Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  Red-headed Woodpecker
 
 

BACK - NEXT

 

Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

TOP

     
View More Pictures
  Order Piciformes - Honeyguides, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Toucans
   Family Picidae - Woodpeckers, Wrynecks, Piculets
      Subfamily Picinae - Woodpeckers

  Piciforms are arboreal and insectivorus and most have zygodactyl feet (two toes forward, two backward).
Woodpeckers are adapted for climbing on trees (scansorial). They have zygodactyl feet and use the stiff shafts of their tail as a prop against trunks and branches. Their bills are chisel-tipped and the bones of their head are strengthened to cushion the impact of using the bill as a hammer. Their often long tongue is used to extract prey. Some species store food in caches. Their characteristically have a rowing, jay-like flight. They are hole nesters.  
     
     
  Red-headed Woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
 
  Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Uncommon, breeds / Occasional - rare, breeds?
            OPEN RURAL AREAS, DECIDUOUS WOODLANDS
MORE PICTURES
 
   The adult Red-headed Woodpecker has a red head - juveniles have a brown head. They have white underparts. The upper body, forewing, and primaries are black (dark). They have a white rump and white secondaries that flash unmistakably in flight. This is a medium-sized woodpecker, just a bit more massive than the Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Red-headed Woodpecker
     
Red-headed Woodpecker. Clemson
   
  RANGE: This species breeds across the eastern US, roughly from New York west to central Montana, south to western Texas, and east to the to the Gulf and central Florida. It withdraws from the northwestern part of its range in winter but remains within the country. It is found in open woodland or open areas with tall trees, parks, and suburbs.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. Often 2 broods. This species nests in a hole excavated in a dead tree or stub on a live tree. In treeless areas they may use a pole or fence post. The hole is excavated in 6-17 days. Both sexes dig/drill. They will also use natural cavities. The nest is lined with chips. They lay 4-5 (3-7) white eggs (white is common in hole nesters). Both sexes incubate (the male primarily at night) for 12-13 days. Development is altricial. Both sexes help care for the young. Young leave the nest after 27-30 days.
   The pair may start a second brood while still feeding young from the first. They may use the same nest but usually lay the second clutch in a new cavity.
  DIET: Red-headed Woodpeckers eat insects, bird eggs and nestlings (and adults), mice, corn, fruit, seeds, etc. - even bark. They may cache food in natural cavities (acorns, beechnuts). The young are fed insects, spiders, worms, and berries. They are essentially omnivorous.
   They use several foraging techniques - they may fly-catch from a perch; they may climb trunks and major limbs; they may forage in outer branches; they also hop on the ground.
  VOICE: Their voice is a wheezy "queeah," weaker than the red-bellied's call. The close contact note is a gently dry rattle.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook (breeds?). Kiawah - occasional year round. Edisto - resident.
      Coastal - fairly common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident.
         Cape Romain
- uncommon/uncommon (breeds)/occasional/occasional. Huntington Beach - uncommon, year-round
      Caw Caw - fairly common/fairly common (breeds)/fairly common/rare. ACE - common/occasional (breeds)/occasional/common.
   CBC: ACE 25, 12, 21, 23, 26, 25, 20, 17; Charleston 0, 2, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1;
            St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 4, 2; Hilton Head 20, 34, 16, 35, 12, 13, 46, 19; Sun City/Okatie 3, 12, 15, 115, 14, 5, 17, 6;
            McClellanville 0, 1, 2, 1, nc, 1, 4, 0; Winyah Bay x, x, 1, 0, 9, 3, 1, 2; Litchfield/Pawley's 5, 9, 27, 2, 10, 14, 26, 10.
   SCBBA: All coastal counties. Fewer to the north-east.
   P&G: Uncommon resident. Maximum: 71, Awendaw/Cape Romain, 26 December 1982; 77 Santee Swamp, 20 September 1972. Egg dates: 17 May - 6 June.
   Avendex: 2 records. August and December (maximum, above).
   Potter: Locally fairly common in summer in the coastal plain. At other seasons it is uncommon to fairly common.
  ●  Occasional - rare (local). Populations appear to be declining. Current tree care usually removes dead stubs or stumps used for nests and they compete with starlings, other woodpeckers, and kestrels for nest cavities. Blue Jays and starlings steal their caches. They find creosote-coated utility poles lethal for their young. And to top it off, they don't use bird houses.
   That said, you can find Red-headed Woodpeckers on Seabrook but count yourself lucky each time. Look for them on trunks and branches along the inner streets and golf cart pathways through the island. They are a special woodpecker! Watch for them flying - golf courses, Camp St. Christopher, etc.
   They are potential breeders on the island
       
    Banner - Red-headed Woodpecker, Clemson.
       
NEXT
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list