spread in Central and South America. They prefer to inhabit the tropic and subtropical forests.
  • Cinnamon woodpecker, Celeus loricatus
  • Scaly-breasted woodpecker, Celeus grammicus
  • Waved woodpecker, Celeus undatus
  • Chestnut-colored woodpecker, Celeus castaneus
  • Chestnut woodpecker, Celeus elegans
  • Pale-crested woodpecker, Celeus lugubris
  • Blond-crested woodpecker, Celeus flavescens
  • Cream-colored woodpecker, Celeus flavus
  • Rufous-headed woodpecker, Celeus spectabilis
  • Kaempfer's woodpecker, Celeus (spectabilis) obrien
  • Ringed woodpecker, Celeus torquatus
  • Amazonian black-breasted woodpecker, Celeus occidentalis
  • Atlantic black-breasted woodpecker, Celeus tinnunculus
Cinnamon woodpecker
Cinnamon woodpecker
Blond-crested woodpecker
Blond-crested woodpecker
Genus: Piculus
  • Rufous-winged woodpecker, Piculus simplex
  • Stripe-cheeked woodpecker, Piculus callopterus
  • Lita woodpecker, Piculus litae
  • White-throated woodpecker, Piculus leucolaemus
  • Yellow-throated woodpecker, Piculus flavigula
  • Golden-green woodpecker, Piculus chrysochloros
  • Yellow-browed woodpecker, Piculus aurulentus
Genus: Colaptes - Flickers
  • Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
  • Yellow-shafted flicker, Colaptes (auratus) auratus
  • Caribbean flicker, Colaptes (auratus) chrysocaulosus
  • Guadalupe flicker, Colaptes auratus - extinct (c.1906)
  • Red-shafted flicker, Colaptes cafer
  • Guatemalan flicker, Colaptes mexicanoides
  • Campo flicker, Colaptes campestris
  • Pampas flicker, Colaptes campestroides
  • Gilded flicker, Colaptes chrysoides
  • Fernandina's flicker, Colaptes fernandinae
  • Bermuda flicker, Colaptes oceanicus (Extinct 17th century)
  • Chilean flicker, Colaptes pitius
  • Northern Andean flicker, Colaptes cinereicapillus
  • Southern Andean flicker, Colaptes rupicola
Red-shafted flicker
Red-shafted flicker
Campo flicker
Campo flicker
Gilded flicker
Gilded flicker
Subgenus: Chrysoptilus
  • Black-necked woodpecker, Colaptes atricollis
  • Green-barred woodpecker, Colaptes melanochloros
  • Golden-breasted woodpecker, Colaptes melanolaimus
  • Spot-breasted woodpecker, Colaptes punctigula
  • Bronze-winged woodpecker, Colaptes aeruginosus
  • Black-crowned woodpecker Colaptes atriceps
  • Gray-crowned woodpecker, Colaptes auricularis
  • Crimson-mantled woodpecker, Colaptes rivolii
  • Golden-olive woodpecker, Colaptes rubiginosus
Spot-breasted woodpecker
Spot-breasted woodpecker
Tribe: Megapicini
Genus: Campephilus
  • Powerful woodpecker, Campephilus pollens
  • Crimson-bellied woodpecker, Campephilus haematogaster
  • Splendid woodpecker, Campephilus splendens
  • Red-necked woodpecker, Campephilus rubricollis
  • Robust woodpecker, Campephilus robustus
  • Crimson-crested woodpecker, Campephilus melanoleucos
  • Guayaquil woodpecker, Campephilus gayaquilensis
  • Pale-billed woodpecker, Campephilus guatemalensis
  • Cream-backed woodpecker, Campephilus leucopogon
  • Magellanic woodpecker, Campephilus magellanicus
  • Ivory-billed woodpecker, Campephilus principalis (extinct late 20th century)
  • Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker, Campephilus (principalis) bairdii (extinct late 20th century)
  • Imperial woodpecker, Campephilus imperialis (possibly extinct late 20th century)
Magellanic woodpecker
Magellanic woodpecker
Genus: Chrysocolaptes
  • White-naped woodpecker, Chrysocolaptes festivus
  • Greater flameback, Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus
  • Crimson-backed flameback, Chrysocolaptes stricklandi
  • Javan flameback, Chrysocolaptes strictus
  • Luzon flameback, Chrysocolaptes haematribon
  • Yellow-faced flameback, Chrysocolaptes xanthocephalus
  • Buff-spotted flameback, Chrysocolaptes lucidus
  • Red-headed flameback, Chrysocolaptes erythrocephalus
  • Orange-backed woodpecker, Chrysocolaptes validus
Greater flameback
Greater flameback
Genus: Blythipicus
  • Maroon woodpecker, Blythipicus rubiginosus
  • Bay woodpecker, Blythipicus pyrrhotis
Genus: Gecinulus
  • Pale-headed woodpecker, Gecinulus grantia
  • Bamboo woodpecker, Gecinulus viridis
Genus: Sapheopipo
Okinawa woodpecker
The Okinawa woodpecker (Dendrocopos noguchii) is the only bird of this genus. This bird is endemic to the Okinawa island in Japan. It is medium-sized and has a dark brown color and red-tipped feathers. It is currently protected in Japan because there are less than 600 woodpeckers left. It is listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN list.