Woodpeckers in Louisiana: 9 Species You Will Want To See

Woodpeckers in Louisiana are common, as the state is home to many species of these fascinating birds. Woodpeckers can be found across the state’s swamps, forests, and wetlands, with some appearing in suburban areas. With their bright feathers and loud drumming sounds on trees, woodpeckers are a joy to hear and watch for those lucky enough to catch a glimpse.

Different types of Woodpeckers in Louisiana:

Woodpeckers are a fascinating bird species throughout the world, particularly in Louisiana. These birds have unique behaviors and adaptations that make them well-equipped to survive in their natural environment. Louisiana is home to several species of woodpeckers, each with distinct characteristics.

Louisiana boasts an impressive variety of woodpecker species that call its marshy lands home. The ivory-billed Woodpecker is arguably the most famous due to its large size and striking plumage; however, other species, like the red-bellied Woodpecker and yellow-shafted Flicker, can be spotted as well.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The pileated Woodpecker is a large, spectacular species of Woodpecker found in the Louisiana forests. This iconic bird is known for its bright red crest and striking black and white plumage.

The pileated Woodpecker is one of the largest North American woodpeckers, measuring up to 19 inches in length with a wingspan of 29 inches. While these birds are most commonly seen in coniferous or mixed woods, they can also be found in more open habitats such as riparian areas and urban parks.

Pileated Woodpeckers in Louisiana feed on various insects from their habitat, including ants, beetles, and caterpillars. They also enjoy consuming fruits and nuts when available.


Scientific NameDryocopuspileatus
Length16 to 19 inches
Weight9 to 14 ounces
Wingspan26 to 30 inches

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a species of Woodpecker that resides in Louisiana. This Woodpecker has an unmistakable red head, white underbelly, and black wings. It is a medium-sized bird that can be found throughout the state.

These birds feed on nuts, insects, and berries, which they find clinging to trees or flying through the air. They inhabit deciduous forests and urban areas with mature trees available for nesting and food sources. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker’s raucous call can be heard during the spring when mating season begins, and pairs form lifelong bonds.

These woodpeckers in Louisiana have recently increased due to an abundance of tree cover and plentiful resources.


Scientific NameMelanerpescarolinus
Length9 to 10.51 inches
Weight56 to 91 grams
Wingspan15 to 18 inches

Red-Headed Woodpeckers in Louisiana

Red-Headed Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a species of Woodpecker that has been spotted in Louisiana. This bird is predominantly found throughout the eastern and central United States, but it can also be found in some parts of the United Kingdom. The Red-Headed Woodpecker is easily recognizable by its striking red head and black and white body. It has been seen in Louisiana since at least the early 1900s, although its population numbers have declined due to habitat destruction.

This bird typically inhabits woodland areas with dead trees or rotting tree stumps, which they use to build their nests. They are omnivores that eat insects, fruit, and nuts, which they will cache later.


Scientific NameMelanerpeserythrocephalus
Length8 to 10 inches
Weight50 ounces
Wingspan13 to 14.5 inches

Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Red-Headed Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is a species of bird that, despite its population decline, can still be found throughout Louisiana. This species is unique because it nests and roosts in living pine trees. As one of the few remaining woodpeckers with this nesting behavior, it has received special protection from the state of Louisiana.

This conservation effort has significantly impacted the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker’s population since its decline was first noted over 40 years ago. People have increased to several hundred pairs across Louisiana, and there are reports of some localized populations reaching 1,000 individuals or more.

The increase in population is primarily due to efforts by state agencies such as the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to conserve habitat for this species through prescribed burning and management plans for public lands.


Scientific NameLeuconotopicus borealis
Length7 to 10 inches
Weight5 to 2 ounces
Wingspan15 inches

Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in Louisiana

Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is an iconic species of bird that has recently been reintroduced to Louisiana. Once considered extinct, this rare Woodpecker was spotted in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area in 2019. The sighting marked the first time the species had been documented in Louisiana since 1944.

This exciting discovery has generated significant interest from local and national conservation groups hoping to support this species’ long-term recovery.

Researchers at Tulane University have teamed up with several state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to create a comprehensive conservation plan for the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in Louisiana. They are developing research projects focusing on population growth, habitat protection, and monitoring strategies that can be used to help ensure future success for this threatened species.


Scientific NameCampephilusprincipalis
Length18 to 20 inches
Weight16 to 20 ounces
Wingspan30 to 31 inches

Northern Flicker

 Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Northern Flicker is a large, sturdy woodpecker native to Louisiana. This bird species is easily recognizable by its bright yellow-orange feathers and black spots on the wings. The Northern Flicker can be found in various habitats, from urban parks and gardens to grasslands and open woodlands.

In Louisiana, the Northern Flicker can be seen throughout the year, with its highest numbers in spring and fall when they migrate through Louisiana during their long journeys south for winter.

Ground feeders primarily prefer to eat ants, beetles, caterpillars, fruits, seeds, nuts, and other insects. Their diet includes suet from backyard feeders and sap from trees like maples and oaks.


Scientific NameColaptes
Length11 to 14 inches
Weight4 ounces
Wingspan17 to 21 inches

Downy Woodpeckers in Louisiana

Downy Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The downy Woodpecker is a small species of bird native to Louisiana. This type of Woodpecker stands only about 6 inches tall and has a distinctive black-and-white patterned body. The downy Woodpecker is an integral part of Louisiana’s ecosystem, playing an essential role in controlling insect populations and maintaining a healthy balance in the environment.

The downy Woodpecker is commonly found throughout forests, fields, and yards across the state. These birds prefer to feed on insects such as beetles and ants that live in trees or on tree trunks.

They can be spotted easily by their loud call, which they use to communicate with each other while nesting or searching for food. The downy Woodpecker also has sharp claws that help them cling to trees while they search for food or nest sites.


Scientific NamePicoidespubescens
Length14 to 17 inches
Weight7 to 1 ounce
Wingspan25 to 31 inches

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Woodpeckers in Louisiana

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a medium-sized woodpecker native to the United States and Canada. This bird species is found in Louisiana, where it lives in deciduous and coniferous forests. These birds are characterized by their rust-colored cap, black forehead, white cheek patch, and yellow belly.

In Louisiana, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker can often be seen nesting along tree branches near lakes or rivers. During the spring months, they feed on nectar from flowers and insects such as caterpillars and beetles found under bark or within holes in trees.

They also peck at trees to create sapsuckers, providing a sweet, sugary liquid for them to drink.
This species of Woodpecker has adapted over time to become very successful in its habitat in Louisiana.


Scientific NameSphyrapicusvarius
Length5 to 8.3 inches
Weight5 ounces
Wingspan13 to 16 inches

Red-Naped Sapsucker

Red-Naped Sapsucker

The Red-Naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicusnuchalis) is a critically endangered species of Woodpecker found in the forests of Louisiana. T

his species was once reasonably common in the area, but its population has drastically decreased over the last few decades due to the destruction of its habitat. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has recently taken action to protect and conserve this magnificent bird.

Red-Naped Sapsuckers inhabit deciduous and coniferous forests rich in tree sap, which they use as a food source. These sapsuckers nest mainly in dead trees but have also been known to nest in live trees.

Most Red-naped Sapsucker populations remain stationary during winter; however, some have been known to migrate southward in search of more suitable habitats.


Scientific NameSphyrapicusnuchalis
Length5 to 8.3 inches
Weight5 ounces
Wingspan1 to 16.9 inches

Final Thoughts

Woodpeckers in Louisiana are an essential part of the ecosystem. They help to control insect populations, disperse seeds, and create nesting sites for other animals. Despite their importance, however, woodpeckers face many threats from humans, including habitat destruction and fragmentation due to development.

We must take measures to protect these birds before it’s too late. We can do this by preserving their habitats, minimizing pesticide exposure, and providing artificial nesting sites.

ALSO, READ Feeding Birds Fruit Attracts More Variety of Birds